Not ready for a facelift, are there noninvasive options (new or improved) that can provide the same results?

Not ready to go under the knife...seen RealSelf pages on liquid facelift and non-surgical facelifts, as well as been researching laser treatments, fat transfer, microneedling, ultrasound and LED lights, as well as different injectable fillers...in your experience what are the new procedures that make up the best combination of treatments to achieve the look of a facelift without actually getting the surgery? Is this even possible?

Doctor Answers 37

I wanted a facelift but I'm not ready, are there noninvasive options (new or improved) that can provide the same results?

Nothing takes the place of the surgery for the best result, but good skin care and fillers may be some help to you.  Without photos, I could not recommend other options for you.  These other options that my colleagues below have mentioned are worth looking into, but in the end you will probably spend more money than you would have had you had the surgery.  Also, the surgery is permanent. The gold standard in facial skin tightening is the facelift.


Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Non-Surgical facial rejuvenation

There are many non-surgical options available for facial rejuvenation. However, they do not replace the need for surgery.  Laser skin tightening, facial vein removal, Botox for frown lines, fillers to enhance thinning lips and Voluma for fuller cheeks are all procedures that can work wonders and can make a person look significantly better and younger. These treatments may be ideal for a person who is not yet a candidate for surgery. Non invasive procedures can also be a great adjunct to surgery. Your best bet is to be evaluated in the office of a plastic surgeon who provides both surgical and non-surgical options so you can see what is best for you.  You don't waste your time or money on procedures that will not provide the desires result. 

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

I wanted a facelift but I'm not ready, are there noninvasive options (new or improved) that can provide the same results?

While a non-surgical facelift is a temporary solution, there are various ways to tighten the skin and give shape to the face.  I use facial fillers to sculpt the face and the Protege Elite to tighten the skin.  The results are great and, for patients who are not interested in surgery, this is a great option!

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Facelift results without surgery?

Is there some non-surgical procedure, or combination of procedures that can give results similar to facelift surgery without the knife?  I hear this question often. There is a wide spectrum of treatments that help rejuvenate the face.  From most simple to most invasive:
- Medical-grade anti-aging skincare
- Skin tightening procedures such as SkinTyte and Exilis
- Chemical and Laser Peels
- Botox and Fillers (aka the "liquid facelift")
- ProFractional laser resurfacing
- Facelift and necklift surgery
Facelift surgery without a doubt produces the most dramatic, and long-lasting facial rejuvenation, but there are many other, non-surgical, treatments that can help you look younger as well. In my practice, a plan for facial rejuvenation is tailored very specifically for each patient, and without seeing you in consultation, it's impossible for me to give you an accurate assessment. That being said, I've had great success with the following combination in patients who are "not ready for a facelift":
- Skincare (ongoing)
- ProFractional laser resurfacing
- Liquid Facelift with Botox and Fillers

Dara Liotta, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Procedures

If you are a good candidate for facelift surgery, it is likely that nothing is going to give you as good of results as you would get with surgery. However, depending on exactly what your problem areas are, there are a number of non-invasive cosmetic procedures that may enhance your appearance and leave you looking years younger.Most of the common age related symptoms I hear about include: volume loss, sagging skin and the formation of wrinkles and lines.Sculptra Aesthetic (which is also known as a liquid facelift) increases lost volume in the face and lasts about two years.Most patients benefit from having one vial of Sculptra Aesthetic approximately 6 weeks apart.Ultherapy is used to tighten and tone sagging skin.Ultherapy treatment is performed in the office and takes approximately 1-2 hours depending on the area of coverage.Ultherapy also lasts around 2 years.The Cortex Co2 Erbium/Yag Laser is a resurfacing laser that encourages the growth of new healthy skin and reduces wrinkles, lines and sun damage.The results of the cortex laser lasts for a few years, as long as you maintain an appropriate skin care regime, stay out of the sun, use SPF and refrain from smoking.Botox Cosmetic/Dysport and Fillers (such as Restylane, Perlane and Juvederm) also help to temporarily reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.For many patients, when these non-surgical treatments are combined, they offer some of the best and most dramatic results.I hope this information helps!

Paul L. Leong, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

A liquid face lift or fat injections can work wonders

Thank you for your question about your face lift.

If you don't want a facelift - and could benefit from one, your best options are -
  • a liquid face lift - this injects lots of filler and Botox into your face. The results can be amazing in the right person although the filler gradually absorbs.
  • fat injections to the face - a surgical procedure but can often be done in the office with local anesthesia, and tiny incisions. It has a longer recovery than the liquid face lift.
  • Therapeutic skin care + TCA peels are less invasive and correct sun-damaged skin.
  • But the others are unproven and results generally disappointing or, with the CO2 resurfacing laser, involve as much recover as a face lift, if not more.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Liquid facelift is a good way to rejuvenate the face when someone is not ready for surgery.

A liquid facelift which is a combination of fillers and or Botox can you excellent results in the properly selected patient.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Non-invasive Options Prior To A Facelift

 There are many things you can do prior to having surgical facial rejuvenation including Fillers and neuromodulators like Botox. These procedures do have limitations when you have true sagging of the skin from significant facial fat loss. You then need to transition from the use of Neuromodulators and Fillers to a surgical facial rejuvenation technique such as a “Lift and Fill” Facelift to give you a natural looking result. One requires someone who understands the science of aging, is an expert in facial rejuvenation, and is also a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Dr. Michael Epstein answers a question from a RealSelf user regarding non-invasive treatments for the face.

Dr. Michael Epstein answers a question from a RealSelf user regarding non-invasive treatments for the face.

Alternatives to a facelift

This is a very common question that we get in our practice. For various reasons, many patients are reluctant to undergo surgery. All the facial rejuvenation strategies will have differing results for each patient. In a young patient, simple strategies such as botox or injectable fillers (sometimes called a liquid facelift) may be all that a patient needs. Botox and fillers do not have any downtime. The other procedures that you have mentioned may be considered “going under the knife” by some. The different procedures all treat different conditions: CO2 laser treatments are best for skin resurfacing, pulsed dye laser is best for vascular cutaneous disorders, fat transfer is best for volume loss, microneedling is for skin resurfacing, and Ulthera is for skin tightening. Depending on your areas of concern, some of these techniques may be helpful. Ultimately, the gold standard treatment for sagging skin and soft tissue of the cheeks, jawline, and neck is the facelift. There are many different types of facelifts as well (minilift, weekend lift, MACS lift, SMAS lift, deep plane facelift, etc.). I recommend that you see a board-certified facial plastic surgeon for a complete evaluation. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to discuss your facial concerns and develop a personalized treatment plan that is best for you. Please discuss your reservations about “going under the knife” with your surgeon so that your concerns can be addressed. I wish you the best, and please continue to post questions as they develop.

Stephen P. Smith, Jr., MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.