Am I Too Young for a Facelift?

Published: March 14, 2024
Category: Dr. Michael Philbin, Facelift, General, Blog

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons 2022 Procedural Statistic Report, over 70,000 patients underwent facelift surgery to turn back the clock on aging skin and rejuvenate their appearance. In the same year, over 400,000 patients opted for non-invasive skin tightening procedures that utilize laser or other modalities, like ultrasound energy, to help reclaim a more youthful complexion. What do these statistics tell us? They suggest that hundreds of thousands of Americans, if not millions are interested in having the skin on their face appear tighter, more lifted, and smoother. What these statistics don’t tell us is the average age of either of these patients. Even with non-invasive tightening and lifting devices and treatments on the rise, how can someone know when surgery is better? And, how young is too young for facelift surgery?

“One of the most interesting evolutions I’ve seen in plastic surgery over the last decade is a paradigm shift to preventing the visible signs of aging, not just treating them once they begin to be more pronounced or severe,” says Dr. Michael Philbin, a board-certified plastic surgeon and partner with Edina Plastic Surgery. “I’m excited about this as a surgeon because we’re starting to see patients who have diligently cared for their skin for years, so when they do require surgery to meet their aesthetic goals, they have superior outcomes and easier recoveries. It also means that we are starting to see younger and younger patients for surgeries like facelifts because they don’t want to wait until things are ‘bad enough’ for surgery. They want a smooth transition into looking refreshed and more youthful, without too dramatic of a before and after. The desire to have firmer, tighter, more lifted skin isn’t exclusive to those 55 years and older!”

“When it comes to identifying the ideal age for facelift surgery, it’s important to appreciate that no two people are alike,” explains Dr. Philbin. “Each of us carries many genetic factors that may age us prematurely or keep us looking young, well into our 50s. In addition, we each have different life experiences and exposure to varying environmental and internal stressors that can age our skin differently. And, of course, our lifestyle plays a huge role in our skin’s outward appearance and condition.”

What does facelift surgery do?

Facelift surgery, or rhytidectomy, is designed to correct facial aging and the associated structural changes to restore a more youthful appearance to the face and neck. It repositions the underlying soft tissue layers to a younger anatomic position in addition to tightening the skin. By including deeper layers in the lift, a more natural outcome is achieved. Incisions are placed along the hairline and around the contours of the ears to minimize the visibility of postsurgical scarring.

“Facelift surgery is never a one-size-fits-all procedure,” explains Dr. Philbin. “The specific steps of a facial rejuvenation surgery are unique to each patient. Generally, a traditional facelift begins with an incision extending from the temporal hairline along the front of the ear. The incision continues around the earlobe and behind the ear and ends at the hair-baring scalp line. Once the incision is made, your surgeon can elevate the skin of the cheeks and neck to reduce sagging. The deeper tissues are also lifted and reshaped to restore more youthful definition and contours to the face.”

During facelift surgery, some areas of the face and neck may be treated with liposuction to improve the facial profile further. The removed fat can be injected into areas that could benefit from additional volume. To complete the facelift procedure, the skin is re-draped and trimmed, and the incisions are closed over small drains.

“Facelift surgery is often combined with other facial surgeries, like eyelid lifts or brow lifts, to fully rejuvenate the entire face,” adds Dr. Philbin.

What is the ideal age for facelift surgery?

Although most of us can agree that having a facelift in our 20s would be a bit extreme, the surgery itself does not have an age requirement. We all show signs of aging at different rates, so there is no exact age range when a facelift is appropriate. What matters more is the specific concerns a patient hopes to improve.

“There really isn’t a right answer to when the ideal age for facelift surgery is,” says Dr. Philbin. “We all age at different rates and lead unique lives, and some things simply bother some people more than others regarding their appearance. I’ve performed facelifts on younger patients who have lost a dramatic amount of weight, and as a result, they have loose, sagging skin on their lower faces. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also worked with patients well into their 70s who were just beginning to notice more laxity and sagging in their jowls. To truly see if facelift surgery is for you requires a one-on-one consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if you are a good candidate. We may find another option that is better for you, like a mini-facelift or a treatment at our medical spa, Skin Artisans. It’s important to know all of your options and factor in your goals and lifestyle.”

Are there benefits to getting a facelift when you are younger?

The average age of a facelift patient is 55 to 65 years. This range correlates with when collagen and fat depletion in the face, due to normal aging, becomes more visible as skin begins to sag. This is also the age range when patients may grow frustrated because non-invasive treatments like BOTOX┬«, fillers, and lasers may not yield the same results as before. However, there is a growing trend of patients getting facelifts before some may think they actually “need” them.

“A facelift on a younger patient in their mid-30s to 40s may appear less dramatic than one performed on an older patient, but it may be a really great time to consider surgery if how your face is aging bothers you,” advises Dr. Philbin. “The younger you are, the healthier your collagen and elastin production is, which allows for a faster recovery and often a superior outcome. It’s something to consider if you are very proactive and prefer subtle transitions in your appearance from decade to decade.”

“Another benefit of having a facelift earlier in life is how long you can enjoy your results,” says Dr. Philbin. “Why wait to feel great about your appearance if something is bothering you?” Having a facelift when you are younger may lead to longer-lasting results that are easier to maintain. The truth is, the only right answer to when the ideal age to get a facelift is the time that’s right for YOU.”

Have you been considering facelift surgery but aren’t sure if it’s the best option for you? Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss what may be best for you with Dr. Michael Philbin or another board-certified plastic surgeon at Edina Plastic Surgery by calling or texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE!

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