The face is a primary area where signs of aging appear. The natural and gradual loss of collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and more leads to changes—from subtle to dramatic—that are associated with the passing years. Some, such as wrinkles, have to do with skin texture and can be addressed with nonsurgical treatments. Other changes are more related to facial contours and would potentially require a more involved solution, such as facelift surgery. San Francisco facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. Stanley Jacobs works to educate his patients and others on the differences between surgical procedures and nonsurgical treatments to help them decide on the course of action most likely to deliver the results they want.
Loss of structural support can lead to a shift in skin, fat, and other tissues in the face, creating hollow cheeks and sagging jowls. A facelift is designed to specifically address these specific issues by repositioning the tissue to where it sat 10 to 15 years prior.
When done properly, a facelift can produce a look of fuller cheeks, a more defined jawline, and a pleasantly curving midface. Basic facelift techniques can result in a mask-like look due to surgeons treating the skin like a sheet to be pulled and tightened in one direction, then sewed in front of the ear. A more complex and nuanced approach takes unique facial angles into account, customizing the surgery to the patient—and even the side of the face being worked on.
No matter the approach, the emphasis is the same: facial contours. While a facelift may incidentally tighten away some lines or creases, it is not intended to address wrinkles and other cosmetic problems with skin tone. The results of a successful facelift will yield an altered silhouette in profile, but skin may still need smoothing, especially on the upper face.
Also note that a facelift surgery can have long-lasting results, especially if the patient maintains a good diet, exercises regularly, and gets plenty of rest and hydration. The procedure does not “freeze” the face in time, but is more like a turning back of the clock hands. Time will again begin to have an effect on facial tissues as subsequent years go by.
Injectable fillers are frequently used to smooth out wrinkles, from very fine lines to deeper creases. Many options target the area around the mouth, including lip lines and nasolabial folds.
A specific filler—Juvéderm Voluma®—was developed to address facial contours. Specifically, it is injected into the midface area to create rounder angles and provide structure that pulls up sagging tissue to reduce the appearance of jowls. Under ideal conditions, the effects of these injections can last for up to two years.
Another injectable, BOTOX® Cosmetic, focuses primarily on wrinkles on the upper half of the face: forehead frown lines and crow’s feet to the side of either eye. Unlike volume-adding fillers, this injectable relaxes muscles that cause prominent furrows and wrinkles when they contract. The effects of this treatment last for months at a time.
Some patients may choose chemical peels as a nonsurgical option. Also not for contouring efforts, peels focus on removing the outermost layers of skin—a process that can reduce the appearance of many visible blemishes and kickstart new collagen production for a rejuvenated and younger look.
To learn more about nonsurgical options and facelift surgery, request a consultation with Dr. Stanley Jacobs online. He has done considerable research into combining surgical and nonsurgical treatments—primarily facelift surgery with chemical peels. Such attempts by doctors over time have led to mixed results, though Dr. Jacobs has found that low-strength TCA peels used concurrently with facelift surgery are safe and produce results that are measurably superior to either treatment performed alone. To learn more, call the Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery in San Francisco or Healdsburg at (415) 433-0303 or (707) 473-0220, respectively.