Age for face lift surgery

I often see patients who want to have a facelift surgery. As a cosmetic plastic surgeon, facelift surgery is one of the more common procedures I perform. Here are some articles I have written about facelift surgery:

Full facelift

Facelift surgery modern approach

                                                 Face lift

One of the questions patients often ask me is, “When to have a face lift surgery?”

The answer to that question is a little more difficult than one would think!


Changes in skin needing facelift

There are a number of changes that make the cosmetic plastic surgery patient see changes in their face that they wish to reverse by facelift surgery. The causes are listed below, but what happens to the face to make the patient see a cosmetic plastic surgeon for a facelift?

  • Brow skin falls, with eyebrow falling under the upper part of the eye socket

  • Eyelid skin droops and fat herniates around the eyelids

  • Cheek skin and fat fall forward, accentuating the lines between the nose and mouth and causing nasolabial lines

  • Jowl skin and fat droop, causing a squaring of the face and marionette lines

  • Neck skin becomes loose and the platysma muscles separate and fall down

  • Skin color changes on the whole face

  • Facial pores become larger

  • Fine wrinkles increase in number and skin becomes rough

Timing of facial aging

How our faces age and needing a facelift depends on a number of factors, some within our control and others outside.

  • Genetics for facelifts

One of the most important factors for determining when to have a facelift surgery is basic genetics. Look at photographs of your mother and father and see when they lost their youthful appearance. You will see that aging occurs in stages. The skin in our faces is like an elastic band that is stretched over the years. Every decade or so, the “elastic band” breaks and we look like we have aged. How often that happens is dictated in part by genetics and hence by how our parents aged.

If by age 45 your mother looked older for her age, it’s a probability that you will, too.

  • Environment and facelifts

The insults you have heaped upon your skin also affect your facial aging. Sun exposure will actually destroy elastin proteins in your skin, making it sag. This also leads to abnormal skin cell maturation, which gives us skin cancers and “old”-looking skin. Wind exposure will dry out the skin, and the resulting dehydration leads to a wrinkled look. Hence the term “a weather-beaten face”! Protecting your skin is an important part of delaying the need for a facelift.

  • Facial skin protection to delay facelift

How you care for your skin will obviously affect the quality of your skin and delay the timing of a facelift. Creams that moisturize your skin, sunblocks that prevent the effects of the sun and creams that help the natural repair mechanisms of the skin can all help improve facial skin quality and delay facelifts.


What age to have a facelift at?

If you have taken the above into consideration, you will see that there is no defined age at which to have a facelift. Everyone is different. The youngest patient I have operated on for a facelift was 38 years old, and the oldest was 80! Still, the majority of the skin changes and drooping of the face skin that requires a facelift seems to occur between the ages of 45 and 60. This is when the greatest changes in our faces seem to occur. When should you have a facelift surgery? When you look in the mirror and are bothered by what you see!

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS