What is a liquid facelift?
A liquid facelift involves injecting dermal fillers into the skin to plump up the skin. It differs from a surgical facelift in that it doesn’t involve cutting into the skin.
The goal of a liquid facelift is to reduce sagging and wrinkles. It can also:
- plump up lips
- reduce the hollow areas under your eyes
- fill your cheeks if they look gaunt
- tighten wrinkles around your lips, eyes, and forehead
- reduce the appearance of scars
The ideal candidate for a liquid facelift is someone with relatively few wrinkles and a small amount of sagging. If you have a lot of sagging skin, or if you want dramatic results, a surgical facelift might be better for you.
How does a liquid facelift work?
The connective tissues in your skin — such as collagen and elastin — break down as you age. You might also lose fat in your face, which can lead to your face looking gaunt. Many people feel that this makes them look older, and they look for a procedure that will “reverse” this effect.
Fillers work by literally filling up space in the layers of the skin. This plumps it up to reduce the appearance of wrinkled and sagging skin.
Procedure for a liquid facelift
After you find a dermatologist or plastic surgeon who can do the procedure, you’ll talk to them about your desired results. They’ll examine your skin and face and talk to you about the procedure.
At the beginning of the procedure, the doctor may provide a local anesthetic to numb the area that will be injected.
They will then inject your face. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, the injections can sting a little. The injections usually take a few minutes each, and all of the injections can be done in one single session. The entire session usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes.
Targeted areas for a liquid facelift
Liquid facelifts generally target the face, but you can also use dermal fillers on your hands.
If you’d like to focus on your face, there are many areas that your dermatologist or plastic surgeon might target. This includes:
- under the eyes
- near the eyebrows
- the cheeks
- the temples
- the jowls
- folds between the nose and mouth
- around scars
However, everybody’s procedure is different, and the areas that are injected will depend entirely on your desired results.
Are there any risks or side effects?
While there will generally be less bruising with liquid facelifts than with surgical facelifts, you might still bruise a little after the procedure. You’re more likely to bruise if the fillers were inserted around your eyes.
If you use any blood-thinning medication, your bruising could be worse. It’s essential that you tell your doctor about all the medication and supplements you take, even if it’s just a multivitamin.
Some pain, swelling, and redness can also occur after the procedure.
- allergic reactions
- bacterial infections, such as staph or strep infections, which enter through the needle puncture
- triggering herpes simplex virus (HSV) flare-ups
- filler that may enter the blood vessels in the injected areas of the face, which can lead to skin necrosis
While these cases are very rare, it’s important to keep an eye on your skin and let your doctor know if you have any flu- or allergy-like symptoms.
What to expect after a liquid facelift
You should be able to go back to work the next day. However, you might want to take a little time off if the bruising is bad.
You might have to massage the area that was injected if your dermatologist used a filler called poly-L-lactic acid. Unless your dermatologist advised you to massage your face, avoid touching the injected areas for at least three days.
The results should be immediate, unless your dermatologist used poly-L-lactic acid, in which case you’ll have to wait several weeks to see results.
Depending on the kind of filler used, the results last anywhere between 6 and 24 months. After this point, you might need to get more fillers to maintain your appearance. Speak to your dermatologist about how long your fillers will last, and when you’ll need to schedule another procedure.
Preparing for a liquid facelift
A liquid facelift requires very little preparation. Ideally, you should not have any of the following on the day of the procedure:
- facial makeup
- a skin infection or wound on the parts of your face that will be injected
You should also avoid having any of the following in the two days before the procedure, as they can increase bruising:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen
Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before and arrive to the appointment at least a few minutes early. This will help you feel relaxed and prepared for the procedure.
To be on the safe side, always ask your dermatologist whether you need to do anything to prepare.
Liquid facelift vs. traditional (surgical) facelift
Many people choose a liquid facelift over a surgical facelift because it:
- is cheaper
- will produce more natural-looking and subtle changes
- is a quicker procedure with minimal recovery
- is less painful
- involves less bruising
However, a surgical facelift is more likely to have a dramatic effect. Speak to a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon if you’re not sure whether to opt for a liquid facelift or a surgical facelift.
How to find a provider
Remember that liquid facelifts are medical procedures that need to be done by medical professionals. When looking for a provider, ask whether they have experience and expertise in liquid facelifts. Also ask to see before and after pictures of their work.