Can I Get a Face-Lift at 40?

Can I Get a Face-Lift at 40?

Something in your body switches at 40 — you’re less flexible, it’s harder to lose weight, and you can’t read things up close. It’s also the age when you notice your skin beginning to sag and wrinkle. 

It’s subtle at first, and you may be the only one who sees the tiny flaws emerging, but there’s no stopping the march of time, and you know those lines will deepen and gravity will win its war with your skin with each passing birthday.

If you stand in front of your mirror, gently tugging your skin upward and wondering whether you’re too young for a face-lift, you’re not alone — 234,274 people got face-lifts in 2020 (a slight dip due to COVID lockdowns), keeping this facial plastic surgery well-planted in its slot among the top-three cosmetic procedures. 

When women and men in McLean, Virginia, and Rockville, Maryland, decide it’s time to address their drooping facial skin, they come to Frederick H. Watkins, MD, one of the most trusted and experienced board-certified plastic surgeons in the region. Our patients love his demeanor, artistic eye, and precise skills. 

It’s natural to have a long list of questions when considering a face-lift, and the one we get most often is: Am I too young for a face-lift? Here’s how to tell.

Signs you need cosmetic facial treatments

A face-lift is the most effective way to achieve a dramatic change, but what’s the right age for this age-erasing procedure?

The short answer is: Age doesn’t matter.

The longer answer is that it depends on several variables, and age is only one of them. The signs of aging skin appear at different times to different degrees in different people. For example, you may have soft, supple skin well into your 50s, while your friend may show wrinkles and dark spots in their 30s. 

Genetics, sun exposure, skin care routines, and lifestyle habits affect how and when your skin shows signs of aging, so we discuss face-lifts on a case-by-case basis. 

We start by determining your skin’s condition and talking with you about your skin complaints and aesthetic goals. Some of the early signs of facial aging include:

These problems crop up because your skin naturally slows down its production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep your skin strong, stretchable, and resilient. You also lose a significant amount of hyaluronic acid, which maintains your skin’s moisture and plumpness. As these elements diminish, your skin thins and dries out, making it look tired and old. 

When these symptoms first appear, they’re usually mild and don’t call for a surgical face-lift. Instead, we address them with more conservative treatments.

Injectable dermal fillers

In your 20s, 30s, and 40s, mild wrinkles and lines that give your skin a crepey look can benefit from injectable dermal fillers. These safe and effective solutions fill in the low places and restore lost volume to your skin. 

Dr. Watkins uses several of the leading filler brands, including Juvéderm® XC, Restylane®, Radiesse®, and Perlane® containing biocompatible, biodegradable substances like hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite to give your skin a youthful look and feel for a year or more. 


The term “neurotoxins” may sound scary, but it’s just the scientific name for Botox® and Juveau®, two powerhouse injectables that address the creases carved into your face from years of making facial expressions. 

The FDA has approved these neurotoxins to address a number of cosmetic and medical conditions. Dr. Watkins uses them to relax precise muscles in your face. When those muscles stop contracting with every smile, frown, and squint, the lines fade. 

Signs you need a surgical face-lift

If your fine lines and wrinkles have transitioned to deep creases and your less-than-elastic skin has begun to sag considerably, it may be time to think about a face-lift regardless of your age. 

Neurotoxins and dermal fillers can’t correct the effects of gravity and time, but a surgical face-lift can. And when you put your face in Dr. Watkin’s hands, you’re assured an excellent outcome. After discussing your aesthetic goals at length, he performs only the procedures necessary to restore your face’s youthful profile. 

Through small incisions that he hides in your hairline and other inconspicuous places, Dr. Watkins removes excess tissues, reattaches muscles, and shores up sagging skin. You might only need a mini face-lift or a comprehensive procedure that includes a brow and eyelid lift. 

Dr. Watkins can also combine your face-lift with neurotoxins and dermal fillers to complete your look. 

Regardless of age, talk to Dr. Watkins about your options for facial rejuvenation. Call our friendly team at either location today or book an appointment online.

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