What's the Best Age to Have a Facelift?

Year after year, you watch your face slowly succumb to the effects of aging — your skin droops and sags, wrinkles develop, and fat travels downward. If you find yourself in front of the mirror, pulling back your skin to rediscover that younger version of yourself underneath, we can help you achieve that same effect through a facelift.

At our practice, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Frederick Watkins has extensive experience helping our patients in Rockville, Maryland, and McLean, Virginia, achieve their cosmetic goals. Whether you want to change your body shape or turn back the clock on aging skin, we have you covered from head to toe.

And if you’re contemplating a facelift, here’s what you should know about the procedure and what age is best for your unique circumstances.

Facelift basics

In order to better discuss the right age for a facelift, it’s helpful to review what we can accomplish with this procedure. During a typical facelift, we make an incision around your ears and hairline and remove excess skin and fat. Dr. Watkins may also get creative and redistribute tissue in your face for a more youthful look, especially if you’ve lost volume in some areas.

Once we’re satisfied with the contouring, we pull your skin taut, trim away the excess tissue, and suture your skin back together. If you opt for a neck lift at the same time, Dr. Watkins performs this procedure using many of the same techniques in order to restore your neck to a more youthful profile.

As you can see, a facelift is a great technique to tighten sagging skin, eliminate jowls, and smooth the deep lines and wrinkles that have formed around your nose and mouth. When these age-related developments come on, however, varies wildly.

Things to consider about timing and facelifts

As we described above, a facelift is a great tool for tightening wrinkling and sagging skin. But when your skin is right for this procedure is based solely on your unique circumstances.

For example, we hesitate to put a number to the ideal age for a facelift because of the role that genetics play. If genetics are in your favor, your skin may hold up fairly well into your 60s and beyond. If you got the short end of the genetic stick when it comes to aging skin, you may start to see the signs in your late 30s and early 40s.

As well, the health of your skin also depends upon how much exposure it’s endured over the years. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can do a number on your skin, prematurely breaking down your skin cells and connective fibers. So if you’ve slathered on the sunscreen, your skin may be in fairly good shape as you age. If, however, you’ve hit the pool with nothing but a swimsuit as protection, your skin may be paying for it earlier than most.

And women have unique considerations — namely hormones. As you age and pass through perimenopause and menopause, your reproductive hormone levels begin to drop off. While these hormones are largely responsible for your reproductive system, they play no small role in the health of your skin, which is why many postmenopausal women report a sudden increase in aging skin.

The bottom line is that the right timing for your facelift may vary by quite a bit from another’s ideal age. And what we haven’t discussed yet is perhaps the most important factor — your feelings about your face. Only you know when your skin has reached a point where your dissatisfaction is such that you want to make a serious change. Whether that’s in your 40s, 50s, or 60s is entirely your choice.

Common wisdom

The one thing we can tell you is that, as long as you’re in good health, you can enjoy the benefits of a facelift at any age. Some women like to wait and see what the effects of menopause will be on their skin before opting for a facelift, while others take a more proactive approach with a facelift in their 40s.

One study found that people who underwent a facelift under the age of 50 were more satisfied with their short- and long-term results than those who had the surgery between 50 and 60, or when they were over 60. That said, each of the respondents in this small study was overall very satisfied with their results, reporting almost a 98% satisfaction rate at the one-year mark and about 69% satisfaction at the 12-year mark. 

To explore whether you’re at the right age for a facelift, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices to set up a consultation.

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