Facelifts can be an excellent option for anyone trying to turn back the clock and achieve an ageless look, and there’s a lot you can do to extend the quality and lifetime of the procedure. Because aging is a multifaceted process that affects us all individually, the best approach is often also multifaceted. A plastic surgeon can help you lift the aging and sagging features of your face, but also help improve skin quality and texture, as well as the underlying muscle tone.
From the facelift itself to the quality-of-skin improvements that can be made afterwards, Highland Park, IL plastic surgeon Steven Bloch, MD walks us through his bespoke approach to keeping his patients looking youthful. “The art or the trick is to pick the right treatment for the right patient,” he says.
Part of that means developing a long-term relationship with his patients.
“I don’t believe in just doing an operation and then saying, I’ll see you back in 10 to 15 years,” Dr. Bloch explains. “If you want to look good, it’s going to require a certain amount of effort and investment in time. So, I like to follow those patients; I want to age with them.”
Step 1: The Foundation
“Facelifts are an art form like any other operation,” Dr. Bloch explains. “It depends heavily on what the patient’s anatomy is like and, quite frankly, on who the surgeon is. There is something to be said for having done thousands of facelifts. Experience counts.“
Getting the results to look natural means dialing in on a patient’s specific needs.
“A facelift is a bespoke operation and has to be tailored to the individual needs that of that patient,” Dr. Bloch explains. “You need to consider how that individual has aged and all those little, tiny nuances of the face. It’s those subtle little nuances that make for an aesthetic whole.”
Using the vertical plane style of facelifts, Dr. Bloch uses small incisions in the hairline to lift the face and neck tissue upwards into a more youthful position. This avoids the more “operated” look of older methods of facelifts, which pull the skin sideways instead of vertically.
“I think the point of a modern facelift is to look youthful and refreshed, but it isn’t to look overly operated-on,” Dr. Bloch says. “Most of my patients want to look better. They want to look refreshed. They don’t want to go into the witness protection program.”
Step 2: Tighten + Tone
The results of a facelift can last for upwards of a decade, but there are steps you can take to further turn back the clock on your skin after a facelift. In Dr. Bloch’s office, a patient might be recommended filler or neurotoxin to restore volume and decrease activity, Genius radio frequency to stimulate collagen, or EmFace to help tighten and tone underlying facial muscles.
“EmFace is doing two things,” Dr. Bloch explains. “One is heating up the tissue to promote collagen, but number two is stimulating the underlying muscle. So, it is restoring the muscle tone.”
Toning muscles makes them shorter, which creates a lifting effect that can elevate a facelift with an even more youthful overall appearance.
“The combination of a facelift and EmFace is giving a more natural look to the face,” Dr. Bloch says. “I’ve tried this treatment myself, as I like to try most of the noninvasive treatments. If I don’t see any improvement, then I don’t buy it. But if I do see improvement, I will often add it to the practice.”
EmFace won’t replace a facelift, but it is great as a program of treatment to prevent signs of aging in younger people. It can also be beneficial for those have already undergone a facelift.
“Sometimes a patient who has had a facelift will start to see some settling a year or so afterwards,” Dr. Bloch explains. “To prolong the life of a facelift and give it a little boost, EmFace used at that point is an excellent approach.”
Step 3: Improving Texture
The structure of the face isn’t the only major sign of aging. The texture, elasticity and appearance of the skin itself are also factors, and they can be heavily impacted by our lifestyles.
“I don’t see the point of having a perfect face and a boring life,” Dr. Bloch says. “Most of want to enjoy our lives; we’re active and we want to be outside. There are reasonable treatments to reverse the sun damage because if your face is lifted, but your skin looks old, it just doesn’t look youthful.”
Age spots and hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure can be improved with medical-grade skin care and treatments like Fraxel, IPL and CoolPeel. In Dr. Bloch’s office, he recommends DefenAge line to help patients achieve their healthiest skin.
If you’re trying to prevent signs of aging, taking care of your skin can help extend the time before you would need a facelift. If you’ve already had a facelift, addressing all your skin health needs will contribute to an overall more youthful appearance.