What Is a Liquid Facelift?

By Gabby Garritano

 

A “liquid facelift” is a unique combination of using dermal fillers and neurotoxins i.e. Botox injections to soften, lift, and contour the face.

The aging process of the face is inevitable, but we can now do things to think about how to maintain our youthful selves. I have had many patients say, “I want to look the way I feel. I may be 50 but I feel like I’m 40!” As we mature, our faces lose volume from fat pad depletion, we lose definition from bone loss, and lines deepen further from the ligaments weakening. Our skin becomes thinner and dry looking from loss of collagen and elastin. These patterns vary depending on genetics, external environmental factors such as UV exposure, and internal stressors put on the body.

During a “liquid facelift,” the whole face is taken into consideration, we look overactive mucles and soft tissue deficiencies. Areas most commonly where Botox injections might be considered injected are the upper face, between the brows, crow’s feet, bunny lines, smile lines, lines around the lips, dimpling in the chin, and the neck muscles. Areas where dermal filler are most often considered to be injected are temple hollowing, cheek bones, jawline, areas around the mouth and lips.

Who are they good for? 

A “liquid facelift” is good for rejuvenating the face with the goal of restoring the “triangle of beauty.” This upside-down triangle is a shape that we associate with youth and beauty. These shapes and proportions may vary depending by ethnicity, but this triangle remains true for thousands of generations across all cultures of the world. In a youthful face, we see high cheekbones and a nice slim jawline. Note that as we age, the triangle tends to invert with the chin widening and the cheeks deflating. The definition in the cheeks become deflated and the volume deteriorates and descends causing the smile lines to worsen and jowling to form.

Fillers have dramatically changed over time. We now have fillers for different areas of the face, for example for the cheeks we would use a product which is thicker has more of a lifting effect, or for the lips something that is thinner and more natural looking. For example, so many women come in asking about their “smile lines,” when really this problem is a result from the volume deficiency in the cheek.

Fillers are safe, degradable hyaluronic acid (polysaccharide sugars) fillers are helpful at reducing early signs of aging such as restoring volume and softening facial creases and wrinkles. But instead of filling in the lines, they can be used as a natural lifting agent to restore the volume loss causing these issues (increased smile lines) in the first place! Volume deterioration and deflation can be exaggerated in people who have experienced weight loss and even in people who excessively exercise. A youthful face has round contours, high cheekbones and a well-defined jawline. As we age the layers of the face start to change and we begin to lose this. Common areas of volume replacement include around the eyes, the temples, and cheeks as well as the lips. Restoring the structure to these areas gives an immediate youthful appearance. Fillers can also be used to restore harmony to the face or add more contours to certain areas of the face. In my opinion it’s all about balance. For example, Angelina Jolie has beautiful cheeks bones and jawline, therefore she is able to have a beautiful full lip without it looking too “fake” or unnatural.

Given a patient’s expectations and aging processes, typically genetics, weight fluctuations, and external factors such as sun exposure allows us to consider if they are a candidate for a “liquid facelift.” At a typical day at JECT, patients may varying from 30 to 60s, but are all candidates for “liquid facelifts” with different expectations in mind. For some patients, his/her goals may entail lifting and contouring areas of the face, while other patients are hoping to restore volume loss and address the aging process from a more holistic approach.

Who are they not good for?

Patients who have unrealistic expectations or patients who are in need surgical interventions. If a patient has severe skin laxity, they may want to consider a surgical consultation.

What should you ask for?

At JECT, we call this full-face rejuvenation and from time to time we may call it a “liquid facelift.” I find most of my patients are discovering this may be the best option for them once they undergo the consultation process at JECT. During the consultation we access the upper, mid, and lower face and give recommendations tailed to their requests. This is not a one size fits all approach, it is customizable to each patient’s needs and sometimes even budget.

What happens during the process?

At JECT, we try to keep our patients as relaxed as possible during the process. We have distraction techniques such as icing, vibrations, and tapping to decrease the patient’s focus on the actual injections.

Are there any tips for pre- and post- care?

Avoid blood thinning products and alcohol a week to two weeks before injections. Arnica gel and icing as needed post injections.

How long do results last?

At full correction, results may last for up to two years. At JECT, we typically advised patients to return for a two week follow up and then quarterly to access if maintenance is needed. At the end of the day, small tweaks over the course of the year result in much more natural results.

Generally, how much do they cost?

This can vary depending on how many areas of the face are being injected and what the patient’s expectations are. Some patients may want to divide their injections into smaller sessions over the course of several weeks to months. Typically, a liquid facelift ranges anywhere from $1500-$5,000.

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