By Consultant Plastic Surgeon Nora Nugent
All of us want to look our best and most of us would like to keep the visible signs of facial ageing at bay. From wrinkle relaxing injections to facelifts, all aspects of facial rejuvenation remain very popular. While a facelift remains the gold standard procedure for restoring a more youthful appearance, many other techniques are also available to enhance facial appearance and counteract the signs of ageing.
Subtle and natural looks are very much in demand and what I always strive for. While everyone wants to look fresh and rejuvenated, nobody wants to look as though they have had "work done". The natural look is definitely possible while still improving skin quality and facial contour and profile. With modern aesthetic techniques and planning, even extensive facelift surgery can achieve a very natural appearance without the telltale signs that people fear. Remember… there are many people who have had facial cosmetic surgery that nobody knows about! They look very well but what they have had done is not obvious at all.
While it is inevitable that we all age, an excellent start to looking after your skin and protect against ageing is medical grade skin care. These products contain active ingredients to counteract the effects of ageing such as dry or rough skin, fine lines or uneven pigmentation and to exfoliate the surface layer of skin and stimulate new collagen. Preventing sun damage by protecting your skin from the sun and not smoking also go a long way in keeping wrinkles at bay for as long as possible. Applying vitamin C serum helps get even more protection from your sunscreen. Facial peels are a stronger exfoliative treatment that also improve the texture and tone of your skin and reduce uneven pigmentation and fine lines. Preventing sun damage by protecting your skin from the sun and not smoking also go a long way in keeping wrinkles at bay for as long as possible. Applying vitamin C serum helps get even more protection from your sunscreen. Facial peels are a stronger exfoliative treatment that also improve the texture and tone of your skin and reduce uneven pigmentation and fine lines.
Wrinkle relaxing injections and dermal fillers are usually the next step for people and really can make a difference without the downtime of surgery. Of course all of these treatments can be used in sequence and in combination with each other so a very bespoke treatment plan can be developed.
There is a limit to how much effect non-surgical facial treatments can have when it comes to tightening loose skin or treating deep wrinkles. Facial ageing is not just the development of looser skin and wrinkles, we also have changes in the underlying supporting structures and a gradual descent of facial tissues to a lower position. For some, the decision to have surgery is then reached. What surgery can achieve is more effective tightening of the skin and underlying support layer and repositioning of the facial tissues back up to a more youthful position. There are many different surgical procedures available and more and more refinements are being developed all the time.
Some examples include blepharoplasty or eyelid lifts, which remove the excess loose skin that creases around the eyelids (upper, lower or both). This can really open up and brighten the appearance of the eyes. Browlifts restore the original position of eyebrows that have drifted downwards over the years and also help relieve the tired, heavy look that is so disliked by refreshing the appearance of the whole eye area.
The facelift itself repositions and tightens skin and supporting tissue along the jawline, cheeks and depending on the extent of lift, the neck as well. The type of facelift chosen depends very much on level of the effect desired and areas to be treated. All types of lift can achieve very natural appearances while still significantly improving facial appearances. Two of the most commonly performed facelifts are the SMAS lift which lifts the soft tissues underlying the skin as well as tightening the skin, and the MACS lift which also tightens this layer of tissue under the skin.
In short, there are numerous ways to improve and rejuvenate the face as a whole. A bespoke treatment plan can be created, tailored to your individual situation. Ms Nora Nugent is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in aesthetic (cosmetic) surgery at The McIndoe Centre. She has a specialist interest in aesthetic surgery of the face, breast and body.