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Summary: Loose skin, saggy jowls and a loss of volume due to aging are just a few of the reasons why you may be considering a facelift. It’s true that facelift surgery can achieve excellent results, but there are a few things you need to know before deciding to go ahead to ensure you don’t suffer from post-procedure regret, not to mention ensure that you see the best possible results.

1. Choose the Right Plastic Surgeon

For a facelift, as with any other plastic surgery, you’ll need to choose a plastic surgeon who’s able to provide the best possible outcome. This means only working with a board-certified plastic surgeon and, more specifically, one who has considerable facelift experience. Practice can, indeed, make perfect.

If you know someone who’s had a facelift and is happy with their results, you can ask for details of their plastic surgeon. If not, do a little research for board-certified plastic surgeons in your area, read some reviews and look for galleries showcasing before and after photos of facelifts they’ve performed. This will tell you just about everything you need to know to make an informed decision. It’s also important to choose a plastic surgeon you feel comfortable working with, which is something you can gauge during your initial consultation.

2. Know What Type of Results You Want

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer that will address everyone’s appearance concerns. Depending on the issues you’d like addressed and the complexity of your procedure, your plastic surgeon may recommend combining a facelift with additional procedures. Before you go to your consultation, get together photos of your ideal results, make a list of specific issues you’d like addressed and add any questions you’d like to ask your plastic surgeon.

As well as helping to assess your suitability for the facelift, this initial meeting will give you the chance to find out everything you need to know about before, during and after your surgery. Bear in mind that, while it’s great to have a good idea of what you want to achieve, you should be willing to listen to your plastic surgeon’s advice, particularly if they feel an alternative procedure or treatment could be more appropriate.

3. Familiarize Yourself with Facelifts

Don’t let anything be a surprise during your facelift. Knowing more about the procedure and what to expect can do a lot to reduce any concerns you may have about your facelift surgery, particularly in the initial stages of recovery and in the lead-up to the procedure itself.

Don’t hesitate to ask your board-certified plastic surgeon any questions you have about incision placement, what to expect during your recovery or anything you can think of related to your facelift. And above all, keep your expectations realistic. Remember, you’re not creating perfection; you’re working toward an improved, refreshed version of your natural features.

4. Take Care of Your Skin

You know you should be doing this anyway, but taking care of your skin becomes particularly important leading up to and following your facelift. There’s no point getting the procedure done just to have the improvement diminished by skin in need of a little TLC, after all.

The golden rule is never to leave the house without a healthy application of SPF.

Wear sunscreen even when it’s not obviously sunny and, yes, even when you’re not planning to be outdoors for too long. As well as making SPF your new best friend, make sure you follow a cleansing and moisturizing routine that’s appropriate for your skin type and don’t skimp on drinking water to stay hydrated. In fact, even if you’re not planning a facelift, you should be doing all of this—and there’s no time like the present to get started.

5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

In addition to taking care of your skin, why not take care of your entire wellbeing? A facelift only addresses the physical signs of aging—the aging process itself can’t be slowed or stopped. As your body gets older, self-care becomes increasingly important to your physical and emotional health.

Talk to your primary care doctor about adopting a regular exercise regimen, and make sure your diet includes plenty of whole (non-processed) foods that give your body lots of nourishment. This is great advice to follow both before and after your facelift surgery, as being in better health can only benefit your final results.

6. Be a Good Facelift Candidate

The best candidates for a facelift are those who want to reverse the effects of aging, including saggy jowls, loose skin or excess fatty deposits. Normally, a good candidate is somewhere between 40 and 60 years old and in generally good physical and mental health. But while these rules apply in most cases, you should speak to a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if you’re a candidate.

A plastic surgeon who focuses on facelift surgery will be better able to tell you if you’re eligible for the procedure and discuss what to expect in more detail. Don’t be surprised if your plastic surgeon suggests alternatives or complementary treatments. Every person has different needs, so the best facelift results are seen when your plastic surgeon customizes the approach taken to each individual patient.

7. Follow Your Plastic Surgeon’s Post-Surgical Instructions

Your dedication to following your plastic surgeon’s instructions during the recovery period following your facelift can have a significant effect on the quality of your results. Put in every effort in to aid your recovery as much as you can. Expect some swelling or bruising over the first 2 weeks, which can be helped with cold compresses.

Your plastic surgeon will also tell you what you need to know about using pain relief, how long to rest up and which activities to avoid during your recovery period. Don’t be tempted to cut corners or give up on the recovery plan when you start to feel better – remember, your recovery process is a major factor in seeing the best possible final outcome for your facelift.

8. Be Patient

Staying patient is undoubtedly the hardest aspect of having a facelift for many people. You know what to expect when you have the procedure done, you’ve had any concerns addressed by your plastic surgeon, you’re comfortable that you’ve chosen a skilled surgeon with a suitable level of experience and you’re committed to following the recovery tips you’ve been given. This is all excellent and can go a long way towards providing you with an outcome you’re happy with, but the waiting can still seem like an eternity.

Your facelift results can take up to a year to fully develop. Although you can certainly expect to see visible improvement before that time, it’s important to prepare yourself for some initial bruising and swelling. The more realistic your expectations are before surgery, the more satisfied you’re likely to feel with your final outcome.

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