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Summary: This day in age we have many different types of facelift options outside of the traditional surgical facelift. The question we all have is whether or not these non-surgical options are effective and worth it?

These days, the multibillion-dollar cosmetic industry has to work hard to keep up with the increasing demands of men and women who want to stay one step ahead of the aging process without undergoing surgery. With the market saturated with so-called “facelift alternatives,” many people are left wondering which products really work and which aren’t worth the jars they come in.

Facelift in a … Jar

Many topical products available at the drugstore, cosmetics counter, or even the doctor’s office promise to lift and smooth aging skin as well as surgery. Some boast high-tech ingredients such as DMAE, or dimethylethanolamine, that may help tighten skin and improve its appearance. Although many of these products do reduce some visual signs of aging such as fine lines, their effects are temporary. There’s no evidence that any topical skincare product truly mimics the long-lasting and more dramatic effects of a surgical facelift.

Most dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and other aesthetic professionals agree that the best “facelift in a jar” is sunblock. Research has shown that regular application can keep skin in excellent condition for many years.

Facelift in a … Needle

Sometimes called a “liquid facelift,” the strategic application of neurotoxins such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and injectable dermal fillers can create impressive results. BOTOX Cosmetic and similar products, such as Dysport®, work by relaxing the muscles that cause wrinkles — especially those of the upper face, such as crow’s feet. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, actually fill in wrinkles from within and add extra volume to sunken areas using ingredients such as hyaluronic acid gel.

When used in tandem with one another, these products can be very effective at reducing several different aspects of aging, including under-eye hollows, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, and sunken cheeks. However, they’re not always appropriate for men and women who have more significant facial aging or those with an excess of loose skin. People with jowls or loose neck skin likely need a stronger option. Also, injectable treatments typically last for a few months before their ingredients are metabolized and their effects start to wear off.

Facelift in an … Energy Treatment

“Skin tightening” treatments that use ultrasound or radiofrequency energy have experienced a massive surge in popularity over the past few years. In fact, a report from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery showed more than 293,000 of the procedures were performed in the U.S. in 2013. Radiofrequency and ultrasound skin tightening treatments use pulses of directed energy to encourage the skin to contract and collagen to develop over time. Some of these procedures also liquefy excess fat for liposuction-like results without anesthesia, suction, or trauma.

Although there is little downtime associated with these procedures and they can address loose skin, unlike injectables, some require multiple visits for ideal results, and they don’t stave off aging forever. Patients who get these treatments can expect several months to a few years of results before gravity begins to take over. Most cosmetic medical providers recommend them for patients who show minimal signs of aging on the face and neck.

A True Facelift

Despite the abundant non-surgical options available today, the classic facelift remains the best way to comprehensively treat facial aging. Newer facelift techniques go beyond skin improvement to reposition and tighten the muscles of the neck and face, according to the website of Orlando-area facelift specialist Dr. Edward J. Gross. This approach, called an SMAS facelift, typically yields results that are natural-looking and much longer-lasting than previous techniques or non-surgical alternatives.

If you’ve previously written off facelift surgery as being too time-consuming or unpredictable, it might be time to take a fresh look. Today’s facelift surgery provides years of visible, natural-looking results with only about 10 to 14 days of downtime.

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