The “Natural” Facelift
A “Natural” facelift is what it implies–there are none of the unwanted tell-tale signs of a facelift. What are the signs:
- Draping of the lower face–this is sweeping of the skin from the mouth to the ear, like drapes pulled to one side.
- Wind-tunnel look
- The cheek area and hollow under the cheek (tear trough) left uncorrected
- Earlobes pulled down
- Scars in front of the ears pulled forward, wider, and very visible
How are these signs avoided? Regardless of the name surgeons call their procedure, the goal of a facelift is to return the face to where it was before the aging process took its toll. This seems so obvious, but a common error with many facelifts, in my opinion, is to pull the skin horizontally toward the ears. But, gravity pulls the face downward. To properly correct the sagging face, the primary direction of the “pull” on the tissues with a “Natural” Facelift is upward– the opposite of the pull of gravity.
In addition, it must be remembered that skin is not a strong supporting structure, so you can’t pull on it and expect it to hold the face up. For the facelift to look natural and longer lasting, the majority of the “pull” should be on the SMAS, which is the stronger tissue just under the skin. When SMAS is the main tissue for traction, there is minimal need for traction on the skin. This eliminates the tight skin or “wind-tunnel” look, which results from too much pull on the skin. Plus the scars do not widen from excess tension on the skin.
The traction on the SMAS must pull upward and also begin near the mouth to diminish the signs of aging near the mouth, jowl and cheek areas. Yes, a “Natural” Facelift can still be less invasive, shorter scar, and a less extensive facelift, but will last years longer because of the direction of the “pull” on the stronger structures.
If there is significant loss of volume of the face, either long-term fillers or fat transfer should be performed at the same time as a “Natural” Facelift for convenience, but can be done at a later time. Loss of volume is one of the primary signs of aging, so this is an important step in a “Natural” Facelift.
The expected result of a “Natural” Facelift creates a more youthful looking face without the deep hollows under the eyes; the depression between the deflated cheek and the nasolabial fold; a tighter neck and elimination of the jowls. And, without the obvious signs that indicate someone has had a facelift.