5 Ways to Get a Facelift Without Surgery

By

Jennifer Larson

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PHYSICIAN CONTRIBUTOR

Advances in Cosmetic Fillers

Dr. David Harvey talks about the latest opportunities for brightening up lips and aging gracefully with cosmetic fillers.
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When you reach a certain age, you know this familiar scene: you peer into the mirror and all you can see are the wrinkles that seem to have taken over your face. Your lips seem to have withered away and even your brightest lipstick doesn’t do the trick. You’re tempted to pull your hair back in a super-tight ponytail just to get that smoothed-out look that you see on magazine cover models. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your hairstyle or all the nerve endings on your scalp to get a lift. And you don’t have to undergo surgery, either, to improve the appearance of your face. There are lots of non-surgical options available now to smooth lines and plump up lips and other hollowed areas, including laser therapy, injections of botulinum toxin type A and skincare products.

But perhaps one of the most popular options for freshening up your face is the use of injectable soft tissue fillers, called dermal or cosmetic fillers. If you’re in reasonably good health without any underlying serious health issues, you might consider a filler. Many of them are temporary, which means your body will eventually absorb them and you’ll need another injection to sustain the effect. With most, you will get immediate results, with a minimum of temporary side effects—usually mild swelling, bruising, or redness.

1. Enhance Your Lips

As you age, your lips get thinner. You can recapture some of the fuller look of your youth with an injection of a filler like hyaluronic acid, a substance that provides a protective lubricating effect.  Hyaluronic acid fillers may also include lidocaine. The effects will typically last about six months. If you tend to get cold sores, however, your doctor might recommend staying clear of this type of injection.

2. Lift Your Eyes and Brows

A quick injection or two of a cosmetic filler like hyaluronic acid under your outer eyebrow will give your eyebrow—and your appearance—a quick lift. It works by plumping the area up, making it rise slightly. Calcium hydroxylapatite can also raise your brows. Injections of poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) take longer to create results in the eye area, but they tend to last much longer. There’s also a permanent filler available called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), which is a synthetic polymer used in other medical devices. The PMMA beads are contained in a collagen solution—they stimulate your body to make more of its own collagen.

3. Plump Those Cheeks

Calcium hydroxylapatite is often used for the purpose of restoring some fullness to your cheeks and minimizing the appearance of creases or hollows. You’ll sometimes hear it called a “volumizer” because it can add volume back to this part of your face if it’s gotten thinner. You can also get filler injected into the half moons under your eyes, also called the tear troughs.

4. Smooth Lines Around the Mouth

Smile! See those lines around your mouth that look like a set of parentheses? Those are your nasolabial folds, and you can reduce them with a filler like calcium hydroxylapatite or hyaluronic acid. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved the use of poly-L-lactic acid for softening those folds.

5. Freshen Up Your Forehead

If you’re fretting about wrinkles or furrows on your forehead, you could ask for a cosmetic filler, since the FDA has approved them only for facial injections. But that may not be your best option for this area. A series of injections of botulinum toxin type A—commonly used brands include Botox, Dysport and Xeomin—is perhaps best known for smoothing out those lines and making you look worry-free.

Once you've decided to go for it, don’t just fork over your credit card at your local hair salon advertising fillers. The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons both caution that getting an injection of a substance into your face is still a medical procedure and should be done in a doctor’s office. Plus, a medical professional can answer questions or provide information about the risk of side effects, which are uncommon but possible.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Jan 29, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Creating Beautiful Eyes and Eyebrows With Nonsurgical Procedures. Medscape Dermatology. http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/573716
  2. Dermal Fillers. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html
  3. Fillers. American Academy of Dermatology. FAQ. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/fillers
  4. Filling in Wrinkles Safely. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049349.htm
  5. Funt DK. Avoiding Malar Edema During Midface/Cheek Augmentation with Dermal Fillers. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2011 Dec; 4(12): 32–36. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3244361/
  6. Soft Tissue Fillers (Dermal Fillers). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/productsandmedicalprocedures/cosmeticdevices/wrinklefillers/default.htm
  7. Soft Tissue Fillers Approved by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/CosmeticDevices/WrinkleFillers/ucm227749.htm

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