Liquid Facelift Vs. Surgical Facelift | Which is Better?

floating ball of syringes

Some people hit their 50s and start to think about getting a facelift.

I recently met a lady who fit this demographic. I was buying a file cabinet for my business. While I was paying, the lady made polite conversation. She asked what I did. When I answered, her eyes lit up. Then she immediately asked if I would recommend any plastic surgeons. She told me that she had made a promise to herself – when she turned 60, her birthday present to herself would be a facelift.

It happens to us all. It seems like just overnight, the face looking back in the mirror somehow became different. You feel happy, healthy and energetic, but your face looks tired. Some people fix it with skin rejuvenation. Others pick treatments that have a bigger impact – like a facelift.

So why do we get deep lines and wrinkles?

As we age, our faces naturally lose fat. As this fat layer disappears, our facial muscles are forced closer to the skin’s surface. Smile lines and crow’s feet become more noticeable. Sun exposure, heredity and lifestyle choices cause the facial skin to stretch – making the fat loss look worse. (You’ll often hear it called volume loss.).

The nice thing is, with the advent of Volumathere are more GOOD options now!  You can get a liquid facelift or a surgical facelift. Both give great results. You just have to decide which option will work best for you!

Let’s talk about the liquid facelift first.

A liquid facelift works best for people 30 – 50 years old with mild skin aging.

A liquid facelift is NOT GOOD for hiding damage like very deep smile lines, jowls, and loose, sagging skin. It doesn’t correct any signs of aging on your neck.

“If a patient’s skin is significantly sagging or aged, the amount of filler needed to camouflage the deficiencies would be way too much and the cost would skyrocket,” says Dr. Michael Frederick from Palm Beach Gardens, FL.  “Filler is expensive — spending that much money on a temporary fix just wouldn’t make sense, especially when a (surgical) facelift can solve the problem better and permanently.”

Mother and her adult daughter hugging in front of a garden

But I'm not going to go into a LOT of detail about facelifts in this post. I did that on the Masterpiece Liquid Facelift page.  Instead, I’ll just list the pros and cons of the liquid facelift.

Advantages of the Liquid Facelift:

  1. It’s less expensive than a surgical facelift. lists the average price as $2350.00.
  2. People LOVE the results. The liquid facelift gets a 100% “Worth It” rating on!
  3. It’s less invasive than surgery.
  4. Anesthesia (that puts you to sleep) is not required because, again, it’s not surgery.
  5. There’s very little recovery time.
  6. Looks natural (when done by an expert injector)
  7. Can treat all areas of the face (when an expert injector is doing the injecting)
  8. Is considered very safe with few side effects (when done by an expert injector)
  9. The results are temporary, so if you don’t like the effects, you aren’t committed.
beautiful mature woman being evaluated for a facelift, blue gloved hands touching face

Disadvantages of the Liquid Facelift:

  1. If you like the look, it’s expensive to maintain. You could spend as much as $2350 every 1 or 2 years for fillers and Botox. This cost is dependent on the types of fillers used and how quickly your body metabolizes them. This means that, over time, your liquid facelift could cost more than a surgical facelift.
  2. Botox injections need to be repeated every 4 – 6 months. The cost ranges anywhere from $200 – $900 depending on where you live, how much correction you want (mini doses for a little correction vs. full doses which can restrict facial movement) the qualifications of your injector, how many areas you have treated, and how quickly your Botox wears off. Over time, this means that your liquid facelift could cost more than a surgical facelift.
  3. If you get one of the rare (a rate of about 1 in 10,000) filler side effects, they can be severe:  stroke, visual impairment, blindness, and death of the surrounding skin and underlying tissue. Again, these complications are very unlikely, but they do happen. If you use a hyaluronic acid filler and are treated quickly, in most cases, these side effects can be reversed.
  4. Fillers haven’t been around all that long. We still don’t know about their long term effects.
  5. Depending on how your face ages, a liquid facelift might not work for you.

Now Let's Look at a Surgical Facelift

So how does a liquid facelift stack up when compared to a surgical facelift?

It’s an excellent question! Aside from the obvious answer – one uses needles and the other is surgery – what are the differences? I thought a brief explanation followed by a list of pros and cons might help.

For clarity, when I talk about a surgical facelift, I’m referring to a deep tissue “full’ facelift.

A surgical facelift reduces wrinkles and sagging skin on the face and neck. It tightens the facial muscles, “redrapes” the skin in a higher position, then removes any excess.

It’s “a procedure during which facial tissues are actually lifted to the position where they were before they started to fall,” says Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Marc Mani.  “People tend to think it also involves pulling up the brows and forehead skin, which it does not; that’s a brow lift. Modern facelifts do not pull skin — they pull facial muscle, which is the layer gravity acts on. When done by the right surgeon, the effect is very natural and beautiful.”

There are many surgical facelift techniques that are reliable, safe, and have long lasting results. Dr. Jean-Paul Azzi from Palm Beach, Florida, says that potential patients get confused by all the different terms used for surgical facelifts.

“There are many different procedures performed by many different doctors of different specialties, yet almost all use the term ‘facelift.’ Even though a ‘skin-lift’ (that lasts for 1 year) and a ‘deep-plane submuscular lift’ (that lasts for over 10 years) are both called ‘facelifts,’ the similarities stop there.”

The type of facelift you get will depend on the area of the face that you target and the amount of change you want to see.

A Surgical Facelift Works Best When:

  1. Your face and neck have just begun to sag.
  2. Your skin still has elasticity.
  3. Your bone structure is strong and well defined.
  4. You don’t smoke.
  5. You’re in good physical and emotional health.
  6. You have reasonable expectations for your surgery.

Your Facelift Consultation will go better if you come prepared:

  1. Be ready to discuss the 3 things you dislike most about the appearance of your face and neck.
  2. Bring photographs from 10 – 15 years ago. Your plastic surgeon will use them to determine which procedures will work best to restore your features.

Advantages of the Surgical Facelift:

  1. Surgical facelifts have a 95% “Worth It” rating on
  2. A surgical facelift can redefine the jawline, cheeks and smile lines better than all other techniques. You will get the most reliable and long-lasting results available in facial rejuvenation.
  3. Add on procedures can sculpt and rejuvenate areas that a liquid facelift cannot. For example, a neck lift can reduce neck fullness, loose neck skin and fat beneath the chin.
  4. A full facelift lasts 10 years or more. Much longer than a liquid facelift.
  5. To ensure the best result, some plastic surgeons like Dr. Karen Horton in San Francisco, include complimentary non-surgical procedures (Botox, fillers, lasers, etc,) with their facelifts. Pretreatment using these procedures and a good skin care regimen help to ensure the best outcome – and prolong your results.
  6. After your surgery you will age normally. But you will still appear younger than if you had not had your surgical facelift.
  7. Facelift scars are permanent, but are hidden in the natural contours of your face and hairline.

The problem with both the liquid facelift and the surgical facelift, is that neither procedure actually improves the quality of your skin.

Disadvantages of the Surgical Facelift:

  1. Requires anesthesia / IV sedation to allow you to sleep through the procedure
  2. 2 – 3 weeks of recovery time
  3. Things like eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), neck lift, neck or chin liposuction, earlobe correction, and brow lifts are a separate procedure. In most cases, they can be done at the same time, but they will add to the cost of your facelift.
  4. Surgical facelifts cost a LOT of money. lists the average price at $12,200 with a range of anywhere from $3,300 – $20,500.
  5. A surgical facelift can cause swelling and significant pain.
  6. There is the possibility of noticeable scarring depending on your body’s healing ability and the skill of your surgeon.
  7. Some people want a second procedure, called a revision, later.
closeup of mature woman's brown eye

Your face structure is greatly improved, but your skin itself is left looking lackluster. Your medical injector or plastic surgeon should also recommend tried and true skincare products like sunscreenretinoids and vitamin C.

To get a truly amazing result, most doctors will recommend (and some, like Dr. Horton, will include) some sort of skin rejuvenation (lasers, medical micro-needling, or chemical peels). These treatments add that final “WOW” factor. They’re the icing on the cake. You’ll look like a younger, even more beautiful version of you!

“Remember aging is a process, and facial correction is not just one procedure. Total facial rejuvenation incorporates a series of carefully planned actions, from the proper use of science-based skin care and sunscreens to the use of fillers, neuromodulators, lasers and finally surgical rejuvenation. Face lifts and facial rejuvenation surgery cannot completely restore the health and vitality of your youthful face, but the procedures will do a lot to make you look as good as you feel!” (

– Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., Dallas, Texas, Plastic Surgeon

Head shot, Amy Takken, RN & Founder, Masterpiece Skin Restoration

Amy Takken, RN

Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery. She's also been quoted on

Amy loves research and constantly watches for new products and treatments to help you improve your skin’s health – because healthy skin is beautiful! To reach Amy, visit our contact page.

Masterpiece Skin Restoration is your online resource for all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. We keep you up to date on leading edge technology and the services available to help you restore your natural beauty.

We have all the information you need to help you restore your skin.

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Dr. Karen M. Horton – Facelift Page


The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some - like melanoma - can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!

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