A LIQUID FACELIFT: 3 Kinds of Injections to Keep You Looking Like the Very Best YOU!
A Little Bit About the Liquid FaceLift
“In general, women start thinking about facelifts in their late forties to early fifties,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Frederick from Palm Beach Gardens, FL. “Around this age our facial features undergo significant changes. There is volume loss, and as the fat that’s left in the cheeks starts dropping down, this creates deeper nasolabial folds (the ‘smile lines’ that run from the nose to the mouth). Ultimately, this dropping effect continues down to the jowls, which squares off the appearance of the face.”
The liquid facelift is a non-surgical way to correct the volume loss that Dr. Frederick speaks of. It works best for people in their 30s - 50s with mild skin aging. When skin aging is too pronounced (lots of skin sagging, jowls, and very deep smile lines / nasolabial folds) fillers cannot conceal the damage.
This treatment uses Botox® (or Dysport® or Xeomin®) and several types of fillers (Juvederm® Vollure, Juvederm Volbella, Juvederm Voluma, Restlane®, Restylane Lyft, etc.). It's a much less invasive option because the results are achieved using needles - not surgery.
Many people like the idea of a liquid facelift because the results are temporary. If they don't like the results, they aren't committed. But this can also be a downside. Because the results are temporary, you have to keep getting the injections to keep the look. And that adds up.
Some people feel the results of a liquid facelift are more natural looking than surgery. They also like that there is no real downtime afterward. A little concealer after the treatment, and you're good to go.
There's a lot to take in if you're considering a facelift. Following are some pros and cons of the liquid facelift.
Advantages of the Liquid Facelift
- It's less expensive than a surgical facelift. RealSelf.com lists the average price as $2350.00.
- People LOVE the results. The liquid facelift gets a 100% "Worth It" rating on RealSelf.com!
- It's less invasive than surgery.
- Anesthesia is not required because, again, it's not surgery.
- There's very little recovery time.
- Looks natural (when done by an expert injector)
- Can treat all areas of the face (when an expert injector is doing the injecting)
- Is considered very safe with few side effects (when done by an expert injector)
- The results are temporary, so if you don't like the effects, you aren't committed.
Disadvantages of the Liquid Facelift:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fillers haven't been around all that long. We still don't know about their long term effects.
- Depending on how your face ages, a liquid facelift might not work for you.
A liquid facelift won't hide damage like very deep smile lines, jowls, and loose, sagging skin.
“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. Frederick. “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.”
* These are unretouched photos of a woman who had a liquid facelift using Botox, Juvederm and Juvederm Voluma. Results of a liquid facelift will vary from person to person and are very dependent on the experience and skills of the injector.
This woman had a liquid facelift.
- Juvederm Voluma was injected onto the model's cheekbones. It makes all the wrinkles below her cheeks smaller.
- Her crows feet, frown lines, and forehead lines were "relaxed" with Botox.
- The lines around her mouth and her smile lines were "filled" with Juvederm.
*This is a video of several women who had a liquid facelift using Botox, Juvederm, and Juvederm Voluma. The pictures are unretouched. Results will vary by the individual and skills of the injector.
To the left is a video about a treatment called Soft Lift. It's a liquid facelift with impressive results. I like it because it explains how the face ages and how fillers can minimize these effects of aging. The film is for "in office" patient education, but it was included to show the possibilities when Botox, Juvederm, and Voluma are combined. Remember though . . results do vary by individual and the skill level of the injector.
The video is also nice because it shows how confident the women feel after their liquid facelift. When I was doing these injections, I saw the same results. A woman would come in looking better than she thought she did. (My patients were always pretty - or handsome!) Then she'd opt for the liquid facelift.
At the 2 week followup visit, one woman in particular practically WALTZED into the office. She was smiling and wearing a sundress. The improvement in the way she felt about herself was AMAZING! So much newfound self confidence! I love that!
And published, peer-reviewed clinical trials are starting to back what I've seen - that liquid facelifts make people happy.
Allergan, the makers of Botox, Juvederm, and Latisse, conducted the Harmony study. In it, 100 patients of all ethnicities were treated with Botox, fillers (Voluma & Juvederm), and Latisse. Each felt dissatisfied or somewhat satisfied with his or her appearance.
What were the study's findings?
- At the end of the study, patients felt either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their facial appearance.
- 4 months into the study, the subjects felt they looked 4.3 years younger on average.
- The subjects' “psychological well-being improved dramatically." After treatment, patients reported feeling more comfortable in social, dating, and business situations.
- People outside of the study judged the subjects. They were asked which of 2 images (subject's pictures before and after treatment) looked more attractive, friendly and healthy. Study co-author Vic Narurkar, M.D., said, “the magnitude of the observed benefit was extremely high,”
Another really interesting finding - subjects were happier with their results when the amounts of fillers injected were NOT the amounts recommended by the Allergan. When Voluma came out, Allergan advocated injecting large amounts of Voluma onto the cheekbones. It added more volume to the cheekbones so that smaller amounts of Juvederm could be used to "fill" the smile lines.
“As we have matured Voluma into our practice, we are using one to two syringes at most,” says, Dr. Vic Narurkar, a former San Francisco dermatologist, now deceased. “This again validates what we do in the real world versus the original pivotal clinical trials (which used large amounts of Voluma). We’ve shifted away from over-volumizing and contouring the face.”
- In the midface (cheeks), the people happiest with their results had a total of 2.7 ml of Voluma injected (that's a little less than 3 syringes).
- In the lower face, investigators used an average of 4 syringes of Juvederm Ultra or Ultra Plus.
- Subjects with the highest patient satisfaction were injected with the smallest amounts of Voluma, and the largest amounts of Juvederm Ultra and Ultra Plus XC.
Dr. Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, California, and co-author of the Harmony study, says the findings are right in line with her clinical experience. "People really like to have their nasolabial folds (smile lines) treated.”
“With data now supporting conclusions dermatologists have long held anecdotally, we can say, ‘Look at the study, it showed that when you use all these products in combination, people not only felt better about themselves subjectively, but objectively, people also thought they looked better.” - Dr. Mary Lupo, New Orleans dermatologist.
Were there any side effects?
- Side effects of the fillers were bruising, tenderness, swelling, and lumps at the treatment site.
- One adverse event was reported with Botox (drooping eyelid).
- 5 adverse events ocurred in 4 subjects from Latisse.
- One subject discontinued treatment because of an adverse event.
- All side effects were consistent with those seen in prior clinical studies.
- No serious adverse events were reported.
That said, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to choose an expert injector. Someone who does A LOT of injecting. Ask to see before and after pictures of the injector's own work - not the pictures that the filler manufacturers provide (like on this page). Make sure the office uses fillers manufactured for use in the United States (they will be FDA approved). Your injector should have a good working knowledge of facial anatomy. He or she should be licensed and insured. Talk to him / her about the type of filler to be used. Are the effects reversible?
Want to learn more? Read our post Liquid Facelift vs. Surgical Facelift and learn how the two compare. And be sure to check out our post, Latisse® and How It Works For Thinning Lashes and Brows.
I wrote a post about what to look for in a medical injector. It's on our Find the Best Doctor page. Good luck!
Learn more about the three types of injections used by clicking on the following links:
Botox softens wrinkles by blocking the nerves that move muscles. These injections work best on the wrinkles that you see when you move your face.
Juvederm is an injectable filler. It "fills" deep wrinkles and helps to restore lost fullness in the face, lips, and hands.
Voluma is an injectable filler that brings contour and a subtle lift to cheekbones for up to two years. When Voluma is injected onto the cheekbones, less filler is needed in the smile lines.
Learn More About Fillers:
- Botox vs. Fillers | Which Will Work Best for YOU?
- How Juvederm and Hyaluronic Acid Fillers Add Volume and Soften Lines
- Everything You Need to Know About Lip Rejuvenation
- Lip Rejuvenation | Why Hyaluronic Acid Fillers & Medical Micro-Needling Get the Best Result
- Earlobe Rejuvenation - 2 Ways to Fix Stretched Lobes
- How Juvederm Fills Medium & Deep Lines
- Liquid Facelift vs. Surgical Facelift - Which Is Better?
- How Juvederm Voluma Restores Cheek Volume | An Overview
- The Aging Face | How Juvederm Voluma Restores Volume
Learn More About Botox:
- Botox | What to Expect With Your Injections
- Considering Botox? 4 Reasons to Try It!
- How much Botox will you need? How much will your Botox cost?
- Botox vs. Fillers | Which Will Work Best for YOU?
- Botox vs. Baby Botox | What’s the Difference?
- Erasa XEP 30 Review + Before & After Pictures | Better Than Botox?
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 Dermascope.com. 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.
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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!