Face lifts could be considered the “face” of plastic surgery, as it’s one of the most well-known procedures for patients looking to reverse the aging process. While face lift results have greatly improved over recent years with new technologies and better techniques, there is still one facet that remains elusive: rejuvenating and repairing damaged skin. Dr. Grant Stevens of Marina Del Rey, California came up with a treatment plan he calls the “Icing on the Cake” to fight damaged skin. From his standpoint, a face lift procedure is only half of the battle when it comes to restoring youth.
The Icing on the Cake
Dr. Stevens has a great analogy to describe to patients the concept, and why it’s extremely important. “It goes like this. If I take my jacket into my tailor and it’s all wrinkled and stained with coffee, it’s more than just getting the size right. It’s got mustard and ketchup and other spots, and I give it to my tailor and he tailors it perfectly. It fits me perfectly. I put it on… but he didn’t iron it, he didn’t take out the spots and didn’t clean it. I’m not a happy guy! I say, ‘What’s with the coat? It doesn’t look great.’ That’s what happens when we as plastic surgeons do face lifts and don’t tend to the skin.”
Skin Issues Worth Fixing
Many problems with the skin simply come from age and exposure to the elements. The sun is our greatest ally and enemy, contributing spots and tough skin. Dr. Stevens sees such issues as problems that need to be addressed when doing a face lift, otherwise you’re only fixing half of the problem. “Some people have red spots from broken capillaries, some of us have brown spots from sun exposure,” says Stevens. “Some people have wrinkles just around the eyes, while some have wrinkles all over their face! We have to have a comprehensive approach to address these issues, otherwise the face lift will only sort of restore youth to patients. The cake is the face lift and the icing is fixing issues with the skin. Icing on the cake!”
How to restore the skin
Now is better than ever to find solutions to skin issues. Non-invasive procedures have found enormous success in offices, allowing cosmetic surgeons more refined tools to combat the aging process. “Let’s say a patient is lacking some volume and has some wrinkles. We can use injectable fillers and Botox to work those issues out. Voluma is great for volume, but it would be terrible in the lips. Restylane is great in the tear troughs, but would be terrible in the cheeks where we have Voluma or Radiesse. For sun damage, I like to use IPL, or intense pulsed light, combined with some lasers. Fraxel, Pearl Fractional… there are many specific tools now in the tool box for us to tackle a patient’s unique needs.”
“Let me do some things for the skin to make you look great. Let me get the spots out, let me get the wrinkles out. That’s what we know as the icing on the cake.”