As you stand in line at the grocery store, a glowing, fresh-faced actress in her fifties smiles at you from the cover of Vogue. Yet, as you enter your forties and look in the mirror, you begin to notice jowling and a little sagging in places where you used to see only a smooth jawline and high, round cheeks. Is it just genetics that determines when you begin to age, and what can be done about it? This is a question Dr. Cliff Clark and Dr. David Lickstein, experts in the field of facial rejuvenation, get asked on a daily basis. As top plastic surgeons they remain ahead of the curve when it comes to both surgical and non-surgical methods to treat early jowling and sagging facial features.
Genetics does play a role as to when and how you begin to age, but that is not the only determining factor. “Everyone seems to age differently, starting around forty or forty-five years old. The lifestyle we lead and the choices we make in terms of sun exposure, smoking and our habits also have a lot to do with it,” explains Dr. Lickstein, who sees a lot of sun-related aging in his Palm Beach Gardens, Florida practice. Dr. Cliff Clark, who practices in Orlando, adds, “It’s interesting how many choices we can make based upon the patient. Even in the forties, some might choose a facelift. But, many of the people in my practice simply aren’t ready for that yet.”
Staving off Surgery
If you’re noticing aging but aren’t ready for surgery, fillers may be an option to offset the early aging. “Some of the new facial fillers are outstanding. A little volume in the cheeks will help lift up the cheek pad,” says Dr. Clark. “Using some volume in front of the jowl will help disguise it, and there are some great laser technologies also.” Using fillers to ward off the signs of aging is often referred to as a “liquid facelift.” A true facelift is a surgical procedure that both tightens skin and moves around underlying tissues. In a facelift, surgeons can take cheek tissue that has sagged down into the jowel area and put it back up in the cheeks. A “liquid facelift,” on the other hand, uses fillers to lift the sagging and to fill out wrinkles and areas where volume has been lost over time. Skin tightening lasers are a great preventative option and can provide some tightening of the underlying tissue, but they can never replace the need for a facelift once the aging has progressed passed the early stages into excess sagging.
Gold standard to fight aging
Both experts agree that there is a role for surgery at some point in the aging process. Dr. Clark reminds patients that the facelift remains the gold standard for treating aging; regardless of what age you begin to notice jowels and sagging. By teaming up with a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in facial rejuvenation, you can customize a plan to look your best now and slow down the signs of aging until you are ready for a facelift down the road.