How Long Does A Facelift Last?

Written by Timothy McGee, MD, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon on November 17, 2021 23 Comments

how long does a facelift last

Originally published April 3, 2018. Updated November 16, 2021 with additional information

Just as every individual face is different, the results of every facelift performed can vary as well. Many facelift patients can expect to look about a decade younger than their current age, which is a very dramatic result! Given the significant improvements the procedure can provide, along with the time and monetary investments required, it’s a given that many patients want to enjoy their new rejuvenated looks for many years following their procedure.

It is true that the results provided by any facelift procedure can fade over time as the natural aging process will continue post-procedure. That rate of decline, however, is dependent on a number of factors that are both within and outside of a patient’s control.

Why Facelift Results Are Not Permanent

A facelift procedure tightens skin, and sometimes the underlying muscle, to reverse the skin and soft tissue sagging that naturally occurs with age. While many patients enjoy results that last up to 20 years, a facelift will not permanently prevent further aging.

How long your facelift results will last depends upon the type of facelift surgery you had, your age at the time of surgery, and the characteristics of your skin. Skin type is largely based on genetics, but environmental factors such as sun exposure, smoking, diet and exercise also influence skin’s elasticity.

Here are some primary factors that determine how long results may last:

Skin Condition & Genetics

As with nearly anything body-related, our genetics play a key role in maintaining the benefits provided by facelift surgery. Typically, patients who undergo the procedure with darker and healthier skin enjoy longer lasting results compared to individuals who have fairer skin tones or some form of skin damage. Patient age at the time of the procedure can also play a role as patients who undergo facelift surgery before the age of 60 tend to enjoy the benefits for a longer term.

Facelift Technique

There are a number of different types of facelift techniques that vary in their degree of invasiveness. Typically, the more invasive the technique, the longer the results will last. A full facelift, for example, provides the most dramatic results that can last for up to 15 years post procedure. Less invasive techniques, like mini facelifts or S-lifts, yield more moderate results that typically last from two to six years.

Additional Procedures

Facelift surgery is often combined with other facial plastic surgery procedures like eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), brow lift, or rhinoplasty. Since these additional procedures enhance other areas of the face, adding them to a facelift procedure results in a more dramatic and longer-lasting end result. The aging process also causes a loss of volume throughout the face. The loss of volume is why the aged look more like a skeleton. I often use the analogy of a pillow and tell patients that the fabric has lost its elasticity and the stuffing has become compacted. A combined approach of removing excess skin and adding some fullness attacks the problem from both directions. Volume enhancement procedures such as fat grafting, fillers, cheek or chin implants can improve overall results.


The lifestyle of the patient, that is their diet, exercise routine, and skin care regimen, can have a significant impact on maintaining results. Patients who generally lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle will typically enjoy their new youthful appearance over a longer period of time.

Your Surgeon

Finally, the skill level and experience of your plastic surgeon can also play a role in how long facelift results can last. Experienced surgeons who specialize in facelift procedures have the ability to assess patient need and implement specific techniques that ensure the longest lasting results possible.

Surgical Technique and Facelift Longevity

Primarily, it’s the type and technique of your facelift surgery that will dictate how long your facelift results will last.

Skin-Only Facelifts

A skin-only facelift tightens the skin, but has no impact on the deeper layers of soft tissue and muscle. This approach has fallen out of fashion due to the scarring it leaves behind, in addition to the superior longevity of contemporary facelift techniques.

SMAS Facelift

SMAS stands for superficial muscular aponeurotic system. This is a layer of tissue deep underneath the skin which provides a supportive structure for skin. By addressing this layer of tissue, which includes tightening muscle while removing fat and excess skin, an SMAS facelift holds off aging for much longer than the skin-only technique.

Mini Facelift

A mini facelift utilizes the SMAS technique, but lifts only the lower portion of the face, including the cheeks and jowls. This procedure can be done with just a small incision behind each ear, which reduces recovery time. A mini facelift lasts for approximately 10 years, as areas that were not tightened during the procedure will continue to age and lose elasticity.

Full Facelift

A full or traditional facelift addresses the mid and lower portion of the face as well as the neck. Larger, behind-the-ears incisions allow for optimal removal of excess skin and fat for more dramatic results. A full facelift provides the longest lasting results, pausing the clock on aging for 20 years or more.

Tips to make facelift results last longer:

Although aging cannot be stopped, there are some things you can do to slow its speed. Implementing an anti-aging skin-care routine and lifestyle will help you extend your facelift results for longer.

Follow Your Aftercare Plan

Listening to your doctor and carefully following the recommended post-surgical plan will not only improve the results of your facelift, but help your results last longer.

Invest in Anti-Aging Skincare

After your facelift procedure, a consistent anti-aging skincare routine will help maintain your new, youthful look. Ask your doctor about anti-aging products that promote collagen production for improved structural support.

Avoid Sun Exposure

Excessive sun exposure continues to be the primary cause of premature aging. Wearing protective clothing and using a full spectrum sunscreen daily will prevent wrinkling and skin damage.

Avoid Smoking

Chemicals in cigarettes lead to wrinkles and crepey skin, especially around the mouth and lower face. If you smoke, your doctor will recommend quitting in the weeks leading to your procedure. This is a good time to break the habit permanently.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Weight gain will alter the look of your facelift results by swelling remaining fat cells in the face. Weight gain can also lead to hormonal changes which make skin more prone to sagging. Committing to a healthy diet and exercise routine is one of the most significant things you can do to maintain your facelift results.

Consider Cosmetic Injectables

Having had facelift surgery doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the benefits of future cosmetic procedures. Years after your facelift, as the signs of aging begin to slowly return, cosmetic injectables can address loss of volume and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Long Lasting Face Lifts

While a facelift will not permanently prevent future aging, today’s facelifts can hold off aging for 10-20 years. Results of a full facelift will last longer than a mini-facelift, as will techniques that address the supportive tissue underneath the skin.

To maintain your youthful look for as long as possible, maintain your body weight with a healthy lifestyle. Commit to an anti-aging skin care routine, and don’t shy away from age-defying procedures such as facials, peels or injectables.

Timothy McGee, MD

Dr. McGee has been practicing plastic surgery for more than 18 years in all areas of the field, including cosmetic surgery and reconstructive breast and facial surgery. Dr. McGee is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has numerous hospital affiliations in the Round Rock and greater Austin areas and is a member of the American Society of plastic Surgeons, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American College of Surgeons and Austin Smiles.

23 Responses to “How Long Does A Facelift Last?”

  1. Avatar Georgia B says:

    Thanks so much for providing a list of tips to help a facelift last longer! Since my mom isn’t 60 yet and has a darker complexion, it sounds like she would enjoy facelift results for a longer time than most. However, I’m sure she would benefit from still doing things like staying hydrated and applying sun protection in order to make the facelift last even longer.

  2. Avatar Joy says:

    Great tips in this post, thanks for sharing. I have a question, I want a Facelift but I am a current smoker and have not been able to quit for long periods in the past. I understand that smoking ages the skin. Would getting a facelift essentially be useless for me if I continue to smoke?

  3. Avatar Joy says:

    My mother is so excited to attend my daughter’s wedding. She wants to undergo a facelift treatment as early as this month. However, the wedding is to be held in November. Do you think she would be fully healed and ready to go out in public by then?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Joy,

      Thanks for your comment and great question. In terms of recovery, that depends on several factors like the specific type of facelift technique performed. You can learn more about recovery with this post:

      I think your mother should be fully healed by November if she has the procedure this month (July). However, I would encourage her to discuss this further with the surgeon she selects to make sure.

      I hope that helps!


  4. Avatar Lilia says:

    Thank you for letting me know that a full facelift can last up to 15 years after it is performed. I’ve been having a hard time feeling confident lately. This article was very helpful in letting me know what I can expect from getting a facelift. I’ll need to look more into where I can get this procedure done.

  5. Avatar Rosie says:

    My mom is thinking about getting a facelift and she wants it to be long lasting, so I am glad that I found this article!

  6. Avatar Deedee says:

    I’ve always wanted to get a facelift but I want to make sure that I know how to make it last as long as possible. I really like what you said about drinking plenty of water after the procedure. That is something I didn’t think about but I will be sure to keep that in mind as I consider this surgery.

  7. Avatar Amy says:

    Good to know that patients who get a facelift before age 60 are likely to enjoy the benefits for a longer time. My 58th birthday is next month, and I’ll definitely considering the surgery.

  8. Avatar Michael says:

    I like that you added that your healthy lifestyle is very important for maintaining the effects of your facelift. I don’t think most people realize the effects of what they put into their bodies. I have thought about getting a facelift for some time now and completely agree that your diet plays a huge role in how long it lasts.

  9. Avatar Gerty Gift says:

    Thank you for mentioning that weight fluctuation can alter the results of your surgery. I didn’t realize that something like that could make or break your results and their longevity. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind and try to maintain a better diet before and after I get this procedure.

  10. Avatar Jocelyn says:

    My face has gotten a lot more saggy and wrinkled as I age, an I was thinking of treating myself to a facelift to combat this. Your article had some great information regarding facelifts, and I liked how you said that for the best results after this procedure, I should use a high SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and avoid the outdoors during peak UV hours. Thanks; I’ll keep this in mind when considering if a facelift is right for me.

  11. Avatar Olivia says:

    Thanks for Sharing this information.

  12. Avatar Dr. Zwiebel says:

    Great points on this post, although I will say we have patients who return 10+ years later and still carry as good of a result as right after their procedure. It definitely depends on the type of technique used and patient lifestyle.

  13. Avatar Mia says:

    Can a person get another facelift after a mini facelift has “expired”?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Mia,

      Great question! It is possible to have follow up facelift procedures. However, you’ll need to have an in-person assessment to ensure that a follow up procedure is right for you. A skilled surgeon will assess various skin characteristics to ensure a follow up procedure is the right choice. So we recommend visiting a board certified facial plastic surgeon for an in-person consultation. If you are in the Austin area please give us a call!

      We hope that helps!

      WD Staff

  14. Avatar Barbara Donios says:

    Can age spots be removed at the same time as a facelift?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for submitting your great question! It is possible to treat age spots with a non-surgical laser treatment shortly after undergoing a facelift. A skilled board certified plastic surgeon can assess your skin characteristics and recommend a treatment plan to address all your needs. If you are in the Austin area, please give us a call!

      WD Staff

  15. Avatar rachel says:

    I did not konw that the patient’s diet and exercise can have an effect on how long will the facelift last. Thank for that info

  16. Avatar Lisa says:

    My mother had the procedure and still looks great. It’s been about 12 years now.

  17. It depends on patient’s lifestyle, diet, etc. Duration of this procedure Is different for individuals.

  18. Avatar Geraldine says:

    Totally depends on how well you take care of your skin after the procedure. Definitely wear sunscreen and don’t smoke. Follow a good skin care routine and see your dermatologist for periodic in office treatments. If you take care of your skin the results of a facelift can last for decades!

  19. Avatar Dr. Yarish says:

    Thank you, great article!
    Speaking of anti-aging skincare, I recommend use retinoid cream to help keep your face looking young after your facelift procedure. Retinoid cream promotes faster skin cell turnover and prevents the buildup of dead skin cells in the pores. However you can be sensitive to retinoid cream; therefore, over-the-counter retinol cream may be the best option. The main difference between the two is that retinol is much weaker than prescription-strength retinoid cream, such as Retin-A.

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