The Best Non-Surgical Alternatives to a Facelift

Patient consulting doctor, touching her face
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While the idea of a facelift appeals to many, the invasive nature of this procedure can definitely be off-putting.

Fortunately, thanks to all of the recent technological developments in the industry, there are now quite a few non-surgical alternatives to the facelift that you can opt for instead.

Ultrasound Therapy 

Also known as the Ultralift, ultrasound therapy has been in the headlines quite a bit lately.


Because several celebrities have been trying this non-surgical facelift alternative out, with everyone from Kim Kardashian to Gwyneth Paltrow experiencing some fantastic results.

What exactly does the Ultralift involve?

It makes use of a device that sends pulses of ultrasound energy into the deeper layers of your skin. This is where your skin produces collagen, which is the protein that gives your skin its firmness and smoothness. By targeting these cells directly, ultrasound therapy stimulates these cells into increasing the amount of collagen they produce.

Woman undergoing an ultrasound procedure  

Wondering if it hurts?

No, the procedure is usually painless. You may feel a little uncomfortable while the ultrasound energy is being delivered into your skin, but this is a sign that your cells have already begun producing new collagen.

The main question that people have is…

Are the results visible immediately?

Unfortunately not. Since this treatment is all about increasing your skin’s natural collagen levels, you have to give your skin some time to actually produce enough of this new collagen for a difference to be noticed.

How long does this take?

About two to three months. After about six months, you will likely need a top up treatment.

The main benefit of the Ultralift is the fact that there is no downtime whatsoever. You can return to your usual daily activities immediately after your treatment, although you should take extra care to protect your skin from the sun.

The Threadlift

The threadlift is another facelift alternative that is especially popular at the moment.

Although this procedure does involve making an incision into the skin, these are literally tiny and are usually placed behind the ear. This means that they are easily hidden while they heal.

Wondering what the threadlift actually involves?

To begin with, the incisions mentioned above are made behind the ears.

Then, PDO threads are inserted into these incisions with the use of a tiny tube. Once underneath your skin, the threads attach to the skin tissue that surrounds them. When they are pulled back, they then pull your skin back too, resulting in a tighter and smoother appearance.

The threads are then tied off and hidden within the skin.

In addition to tightening up the appearance, the threadlift also helps to stimulate an increase in natural collagen production. This helps with maintaining your tighter appearance in the long run.

What happens to the threads after they have been hidden?

They naturally dissolve into the body, just like those for medical stitches. The PDO threads used in the threadlift are actually made from the same material as surgical threads.

It takes about 18 months for the threads to dissolve. Once they have fully dissolved, you would then be able to have the procedure carried out again.

As you can imagine, the effects of the threadlift are visible pretty much immediately, which is partly why it has become such a popular procedure.

Another great aspect to the threadlift is the fact that you remain completely conscious throughout the procedure. This means that, when it comes time to pull the threads back and tighten the face, you will be able to provide your input on how tight you want the results to be.

Wondering which parts of the face are actually tightened?

This depends on the look that you are after, but common areas include:

  • Cheeks
  • Eyebrow area
  • Neck
  • Jowls

Pretty impressive that all of this can be done in less than two hours!

Would a threadlift be right for you?

This depends on the amount of loose or sagging skin you are trying to treat. This is an ideal treatment for those who have a small amount of sagging in their skin. However, if your sagging is quite excessive, you may find it more beneficial to opt for a different treatment.

Radiofrequency Microneedling 

Radiofrequency and microneedling are both traditionally separate treatments.

However, new technology means that these two procedures can now be combined into one, doubling the effects that they have and making them similar to that of a facelift.

Never heard of radiofrequency or microneedling treatments before?

Let’s begin with microneedling, which is also known as collagen induction therapy.

Traditional forms of microneedling involve using a device that contains tiny needles to create micro-punctures in the skin.

Why would you want to do this?

Because this then stimulates the body into healing the skin, which involves the production of collagen and elastin. This then gives the treated area a tighter, fresher and rejuvenated appearance.

Infographic on collagen induction therapy

On the other hand, traditional radiofrequency treatments are completely non-invasive, without any needles.

Instead, a device is used to deliver radiofrequency energy into your skin, which then triggers the production of collagen and elastin.

So, what do you get when you combine radiofrequency with microneedling?

You get a device that looks similar to a traditional microneedling device. However, the needles on this device are able to deliver radiofrequency energy into the skin, in addition to creating the micro-injuries. This allows the radiofrequency energy to penetrate far deeper than it would have on its own, bringing about more intense results.

In addition to giving the skin a tighter appearance, radiofrequency microneedling can also:

  • Smooth away fine lines and wrinkles
  • Minimize scarring
  • Improve skin texture and tone


There’s one more thing you should know about…

Some facilities also include a PRP injection along with their radiofrequency microneedling treatments.

What is PRP?

It stands for platelet-rich plasma. Platelets are components that are found within the blood, and they are what contain the growth factors that are needed for skin cell production and regeneration.

PRP injections are carried out immediately after a radiofrequency microneedling treatment, as this enhances the overall effects even further. 

Dermal Fillers

Loose and sagging skin is often caused by a loss of volume in the face, which is something that happens with age.

Restoring this volume to the face helps to lift loose skin back up, making it look as though you have just had a facelift.

How do you restore the volume back into your face?

With the use of dermal fillers!

Dermal fillers are often referred to as liquid or lunchtime facelifts, and can really be effective when it comes to tightening up the skin. 

What are the fillers actually made from?

This depends, as there are several different types available.

Some of the most commonly-used facial fillers include:

  • Collagen – relatively inexpensive and easy to administer, this is one of the most popular types of dermal fillers. It is also what people use when they are looking to give their lips a plumper appearance. Collagen fillers usually last between two to three months, although some people find that theirs last for up to eight months
  • Hyaluronic Acidthis is a natural humectant, and gives the skin an immediate plumping effect. They provide quite a natural-looking result and tend to last longer than collagen fillers. Unlike collagen fillers, hyaluronic acid fillers are made from a non-animal source, making them vegan-friendly too 
  • Radiesse – this is referred to as a semi-permanent filler, as it lasts for between 12 to 18 months. It is made from tiny particles of calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a compound that is found in our bones and teeth. Radiesse has an immediate effect, but is also able to stimulate collagen production, giving you longer term results too

Wondering how painful dermal fillers are?

This all depends on the type of filler you go for.

With collagen, the injections do feel a little sore, but this only lasts for a very short time.

The longer-lasting fillers tend to be more painful, but a topical anesthetic is used for these, meaning that you won’t actually feel any of the pain.

Don’t worry, once the procedure has been carried out, you won’t feel any pain. The pain comes from when the liquids enter into the skin, as they cause the skin to stretch. Once the skin has actually stretched, the pain disappears.

Are there any side effects to dermal fillers?

There are potential side effects to just about every procedure out there, but these are minimal with dermal fillers. You may experience a bit of swelling or tenderness in the treated area, but this will disappear on its own after a few days. You may need to take extra care to stay out of direct sunlight though, as this can cause inflammation in your skin. Be extra vigilant about sunscreen too, as this will protect your fillers. 

The Facelift Facial

A non-invasive facial that brings about results similar to that of a facelift…too good to be true?

Definitely not – it really does exist!

How does it work?

Different clinics have their own version of it, but it is basically a facial that combines a few different treatments in one, such as:

Of course, a facial massage is also included, and this in itself has been shown to have tightening effects.


Well, to begin with, it boosts blood circulation and stimulates the growth of new skin cells, along with collagen and elastin. It also helps to prevent wrinkles and fine lines from forming and deepening while increasing lymphatic drainage, all of which contribute to a smoother, tighter and brighter complexion.

The results are immediate, which is why many people opt for this facelift before a big event. However, for longer term results, you would need to book yourself in for multiple treatments.

Fibroblast Skin Tightening

This treatment sounds quite high tech, and that’s because it is. Although it has been used in Europe for quite a while now, it is still quite new in the USA.

What exactly is fibroblast skin tightening?

It involves a device that creates a voltage between its tip and the surface of the skin, resulting in a plasma charge. This plasma charge forms an electrical arc that targets the skin and instantly shrinks its tissues, therefore tightening the skin up.

Since this treatment physically removes skin tissue, the effects can last for years. There are additional things that you can do to prolong the results, such as:

  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Staying out of the sun
  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet

Surely there must be a downtime?

There is in a way. Due to the electrical arc that is formed during the procedure, each part of the skin that has been targeted will usually form a small carbon crust. This gives the overall treated area a polka dot effect.

Yes, this may look a little silly at first, but it only lasts for a week or so. After this, the carbon crusts will lift off, revealing your fresh new skin beneath. Results will also continue to improve over the next eight weeks. If you want to emphasize this even more, you can always book yourself in for a second treatment, but you would rarely require more than two.

Since the device is quite specific when it comes to its targeted areas, plasma skin tightening can either be performed on the whole face, or just on a certain area.

Popular parts of the face for plasma skin tightening include:

  • Underneath the eyes
  • The upper and lower lip
  • The jowls
  • The forehead
  • The neck

If you have been dreaming of a tighter and smoother complexion, but do not want to subject yourself to invasive surgery, there are now more alternatives than ever to choose from. Whether you opt for a facelift facial, ultrasound therapy, dermal fillers, or anything else, these options will all leave you with a fresher and more youthful complexion.

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