How effective are non-surgical facelifts using dermal fillers and what do they involve?

By Dr. Martina Pirklova Dip Imp Dent RCS (Eng). Level 7 Certificate in Injectable Aesthetic Non-Surgical Interventions

Non-surgical facelifts, or ‘Liquid facelift’ are an increasingly popular choice for those who want to give their face the appearance of being lifted and rejuvenated without resorting to plastic surgery.

The million-dollar question though is ‘does it actually work’?


The short answer to that is ‘yes’. A skilled medical facial aesthetics clinician can in many cases create the appearance of lift, definition and firmness on a patient’s face, giving the impression of greater youthfulness and rejuvenation.

The longer answer is that it’s very much down to the initial consultation you have with your clinician and their skill in determining the most effective combination of procedures to give the results the patient is looking for. My policy has always to be completely upfront and honest with a patient right from the initial consultation. There are instances, for example when the ageing process is quite advanced, where a non-surgical facelift will not be able to achieve the desired results and traditional surgery is the only real solution. There is little point promising something that I cannot deliver both for the patient and for my own personal reputation. Always ask to see before and after shots of previous patients at your initial consultation and always make sure your clinician has the relevant medical qualifications. They should hold a Level 7 certificate in injectable aesthetic non-surgical interventions.

How does a non-surgical facelift (liquid facelift) work?

Ageing changes the structure of our faces as well as the quality of our skin. The bones and fat within our faces become less full, leading to hollows under our eyes, the appearance of folds that run from the nose to the corner of the mouth and thinning of the lips. Some people also develop jowls as their bones and fat thins. Our muscles and the expressions they make, such as smiling or frowning, overtime cause lines and wrinkles to appear as skin loses elasticity and becomes thinner. All of these factors conspire to create that sagging, drooping appearance of the older face, and that’s without the added impact of external factors such as sun damage, smoking and pollution!

A non-surgical facelift helps reverse the appearance of those tell-tale signs of ageing by using fillers to restore lost volume in the mid-face and create youthful contours to the cheeks, temples and jawline. Further treatments to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines can also be used in combination with the fillers.

At REclinic, I regularly perform the ‘8 point lift’ non-surgical facelift for patients. A treatment that was first pioneered by Brazillian plastic surgeon Dr Mauricio de Maio. The 8 Point Lift (also called the Liquid Facelift) is a technique designed to lift and rejuvenate eight strategic areas of the face.

The fillers used in the procedure contain a hyaluronic acid (HA) which is a sugar we all have in our body. The HA filler acts as a cushion which attracts water (up to 1000 times its own weight in water) and stimulates fibroblast cells to create collagen and elastin. As long as those small filler cushions are placed in strategic points, they have a filling effect to create the desired contours.

What should I expect from the treatment process?

The very first and most important step on your treatment journey is to have an initial consultation with your qualified clinician. It’s a chance for your clinician to closely assess your face and to discuss your expectations and aims. It’s also your chance to ask questions and discuss any concerns.

Once you and your clinician are happy with the treatment plan you will be able to schedule a date for your procedure.

The actual procedure takes about 60-90 minutes to perform. A good clinician will talk you through the process as you go, explaining what areas they are treating and what sort of sensations you can expect. Topical anaesthesia (one that is applied to your skin) is generally all that is required for the process to be carried out.

You should anticipate around 2-5 days of downtime afterwards with some bruising and possible swelling. However, choosing a skilled and experienced clinician will reduce the impact of this.

You can expect the results last for around 12-24 months.

Overall, the non-surgical facelift, or liquid facelift, represents an excellent option for those wanting to give their face a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance but who don’t want to resort to full plastic surgery.

Watch the real-life video diary of a non-surgical facelift patient

REclinic patient, Gillian, recorded her experiences of a non-surgical facelift from before the procedure to a week or so afterwards. Gillian candidly shares her thoughts and feelings about the treatment process and its effectiveness.

You can watch all four videos here: REclinic YouTube channel

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