A few years back, the Globe and Mail featured an article asking a prevalent question at the time, “Are Facelifts a thing of the past?”. This question is still being debated and as non-invasive cosmetic treatments continue to advance in technology, surgical facelifts are being threatened of becoming obsolete. Many people don’t see the need to go under the knife when there are so many effective non-surgical options available that achieve softer results.
The Globe and Mail wrote , “looking refreshed and revitalized but not overdone is at the root of the trend. “No one wants to look like Catwoman,” says Carolyn Berger, the 43-year old-director of a Toronto legal recruitment firm who also uses non-invasive procedures to maintain her looks. “Facelifts,” she says, “are no longer part of my generation. They belong to my mother’s generation, women in their 70s and beyond.”
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, cosmetic surgeries plunged 17 per cent last year to 1.5 million from 1.8 million in 2008, based on data gleaned from an annual survey polling 928 board-certified physicians. The two biggest declines were facelifts (down 28.9 per cent over the previous year) and forehead lifts (down 30.7 per cent). By contrast, less expensive non-surgical cosmetic treatments fared better, with 8.5 million of them performed last year, up less than one per cent from 2008. That category includes Botox injections (up five per cent over the previous year) and hyaluronic dermal fillers such as Restylane, Perlane and Juvederm (up six per cent).
“Today’s cosmetic-enhancement consumer is opting for a liquid face lift,” she says, citing an injectible dermal filler called Belotero as being extremely effective in sculpting the face without the inconvenience and discomfort of plastic surgery. “Typically, patients only have to come in once a year for treatments and … results are achieved in just a few minutes.”
Martin Jugenburg, a Mississauga, Ont. plastic surgeon who runs the Jugenburg Plastic Surgery Clinic inside Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel, says that the non-surgical procedures may make facelifts redundant in the future.
“More and more patients are starting rejuvenation treatments earlier than before and by doing so are preventing signs of aging to the point that they may never get to the point where a facelift becomes their only option,” he says.
Another big factor in the decline of facelifts: People are also turning away from them because they’ve seen so many of them go wrong. “There so many Hollywood celebrities with one too many facelifts,” says Vera Madison, a specialist in aesthetics medicine who says that pulling the skin surgically can result in sagging that eventually requires further correction. “We all know who they are, who looks overstretched and ghoulish. I am totally against cutting as a result. You pull the skin tightly and gravity will just pull it the other way. Using a combination of fillers, injectibles and lasers can actually provide better results when performed by a physician with a good eye.”
Even with injectables, though, there’s a risk of doing too much. “Many Hollywood stars have had fillers and Botox [injections] and the results aren’t always ideal,” says Jugenburg. “Overly done lips, frozen faces: The landscape is littered with examples of what not to do. And patients often do come in pointing out particular Hollywood stars as an example of what they don’t want. Names like Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, Lisa Rinna and Katie Price often come up.”
The trick, says Greenstein, who budgets about $3,500 yearly for fillers and Botox treatments that she says are the reason people think she looks at least 15 years younger than she is, is to get only a little done at a time. “I always wait for my face to be empty and I never fill on top of a fill. That way I can see what I look like and what I want to correct,” she says.