Older patients often ask me if getting a facelift in Singapore is the best way to restore their youthful faces. While it’s true that facelifts were introduced to reduce the signs of aging, it’s important to first understand what the procedure entails before deciding if you should go ahead with it.
This post addresses all the most common questions that patients ask me in clinic, and will guide you in your decision-making on the best way to improve aging skin.
What is a facelift and what does it aim to fix?
As you get older, you lose volume in the underlying structures that support your face due to fat, muscle, and bone changes. These changes result in:
- Sagging faces
- Droopy mouths
- Hanging skin
- Fat under the chins, and in your necks
A facelift is a cosmetic procedure that aims to help you fix these issues. The procedure consists of tightening loose skin and repositioning your facial tissues to give you a more youthful look.
What are the different types of facelifts?
There are many different types of facelifts, but it can be broadly categorised into two main types: surgical and non-surgical.
Surgical facelifts in Singapore
Surgical facelifts are invasive procedures that require making a cut in your skin. The surgeon has to first make an incision, lift your skin and tissue, and then reposition it. These surgeries usually take 2 to 4 hours to complete.
There are two main types of surgical facelifts.
- Mini facelift - focuses on improving the appearance of your cheeks and jowls in your lower face.
- Full facelift - includes everything from your brows to your neck. It aims to improve your sagging or low brows, deep lines between your nose and mouth, and excess skin around the jowls and under your jaw.
Non-surgical facelifts in Singapore
Non-surgical facelifts refer to a range of treatments that are minimally or non-invasive.
They are by far the more preferred treatment amongst Singaporeans, as there is minimal downtime. More often than not, my patients are able get back to their normal routine on the same day.
Examples of non-surgical facelifts include:
- Ultrasound energy eg. ultherapy
- Radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin e.g. thermage
One of the most popular facelift procedures in Singapore is the thread-lift.
What is a thread-lift?
A thread-lift is a type of minimally invasive procedure suitable for people who want a facelift, but prefer not to go under the knife.
With this procedure, threads made from biodegradable polymers are inserted into your skin with a needle. These threads are absorbable, so they will dissolve 6 to 9 months after the procedure.
There are two main types of threadlifts:
- Anchoring threads - these threads are inserted beneath your skin, and they ‘lift’ your tissues with either barbs or cogs. They can be free-floating, or attached to an area where the ‘lifted’ tissues are suspended.
- Embedded threads - also known as PDO threads, they ‘lift’ your skin by stimulating the growth of collagen around the length of the thread.
How much does a facelift cost in Singapore?
The cost of a facelift in Singapore depends mainly on:
- The type of facelift
- The extent of the procedure
Surgical facelifts starts from $10,000 for a mini facelift, and can go up to $40,000 for a full facelift.
For non-surgical facelifts, they usually start from $1,400 and can go up to $6,000. A thread-lift would cost you around $3,500 to $6,000.
P.S. Keen to find out what are your options for facelifts in Singapore? Skip to the end to send a free enquiry to multiple trusted aesthetic surgeons to get their opinions on treatments and costs!
Are you suitable for a facelift?
The facelift procedure is relatively straightforward. However, not everyone will get great results from a facelift. A successful facelift depends on 3 key factors:
1. Good skin elasticity - During the procedure, your skin will be tightened to smooth out wrinkles. Successful healing will depend on your skin’s ability to adjust to its new contours. You will heal well and get better results if you have supple and flexible skin.
2. A strong bone structure - When you have a good bone structure, it will help you achieve better results because it provides sufficient support to your skin. If your bone structure is weak, you may want to consider using fillers along with the facelift or as an alternative to improve it.
3. Loose, excess skin around your neck, jawline, or midface - The goal of a facelift is to remedy skin laxity on your face. If you don’t have excess skin in those areas, your concerns might be better addressed by other treatments.
For surgical facelifts, you must be a non-smoker as smoking can increase complications after the procedure.
Will it be obvious that you had a facelift?
The results are often dependent on the skill of doctor you choose. A facelift can be anything from very obvious to incredibly subtle. It is your doctor’s main objective to make the results as natural as possible.
If your skin displays very serious signs of aging, it will be noticeable because there will definitely be improvements to your overall appearance.
Do dermal fillers and Botox offer the same results as a facelift?
First and foremost, you need to understand that while dermal fillers, Botox, and facelifts work towards making your face look youthful, they actually target different facial concerns.
They don’t actually lift your face per se; the effect can be thought of as filling an empty balloon. I usually use them on areas of the face that has lost volume.
I would recommend dermal fillers and Botox for those of you who are younger than 50, and do not have severe sagging skin.
Dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the skin. When injected into the skin, it plumps your face up, and replenishes your body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. It helps you remove your wrinkles by adding volume to your skin and smoothening it out.
Botox is actually a drug made from neurotoxin. After it has been injected into your skin, it “freezes” your muscle by blocking any signals to move it from your brain.
The muscle that has been injected can no longer “move”, so the overactive facial muscles relaxes and softens up. In my experience, Botox lasts for a good 4 months, and sometimes even up to 5 or 6 months.
How long will your facelift results last?
The effects of a facelift vary with their degree of invasiveness. Typically, the more invasive the procedure is, the longer your results will last. Non-surgical facelifts such as thread-lifts will have an effect that lasts for about 2 years.
Mini facelifts on the other hand yields moderate results that typically lasts anywhere from 2 to 6 years.
A full surgical facelift provides the most dramatic results, and can last up to 8 to 12 years post procedure.
What are the side effects of a surgical facelift?
There are a number of risks that come with surgical facelifts. Some of these include:
- Excessive bleeding under the skin (Hemetoma)
- Loss of skin from tissue death (Skin necrosis)
- Damaged nerves
- Obvious scarring e.g. keloid scars
- Loss of hair (around the incision site)
Bruising will be the most obvious in the few days after the procedure, and they will go away after a few weeks.
What are the potential complications of a non-surgical facelift?
From my years of being an aesthetic doctor, serious complications from a non-surgical facelift are very rare. However, as with all other procedures, there are definitely risks involved.
Some of the potential complications that might occur from non-surgical facelifts include:
- Numbness or sensory changes – you might feel a sensation of numbness in the affected area
- Migration of threads – this is when the threads move out of position under your skin
- Thread breakage – it usually happens at the ends where the thread meets the incision.
What should you expect during recovery after your facelift?
The downtime after your facelift depends on how invasive it is. For surgical facelifts, the “recovery period” – i.e. the amount of time you need to get back to a relatively normal routine is around 2 to 4 weeks.
After your first 2 weeks, you may wear minimal mineral based makeup then, but some of your bruises might still be showing. In the 3rd or 4th week, your swelling should be minimal but you might still be experiencing tightness in your face.
However, it’s important for you to note that the residual swelling, bruising, and changes in skin sensations may continue up to a full year after your procedure.
Non-surgical facelifts on the other hand, have a much shorter downtime. In my years of performing non-surgical facelift, my patients are usually able to resume to their normal activities after 1 or 2 days.
You may experience mild bruising, swelling, and dimpling right after a non-surgical procedure. There may also be numbness and pain, which can be controlled with simple pain medication. I would recommend that you eat soft foods for the next few days.
How can you get the best results after your facelift?
Here are some simple tips that will help you maintain your post-procedure results for as long as possible:
- Follow aftercare instructions provided by your doctor
- Avoid getting direct exposure to the sun during peak UV hours and use a high SPF sunscreen every day.
- Drink plenty of water and use a good moisturizer to maintain proper hydration.
- Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates your skin.
- Quit smoking as it accelerates your aging process
- Maintain a healthy constant weight. Large swings in weight will decrease the elasticity and strength of your skin.
How can you find the best doctor in Singapore for a facelift?
In choosing the best facelift doctor for yourself, you should take into consideration the following:
- The ability of the doctor to listen and provide an unbiased consultation
- Transparency in pricing with no hard-sell or upselling
- Credentials of the doctor and the practice
- His/her previous works to see if their aesthetic sense appeals to you
Lastly, listen to your heart and take your time to decide on the doctor and the procedure you’d like to go ahead with.
Dr Kellyn Shiau is the founder and Medical Director of Lux Medical Aesthetic Clinic and is also a member of the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. She has trained extensively in medical aesthetics for many years and believes strongly in providing medical treatments that are evidence based. During her free time, she keeps her knowledge at the forefront by consistently attending both international and local conferences and training sessions.
- Park, H., Kim, E., Kim, J., Ro, Y., & Ko, J. (2015). High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Wrinkles and Skin Laxity in Seven Different Facial Areas. Annals of dermatology, 27(6), 688-93.
- Rebecca Fitzgerald, Miles H. Graivier, Michael Kane, Z. Paul Lorenc, Danny Vleggaar, Wm. Philip Werschler, Jeffrey M. Kenkel; Appropriate Selection and Application of Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation Agents and Procedures: Panel Consensus Recommendations, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 30, Issue 1_Supplement, 1 July 2010, Pages 36S–45S,