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What causes a face to age?

Ageing, weight loss, smoking and genetics may cause skin to lose volume, sag or pull away from the face and neck. People seek facelifts to remove this extra skin, creating a firm, youthful appearance.

Medically reviewed by Lorcan Sheppard BSc MBBS FRCA, Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Advisory Committee for The Private Clinic. Last Reviewed July 16th 2020.

Face and Neck Lift specialists across the UK

As we age, our faces show the signs of ageing. A surgical face/neck lift, also known as rhytidoplasty, tightens skin around your face, jawline and neck, resulting in a youthful, rejuvenated appearance.

The facelift isn’t a standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ procedure and we offer bespoke solutions to each of our patients depending on their desired results and suitability. Our facelift surgery is unique using only the top plastic surgeons. Our Cosmetic Surgery clinics are located  – in London Harley Street, BristolManchester, Birmingham, Northampton and Leeds

Why have a Facelift?

With age comes loss of elasticity to the skin and loss of collagen or fat deposits. This creates loose looking skin on the face and neck. These changes can be reduced with a facelift and can include:

  • a Sagging look in your cheeks
  • Jowls from excess sagging skin in the lower jaw
  • nose to mouth lines appear deeper
  • sagging skin in the neck and in some cases more fat

Depending on your facial structure, skin quality and you will be assessed by our Consultant Reconstructive and Plastic Surgeons who will work with you to establish the best course of treatment and type of facelift procedure.

See Facelift Before and After Photos

What is the best type of Face lifts /neck lift procedure?

At The Private Clinic, our Cosmetic Surgeons will discuss the best options to suit your face and neck. They could be:

  • Full Facelift – lifts the upper and lower face for total rejuvenation, removes excess skin and removes deep lines and folds.
  • Mini Facelift – lifts sagging jowls and the neck, removes excess skin, resulting in a better-defined jaw and neckline.
  • Forehead Lift (browplasty) – lifts the forehead, to remove deep lines and elevate the brows.  This will help to improve the overall look of the face as well.
  • Temporal and One Stitch Facelift – Minimal downtime, performed under local anaesthetic with minimal hidden scarring within the hairline and a low risk of swelling and bruising. As featured in Harper’s Bazaar’s Cosmetic Tweakment Trends of 2019
  • Mid-Face Lift (Cheek Lifting/ Malar Lift) – restores the deep nasolabial folds, sagging cheeks, the lower eyelid area and hollowing between the lower eyelid and cheeks. Tired and sagging cheeks are lifted as are the downward slanted corners of the mouth making the face look rejuvenated and creates a more youthful contour.
  • Facelift and Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) – a combination procedure to completely rejuvenate the face and eyelids.

What causes a face to age?

Ageing, weight loss, smoking and genetics may cause skin to lose volume, sag or pull away from the face and neck. People seek facelifts to remove this extra skin, creating a firm, youthful appearance.

The Facelift Procedure

There are a number of techniques commonly used and it is very important to have a full consultation in order to assess each patient’s unique situation.

As each face is different, the procedures are tailor-made to each patient so the exact procedure differs from patient to patient. A consultation will be able to determine what is appropriate and effective in your situation.

The procedures typically take 1-3 hours. The more complicated and extensive procedures can take longer.

For many of our facelift procedures, you will only need local anaesthesia. It is possible to have sedation along with it to help calm patients. Most patients will require general anaesthesia for the full facelift. Incisions are typically made behind and in front of the ears, carefully designed to minimise and conceal scarring. In some cases, the incisions extend onto the scalp.

From there the surgeon will reach the deeper layers of the face which will be repositioned and ‘lifted’.  Depending on the procedure, muscle tightening and liposuction to the neck may be performed to enhance the effect of the facelift.

Depending on the procedure, you may require an overnight stay in hospital. Tubes may be attached to the incision sites to collect fluid – a natural response to invasive surgery of this kind. Some facelifts will not require such extensive care and hospital stays and this will be discussed fully at your initial consultation.

It is important to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon to perform your procedure in order to ensure you achieve the best possible results and minimise scarring and downtime.

Alternative Treatments for those unsuitable for a facelift:

The Results

The soft tissue of the face will be tightened, resulting in a tightened, more youthful appearance. However, the ageing process doesn’t stop after a facelift, so you may wish to maintain your ‘new’ appearance with aesthetic and rejuvenating treatments.


It is recommended that you take 1-2 weeks off work. You may need more downtime for more extensive procedures. Exercise and carrying heavy loads are unsuitable during the initial healing period. You will be prescribed painkiller medication to help with any discomfort experienced. Swelling is significantly reduced within a few days, whilst bruising will subside within a few weeks.

Elevation of the head is recommended to reduce the amount of swelling. It is important to avoid smoking to help the full healing process. We will always aim to see you back in clinic in the days following your procedure to ensure that you are recovering well and then again at around 6 weeks.

When it comes to researching facelift procedures there are a lot of words and abbreviations that may seem confusing. We have created a glossary of the commonly used Cosmetic Surgery words which you can view here.


Am I suitable for a facelift?

A facelift is best suited to patients who have sagging skin around their face and find that they are looking tired or upset when they are not.

Are there any medical contradictions to having a Facelift?

Contradictions may include high blood pressure, diabetes, lung or heart disease and bleeding disorders as these can increase your risk for complications. A full medical history will be taken at your consultation and your full suitability will be discussed with your surgeon.

Will there be visible scarring after a facelift?

Scarring is all dependant on the Surgeon’s skills and experience, and with the most advanced facelift techniques available today, scarring is kept to a minimum. Incision sites will be carefully considered to reduce visibility during recovery and in the long-term. They are also very well concealed for both women and men.

Am I too old to have a facelift?

The majority of patients undergoing a facelift procedure are between the ages of 40-60. Ideally the best results are seen on patients who still have elasticity left in their skin, have good bone structure and most importantly are fit and well.

What is the difference between a full and mini facelift?

A full facelift targets the area from your eye area to the jaw and a mini facelift is more focused to the lower half of your face. The incisions used with a mini facelift are also smaller so the recovery time is often reduced slightly.

Would I be suitable for a mini facelift?

A Mini Face lift is bested suited for patients who have moderate skin laxity with the appearance of some jowls. If you have significant skin laxity with cheek sagging then your surgeon will most likely suggest you have a full Face Lift procedure.

What will happen at my consultation?

Your consultation is your time with the surgeon to discuss your desired outcome of surgery, ask any questions you may have prepared and go through the surgical procedure talking through any concerns that you might have. We also suggest bringing along some photographs of your younger-self as many of our patients do not want to look different, just younger and this is the best way for your surgeon to physically see how you face has changed as you have got older and work out the best way to give you the results that you want.

How long does a facelift procedure take?

A facelift procedure usually takes between 1-3 hours. More complicated and extensive procedures can take longer but this will be discussed at your consultation.

Will I need general anaesthetic for a facelift procedure?

A full facelift will require general anaesthetic but some smaller cases and mini facelifts may only require a local anaesthetic with added sedation if requested.

What happens during a facelift procedure?

For a full facelift an incision is usually made at the temple which then runs along and around the hairline round the back of the ears. The facial skin and tissue is then lifted upwards before being repositioned and any excess is then removed. The incisions will then be closed with absorbable stitches.

Will I need to stay in hospital?

We do recommend that patients stay overnight in hospital for both the surgeon and the nursing team to ensure that you are healing well post-surgery.

Is facelift surgery painful?

The feeling after a facelift is not usually pain but just a discomfort as your face may feel tight and full for the first 7-10 days but this can be managed by pain medication provided to you.

Will there be visible scarring after a facelift?

Scarring is all dependent on the Surgeon’s skills and experience, and with the most advanced facelift techniques available today, scarring is kept to a minimum. Incision sites will be carefully considered to reduce visibility during recovery and in the long-term. They are also very well concealed for both women and men.

The scars following a facelift are usually found along the hairline and around the ears. This means that the scars are able to be hidden by your hair. Overtime, with proper care your scars will fade and become flat making them almost unnoticeable.

Will there be swelling and bruising after a facelift?

All surgical procedures will cause swelling which includes facelift procedures. Bruising after surgery varies between patients and their natural healing responses. Any bruising and swelling should reduce and eventually clear after 2-3 weeks.

How long will the results of a facelift last?

You can expect the results to last for many years. The ageing process is continuous and the facelift aims to tackle the hardest signs of visible ageing. A healthy lifestyle and good skincare routine will help you maintain the effects of the facelift for as long as possible. It is difficult to establish just how long the results will last as each patient present a unique situation. There are a range of aesthetic and cosmetic treatments to assist in maintaining results.

How long will I need to take off work?

We recommend that you book 2 weeks off work but this will depend on depend on the nature of your employment and the type of facelift that you are having.

When can I exercise after a facelift?

After 4-6 weeks you will be able to return to exercise and other strenuous activities, we do recommend that you confirm this with your surgeon first however as everyone’s recovery times are different.

When can I wear make-up after facelift surgery?

We recommend that you avoid wearing make-up for at least a week after your facelift procedure. If you decide to wear make-up after this you should not apply it over any incisions and you must make sure it is removed fully overnight as makeup can expose harmful bacteria to your incisions which can extend your healing time. If you are unsure we would recommend contacting you surgeon or their nursing team for advice.

How long will the results of a facelift last for?

A facelift is essentially permanent however it will not stop your face from naturally ageing. For patients who take care of their skin, avoid smoking and excessive sun exposure then they should be able to reap the benefits of their facelift for upwards of 10 years. There are many non-surgical procedures that can be used to “touch-up” a facelift in the years following surgery.

How much does Facelift cost?

During your consultation with one of our Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons, you will always be offered the most suitable procedure for your facial structure and desired results. We have a range of face and neck lifting procedures. The average prices paid by our Facelift patients start from £6,900 for a mini-facelift (SMAS) and £9,185 for a full facelift. We don’t follow a one-price-fits-all policy and prices are quoted on a case by case basis. You will be given an accurate quote for your requirements following your consultation.

Consultations with our plastic surgeons are £100 at our London Harley Street Clinic.

Consultations with our plastic surgeons are £50 at our Bristol, Buckinghamshire, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Northampton clinics.

We offer consultations with our highly experienced Patient Coordinators which require a £25 refundable deposit to secure your place.

Patient coordinators are able to offer you all the information you require prior to meeting a surgeon.

Please note all consultations at our Harley Street clinic are with a surgeon.

Will a facelift get rid of my wrinkles?

A facelift procedure is more targeting at lifting sagging skin especially around the neck and jowls. Although you will see some improvement to lines and wrinkles through facelift surgery, if this is your main concern then a non-surgical treatment such as wrinkle relaxing injections or laser rejuvenation may be better suited. See our wrinkle condition page for more information.

What other options do I have?

You can have non-surgical facelifts, fat transfer procedures and facial rejuvenation treatments, which will tackle effects of ageing such as uneven skin tone, age spots, wrinkles and loss of fat volume to the face. Treatments that we offer include:

One Stitch Facelift
Organic Facelift (Fat Transfer)
– 8 Point Lift
– Wrinkle Relaxing Injections
– Dermal Fillers 
– Laser Treatments

Is there a facelift clinic near me?

The Private Clinic has clinics nationwide so we are sure to have an expert facelift surgeon located near to you.

Our clinics are in;

  • London – 98 Harley street, W1G7HZ
  • Manchester –  25 St John Street, M3 4DT
  • Birmingham – 88 Hagley Road, B16 8LU – West Midlands
  • Leeds – 45 Park Square North, LS1 2NP – Yorkshire
  • Bristol – 92c Whiteladies Road, BS8 2QN – Clifton
  • Northampton – 82 Billing Road, NN1 5DF – East Midlands

We also have consulting rooms in Milton Keynes where you can have consultations with one of our patient coordinators.

To find out more about booking a consultation at a clinic near you, contact us here.

What does a free facelift consultation mean?

We offer a free facelift phone or video consultations with an experienced patient coordinator who will provide information on the procedure and the best facelift surgeons to suit your requirements.

In order to secure the timed appointment we ask that you pay a £25 refundable deposit. This is refunded once the consultation takes place. You can change your appointment time up to 48 hours before.

Contact us to book your free facelift phone or video consultation.


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    “I just wanted to say thanks to you all for being such a great team and for making me feel at ease from  the start to finish on the day of my procedure. I was really nervous, but you all made me feel much more comfortable with your warm and friendly approach. I would highly recommend you to anyone and can’t wait to see my final results!” *


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