Nonsurgical Face-Lift: A Look at Your Options

A nonsurgical face-lift aims to rejuvenate the face using nonsurgical and minimally-invasive techniques, such as injectables like dermal fillers and Botox. Energy-based soft tissue tightening procedures that use lasers, radio frequency, or ultrasound, are also an option.

The demand for nonsurgical and minimally invasive cosmetic surgeries is on the rise. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 15,700,000 minimally invasive procedures were performed in the United States in 2017 alone. Since 1997, the use of injectables in cosmetic surgery has grown by 6,448%.

While results are less dramatic than a surgical face-lift, there are a number of benefits that make a nonsurgical face-lift a good option for many people. This article will discuss what a nonsurgical face-lift does, what it doesn't, and what your options are.

Person's face being prepared for injections

Stevica Mrdja / EyeEm / Getty Images

Why Get a Nonsurgical Face-Lift?

Some of the benefits of a nonsurgical face-lift include:

  • The procedure addresses issues such as fine lines, deep creases, lax skin, thinning lips, and the loss of facial volume.
  • The procedure is quick.
  • Little to no downtime is needed.
  • Minimal recovery is needed.
  • There is little discomfort during and after the procedures.
  • The procedure does not require general anesthesia or a hospital stay.
  • It is less expensive than a surgical face-lift.
  • Results are temporary (can be used as a way to "test out" a new look before committing to surgery).

Nonsurgical Face-Lift Techniques

Several nonsurgical procedures and techniques are available on their own or in combination. Your cosmetic surgeon will tailor treatment to your needs.

Options for a nonsurgical face-lift include:

Dermal Fillers:

  • Smooth-gel injectables can create definition, smooth tissues (to minimize the look of wrinkles), and restore volume along the cheeks, temples, lips, and under the eyes.
  • It can be made from several products, commonly hyaluronic acid (such as Juvederm, Belotero, and Restylane)
  • Fillers such as Sculptra, Bellafill, or Radiesse can stimulate collagen production (a protein that holds tissues together), minimize wrinkles, and boost facial contours.
  • It can last from six months to over a year.

Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA):

  • It is effective for wrinkle reduction.
  • It smooths forehead creases, frown lines, crow's feet, and other wrinkles.
  • It works by temporarily relaxing the targeted muscle.
  • Results are seen in one to two weeks and last about three months.

Fat Injections:

  • It is a semi-invasive procedure.
  • Fatty tissue is extracted through liposuction on an area of the body.
  • Fat cells are cleaned, processed, and reinjected into the face.
  • It is used to enhance facial volume.
  • It gives longer-lasting results.

Thread Lift:

  • Absorbable, barbed sutures are implanted into the subcutaneous fat under the skin and tugged into place to lift tissues and stimulate collagen production.
  • It is used to tighten and firm skin.


  • It uses micro-focused ultrasound heat energy to lift and tighten loose skin over time and encourage collagen production.
  • It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lifting the skin on the neck, brow, and chin.
  • It improves lines and wrinkles on the décolletage (cleavage)
  • The procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes.
  • Results appear over two to three months and last up to a year (sometimes longer).

Silhouette Lift: 

  • It is used to lift and redefine face shape.
  • Medical-grade, dissolvable threads made of polyglycolic acid and polylactic acid are placed under the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
  • Results last up to 18 months (sometimes longer).

Radio-Frequency treatments:

  • Radio-frequency energy heats the skin to trigger collagen production.
  • It smooths and tightens skin on the face, neck, hands, and body.
  • Brand names include Profound RF, ExilisMorpheus8, and Thermage.
  • Results appear gradually in the months following treatment.

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is a protein that is found in the connective tissues in your skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. It helps tissues withstand stretching.

Targeted Facial Areas

The specific targeted areas depend on the method used. Nonsurgical face-lift procedures can address areas including:

  • Early loosening of facial structures
  • Jowls
  • Eyebrows, forehead, and eye area
  • Neck skin
  • Décolletage skin
  • Facial lines
  • Lost volume in the face
  • Thinned lips
  • Recessed scars
  • Cheeks
  • Nasolabial folds (lines between the nose and mouth)

Surgical vs. Nonsurgical Face-Lift 

Both surgical and nonsurgical face-lifts have pros and cons to weigh and consider.

Surgical Face-Lift Pros and Cons

Benefits of surgical face-lifts include:

  • Effects can last as long as 10 years.
  • It tightens facial muscles.
  • Sagging skin can be trimmed and tightened.
  • It can improve facial contours.
  • The results are more dramatic.
  • It may cost less in the long run because results last longer.

Disadvantages of surgical face-lifts include:

  • Longer recovery time (10 to 14 days)
  • More pain/discomfort involved
  • More aftercare required
  • More expensive initially
  • Risks associated with anesthesia and surgery
  • Results cannot be reversed

Nonsurgical Face-Lift Pros and Cons

Benefits of nonsurgical face-lifts include:

  • Minimal discomfort during the procedure and after
  • Lower costs in the short term
  • No general anesthesia
  • Minimal or no recovery time, downtime, or aftercare
  • The skin is not cut or pulled, which may look more natural
  • Fewer risks involved
  • Results are temporary, and some can be reversed

Disadvantages of nonsurgical face-lifts include:

  • Multiple treatments may be needed to achieve desired results.
  • Effects are temporary. Ongoing treatments will be needed to maintain results.
  • Repeated treatments could be more costly over time than a surgical face-lift.
  • It may not be as effective as a surgical face-lift.

Nonsurgical Face-Lift Cost

The cost of a nonsurgical face-lift varies depending on the procedure, materials used, geographical location, and the experience, qualifications, and expertise of the surgeon.

According to 2020 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average price per syringe of some fillers include:

  • Hyaluronic acid (such as Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, Belotero): $684
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (such as Radiesse): $717
  • Fat grafting: $2,508

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery has a search tool that allows you to check the range of pricing for cosmetic surgery procedures in your area.

Finding a Cosmetic Surgeon 

Make sure to choose a cosmetic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a search tool that can help you locate cosmetic surgeons in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

Drawbacks and Managing Expectations

It's important to have realistic expectations going into any nonsurgical face-lift procedure.

Before you make a decision, some things to consider about nonsurgical face-lifts include:

  • The results are moderate and may not be as dramatic as you'd like.
  • Several initial treatments may be needed to achieve the desired result, and ongoing treatments will be necessary to maintain the effects, so costs can add up.
  • Side effects are usually mild, such as the potential for bruising, and complications are rare, but they can happen.

During your consultation with your cosmetic surgeon, ask lots of questions about what to expect in terms of results, what the process entails, the estimated ongoing costs, the potential risks, and anything else you want to know.

Ask to see before and after photos of your specific procedure that were performed by your cosmetic surgeon rather than generalized photos.


A nonsurgical face-lift refers to a group of nonsurgical, minimally-invasive procedures used to rejuvenate the face. Injectables such as dermal fillers may be used, or devices that use energy sources such as ultrasound may be an option.

Nonsurgical face-lifts have fewer risks and a quicker recovery time than surgical face-lifts, but they also have less dramatic results and don't last as long. Make sure to look for an experienced, board-certified cosmetic surgeon to perform your procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When do people generally get a nonsurgical face-lift?

    People who get a nonsurgical face-lift tend to be in their 30s or older and have mild to moderate skin laxity.

  • How long does the procedure last?

    Depending on the procedure, results can last from three to four months (Botox) to as long as two years (some cheek fillers).

  • What’s the best nonsurgical face-lift?

    The best nonsurgical face-lift technique depends on your individual characteristics and goals. Talk to a board-certified cosmetic surgeon about which options are right for you.

  • Are there any natural face-lift alternatives?

    Face exercises may help improve muscle tone in the face, but if any results occur at all, they would be very subtle and much less effective than cosmetic procedures.

  • What foods help with facial rejuvenation?

    Foods that may help promote skin health include nuts, seeds, tea, mussels, salmon, oysters, barley, avocado, dark leafy-green vegetables, carrots, and berries.

16 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Heather Jones
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability, and feminism.