Facelift Scars – Will People See Yours?

blepharoplasty, facelift scars, best facelift, facelift Inland Empire, Dr. Brian Machida
Before and After facelift and blepharoplasty by Dr. Brian Machida

If you’re considering a facelift, you may well wonder, “Will people see my facelift scars?”  That worries some people because, naturally, you want to improve your appearance and not detract from it in any way.  Research shows that a good facelift can increase your confidence as well as the confidence others feel in you.  Having clearly visible facelift scars could detract from that.  And while a good facial plastic surgeon hides his incisions to avoid noticeable scarring, you still may wonder:

  • Why does your skin develop scars?
  • Are you likely to develop a visible scar?
  • Do you need to worry about facelift scars?
  • What can your surgeon and you do to prevent or treat facelift scars?

Why does your skin develop scars?

 Except for very minor ones, every skin injury produces a scar.  This is natural.  The Cleveland Clinic states:

  • Scars form as part of the healing process after your skin has been cut or damaged. The skin repairs itself by growing new tissue to pull together the wound and fill in any gaps caused by the injury.  Scar tissue is made primarily of a protein called collagen.

Your skin provides an important barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other germs that could infect a wound.  Your immune system responds with inflammation and makes a rapid repair.  The collagen fibers that form the building blocks of normal skin are aligned in a basketweave pattern.  Your body’s rapid repair deposits collagen in a different, more parallel alignment.  The last step in healing a wound is often a visible scar that looks dissimilar to the skin around it.

facelift scars, scar, scarring
This body scars shows how good surgical technique and good healing result in less noticeable scars

Many scars are tiny, barely visible lines.  But if your body over-produces collagen or concentrates pigments (melanin) in the scar, it can be raised or dark.  Raised or dark scars are more visible.  These can often be prevented, as we’ll discuss below.

Are you likely to develop visible facelift scars? 

Your genetics, ethnicity and skin type can make a big difference in whether or not you heal without visible scars.  Those with light, less oily skin often heal best and avoid noticeable scarring.  People with darker, oily skin are more likely to produce visible scars.

The tendency to develop raised (keloid) scars often runs in families.   So, if close family members have large, raised, or dark scars, there is a better chance that you could have them, too.  But since your genes come from both your father and mother, family history of visible scarring is by no means a guarantee that you will develop noticeable facelift scars.

A better way to judge whether you’ll develop noticeable facial scars would be the kind of scars you’ve gotten elsewhere on your body.  Body scars are usually worse than facial scars.  So, if you’ve had surgery or a relatively minor injury somewhere on your body and didn’t develop a large, raised, or dark scar, the odds are good that you won’t develop noticeable facelift scars.

It’s important to note, though, that scars often fade over time.  And there are definite things you can do to avoid visible scars or treat them if they appear.

Do you need to worry about facelift scars?

If you’re getting a facelift from an experienced, board-certified facial plastic surgeon or a plastic surgeon that specializes in the face and neck, chances are no one will notice any facelift scars.  For instance, I hide facelift incisions behind the tragus, the flap protecting your ear canal.  Any scar is usually very well hidden.  Another place I like to make incisions is in the crease of the earlobe, where it connects to the cheek.  This results in facelift scars that are hard to see.

facelift scars, Zoom neck, neck lift Inland Empire
Before & After facelift and necklift by Dr. Brian Machida

One place where a facelift incision could be noticed is following the curve of the ear to the temple.  The scar from this incision is normally hidden by your sideburns or hairline.  Thus, while most patients will have facelift scars, these are usually well hidden and very hard to see.

Can you reduce the risk of facelift scars or treat them if they occur?

For those at higher risk or with greater concerns about scarring, your surgeon can recommend a scar gel that you can apply for 3 months to help prevent noticeable scars.  If you develop a raised or dark keloid scar, steroid injections can flatten the scar and cause it to atrophy.

Visible scars often form when your body produces far more collagen than it needs to heal your surgical incision or any other wound.  Steroids like Kenalog can be injected directly into the scar.  Kenalog will break the bonds between some collagen fibers and shrink the size of the scar.  Steroids also reduce inflammation, which in turn decreases swelling, redness, itching, and tenderness.

Facelift scars – not a cause for worry    CONTACT Dr. Machida Inland Empire, CA 

If you’re considering a facelift by an experienced, qualified surgeon, the benefits far outweigh the risks of visible scarring.  Few patients even ask me about it.  That’s probably because facial plastic surgery is so often performed in Southern California that many already know that good surgeons seldom leave visible facelift scars.  I’ve performed 6,000 facelifts and have very rarely seen facelift scars become a problem.

facelift scars, facelift Inland Empire, Dr. Brian Machida, SMAS facelift, SMAS facelift Inland Empire
Female, 77, Before and After SMAS facelift by Dr. Brian Machida

A good facelift can make you look significantly younger and more attractive.  It can also improve both your self-esteem and the way others see you.  If you’re in Inland Empire and want to discuss your best options for a great new look, come see me for a free consultation at STC Plastic Surgery in Ontario.

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About Dr. Brian Machida, MD, FACS

Dr. Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon. He has an exceptional level of experience, having performed ( read more )

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