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If you spend any amount of time perusing facelift before and after photos online, you’re probably searching for flawless results that look nothing like “surgery”. That means, like most people, you consider visibly pulled skin and noticeable incisions to be a facelift fail. The good news is, the best facelift surgeons in Toronto agree with you. Hallmarks of natural-looking, well-executed facial rejuvenation are youthful, soft, and revitalized features. Scars should be hidden well enough that they’re not readily visible in facelift before and after pics. So how is this ideal result achieved, and what do you need to know to avoid noticeable scarring after your facial cosmetic surgery?

Dr. Cory Torgerson is a facelift expert and renowned facial plastic surgeon in Toronto. He is pleased to share your need-to-know guide for facial scars. The fact is that any surgical procedure involves invasive incisions. When your skin is cut, a healthy immune response heals you, and a “scar” is unavoidable. How it appears is a whole different story. Did you know that both you and your facelift surgeon potentially contribute to the appearance of your scars? Below we’ll explain how, and we’ll give you some simple ways you can take control of healing for beautiful facelift before and after results.

Facelift Before and After: Which Elements Are Out of your Hands?

Why do some people seem to achieve a smooth, “born with it” outcome while others show notable dark or raised scarring after cosmetic surgery? The truth is more complex than many people realize. Patient-specific, individual characteristics will matter. A few examples include:

Several factors affect scar appearance, including:

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • General health
  • Where the incision is located

The contributing, individual influences that may be preventable include:

  • Medications and chemical interference with healing such as nicotine
  • Activity level
  • Nutrition
  • Sun exposure
  • Exposure to infection or wound irritation

Surgeon-influenced factors include:

  • The depth and type of incision
  • The tension and nature of wound closure
  • Home care instructions provided before and after facelift

What are the differences in cosmetic scar types?

Facelift scars are meant to be thin, flat, and pale. They should be well hidden behind ears and in the hairline. Upon close inspection, they would appear only 1 mm or so thick and may show a slight pigment variance, but not a raised or darkened nature.

When skin is injured, collagen and elastin fibres rush to the area to patch it up and reform a type of fibrous scaffolding. This cellular “bandage” acts like glue material to hold the edges together and protect the vulnerable cells underneath. It will ideally appear as close to natural skin tissue as possible, but it is not the same. It will react differently to irritation, sun damage, and other factors. As part of your body’s repair process, new proteins (collagen) replace the injured tissue with the fibres aligned in a random, mismatched form.

Scar tissue doesn’t function as well as skin. For this and aesthetic reasons, your facial cosmetic surgeon will aim to reduce the area between skin edges as much as possible, leaving minimal available space for a very thin and discreet scar.

What can go wrong, resulting in less ideal scars?

Deep scars can disrupt normal muscle movement as they create tight, restrictive bonds adhering deep tissues together. Thankfully, this phenomenon would be an extremely rare occurrence in a professional facelift procedure and is more common due to injury or burns.

Darkened/hyperpigmentation of scars can occur apart from any textural changes. A flat, otherwise well-healed scar may develop dark pigment if exposed to UV rays while healing. Throughout the first year, your healing skin in the incision area is prone to damage if not protected. A tan over fresh incisions can lead to long-term darkening of that tissue. Some laser treatments are helpful to reverse that damage, and that will be outlined ahead.

Infection or delayed healing can lead to a bigger, darker scar and the proliferation of scar tissue. People with poor circulation or who smoke before and after a facelift can find that their incisions close very slowly. The longer it takes to heal, the greater your chance of infection. Irritation of the wound edges leads to tougher, more visible scars.

Hypertrophic scars look like raised, reddened incision lines that can be readily seen and felt. They don’t extend beyond the edges of the incision, but they remain irritated and puffy longer than they should. This is commonly attributed to an immune response and will fade over time, but can be treated with steroid injections or other methods to soothe and accelerate normal healing.

Keloid scars are characterized by thickened, raised, and darkened tissue, which may appear reddish, darkly pigmented, or pale. They result from an aggressive healing process in overdrive and will progress beyond the borders of an injury. Keloids don’t generally fade on their own and do require intervention by the surgeon, but they are far less common. Those who have the unfortunate tendency toward keloid scarring are usually aware of it before and after a facelift. People with naturally dark, pigmented skin tone are most prone to keloids.

What can you do before and after facelift to prevent visible, unsightly scars?

First, you can select a highly experienced, Royal College-certified facial plastic surgeon. Those specialists who devote their practice to intricate cosmetic procedures of the face will be skilled in achieving the type of natural-looking, subtle results you want. Creating facelift incisions consistently allows for innovation and enhanced techniques. A knowledgeable surgeon will create clean incision edges that close together nearly seamlessly, with no unnecessary tension.

The care and safety protocols followed during surgery are designed to reduce infection risks. And the instructions they provide for you after will further protect you. Your facelift cost in Toronto includes follow-up visits to see your surgeon, which are essential to ensure that you’re on track and healing beautifully. Facelift recovery involves a few activity restrictions that will reduce infection risk or wound-edge maceration. You’ll need to partner with your surgeon to understand the limits and follow facelift before and aftercare.

After you’ve healed: Post-facelift scar care

While scars are not entirely avoidable and the scars that you develop can’t be erased, there are a number of care and treatment options to make them barely visible. When you see facelift before and after results online, they are most often taken at 1 year post-op. To keep the scars faint and barely there decades later, ongoing protection or treatment may be needed.

Directly After Your Face Lift

Dr. Torgerson ensures that the incisions are well covered with medical tape and that patients do not submerge in water or wash their faces for a set time. Antibiotics are prescribed as a precautionary measure for the first week. Preventing infection is the primary way that you can have control over the look of your scars.

Silicone Gel and Tape

Topical products like Mederma® or silicone sheets and gels can help flatten and lighten scars once you’ve healed. After a facelift, your incision must be completely closed before you begin applying topical treatments to reduce scars. Your facial surgeon will assess you and let you know when you’re ready to start. Placing a silicone sheet (usually cut into small custom strips) over the fresh scar, can help flatten and reduce their colour. This is especially helpful in the case of an over-productive keloid or hypertrophic scar, as the silicone is believed to halt cell proliferation. Gel formulations are more practical to apply for facial incisions in many cases.

Sun Protection

Dr. Torgerson’s facelift patients are advised to be vigilant about sun protection before and after facelift. There are a couple of good reasons for this. One reason is that swollen, inflamed tissue can burn easily or create rashes in response to sun exposure. This goes for your whole face and neck, which will be sensitive and temporarily puffy after facelift. Before going outside, apply sunblock and wear a broad-brimmed hat if possible. As well, tanned skin is damaged skin, and injured cells don’t heal as optimally. For the scars specifically, total coverage with clothing or tape and sunblock is advised once the skin has healed. This is not just essential in the first few weeks, but long term after a facelift.

If Your Scars Have Already Darkened

If you’ve already experienced unwanted darkening, don’t worry. There are treatment options. Some professional cosmetic treatments are now able to reduce the look of scars. Your facelift surgeon will be able to advise you.

Steroid injections placed directly into scar tissue every few weeks can decrease the redness, inflammation, and itching of hypertrophic scars.

Laser therapies, including CO2 fractional, Nd:YAG, or intense pulsed light therapy, can improve the texture and the colouring of your scars. We have varying levels of laser type and intensity ranging from non-ablative, thermal energy lasers that carry no downtime and are safe for all skin tones, to more aggressive and ablative types that reveal dramatic improvements for skin surface damage.

Indented facial scars can be filled using facial dermal fillers. Depending on the degree of indentation, hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are often the easiest instant fix to bring scar tissue flush with the surrounding skin and remove the 3D characteristics that make them visible. The effects of a scar injection using HA last between 9 to 12 months, and over time, less product may be required as your natural collagen production responds.

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a time-tested solution for scarring. Before and after facelift, our patients love this 100% natural way to retexture and plump their smooth complexion. A handheld roller or stamp device covered in fine needles creates micro-punctures in the top layer of the scar, which stimulates new collagen fibre formation and can blend away the edges and variations within your scar. Tight or constricted scar tissue can be broken down and softened with skin needling as well.

Chemical peels are a well-loved standard for non-surgical skin renewal. Available in a multitude of strengths, chemical peels assist your skin with exfoliation to reveal fresh, undamaged cells underneath. That means that darkened or damaged surface scar cells can fade over time using chemical peel treatments.

Take charge of health before and after your facelift in Toronto

If you’re concerned about facial scarring and you want smooth, beautiful results that you can feel proud of, here’s what you can do now:

Stop smoking — Nicotine constricts circulation, and you need abundant, healthy blood flow to heal fast and nourish a glowing complexion.

Drink plenty of water — You should be well hydrated for fast-healing wounds and good overall skin vitality.

Eat well — Ensure that your diet is balanced and that you consume plenty of protein, which supplies building blocks for new skin.

Get your vitamins in — Build up your immunity with essential vitamins like vitamin C and stay in great shape.

Be prepared — Have realistic expectations and prepare for a safe, healthy amount of time off during facelift recovery. Rushing back to work or certain activities too soon could stress your incisions and overall results.

Take the next steps toward a new you!

Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Torgerson, facelift specialist. Our Yorkville, Toronto, cosmetic clinic is a welcoming full-service cosmetic spa, laser, and surgical centre. You’ll receive one-on-one, dedicated attention and personalized planning to customize a facial revitalization that helps you look as young as you feel. Your thorough before and after facelift instruction ensures that you have everything you need to achieve optimal results.

When factors such as age or environmental damage begin to affect your appearance negatively, the effects can trickle into your mental and emotional well-being too. If your face no longer reflects your inner energy and youthfulness, it’s probably the right time to consider facelift surgery. Dr. Torgerson’s motto is, “Do the right thing at the right time.” If you’re curious about making cosmetic changes to your face, book a complimentary consultation to discuss a natural facelift. Several techniques range in how extensive they are and what they cost. Facelifts in Toronto are more popular than ever for men and women of all ages. The results can be nearly scarless and have you looking like you turned back the clock gracefully, effortlessly. We look forward to meeting you and exploring the possibilities.

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Dr. Cory Torgerson (MD, PhD, FRCSC)
Dr. Cory Torgerson (MD, PhD, FRCSC)
Dr. Cory Torgerson is one of Canada’s most talented and prominent facial plastic surgeons, focusing on head & neck facial surgery. Dr. Torgerson has been frequently invited to teach and lecture on these topics across North America. He has hospital privileges at Sunnybrook Hospital, one of the premier hospitals in the University of Toronto Health Network.
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