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Summary: Knowing how to decide between facelift and Botox procedures can help point you in the right direction when it comes to achieving a more youthful look. There are certain signs of aging that call for a facelift. Other signs of aging can be treated temporarily with Botox injections. Which ones work best will depend on your particular signs of aging and your treatment preferences.

How to Decide Between a Facelift and Botox Injections

As non surgical, non invasive procedures get more powerful, it can become more difficult for a potential patient to determine when a surgical approach to a cosmetic problem is warranted. In other words, it can be tough to decide between facelift and Botox treatments. Of course, it’s much easier for a surgeon to be able to tell when surgery is warranted and when an injectable might do the trick.

Knowing how to decide between facelift and Botox isn’t something you’ll have to do on your own. But it’s a good idea to have some of the basics down so you can make an informed decision.

Because, to a certain extent, these two procedures–Botox and facelift–aren’t even close. It should be pretty clear cut when you need one or the other. That said, sometimes the preferences of the patients can tip the scales in one direction or another; there are, after all, some patients who simply do not want surgery under any circumstances. But, generally speaking, there are a few indicators that can tell you whether a facelift or Botox injections will better able to help you achieve your aesthetic goals.

They Both Get Rid of Wrinkles, Right?

Botox and facelift are both intended to help patients appear more youthful. But both treatments go about this in exceptionally disparate ways with quite different results. Before we get into which one you should pick, we should probably articulate what each procedure does:

  • A facelift is designed to eliminate lines, wrinkles, and excess skin. This is accomplished surgically, of course. Depending on the type of facelift you decide to undergo (yes, there are several variations), a few incisions are made and excess skin is removed. Additional lines and wrinkles are mitigated by contouring the skin more closely to the face. The result (after several weeks of recovery) is a comprehensive and bold transformation of the entire face.
  • Botox, on the hand, is quite localized. You go in, you get a few injections, and some lines and wrinkles become more difficult to see. Botox works by targeting wrinkles that develop because of the way skin connects to muscle tissue.The Botox itself actually targets the muscle–but once the muscle is forced to relax, the skin follows suite and the wrinkles or lines become less pronounced. There’s no downtime associated with Botox, but it may take several weeks to see your optimal results.

Botox and facelifts both have their own benefits and drawbacks. But you can already see just how different each procedure is–and how they might be intended to be used in very different ways.

Which One Should I Undergo?

The decision to undergo a facelift or Botox injections should always be performed in conjunction with your plastic or cosmetic surgeon. In fact, this is exactly the kind of thing that a consultation (often free of charge) is intended to do. And that’s because there are many factors to consider–both about the procedure and about the patient.

But there are some broad guidelines you can follow. For example, you might consider a facelift if you:

  • Have a significant amount of excess skin around your face
  • Notice skin that is drooping or sagging
  • Want to eliminate widespread wrinkles and lines
  • Are able to take at least a few days, if not a couple of weeks, off from work
  • Want to target certain areas of the face that show particularly widespread wrinkles

On the other hands, you might consider Botox if you:

  • Notice specific wrinkles that you’d like to diminish or eliminate
  • Have not developed wrinkles yet but you’d like to delay their formation
  • Develop wrinkles that are directly linked to muscle contractions or muscle groups
  • Desire only a temporary change in the wrinkles on your face
  • Have a desire for a subtle change in how youthful your face looks

What’s the Bottom Line?

Ultimately it comes down to something like this: if you want subtle, local changes that will last for three to four months without maintenance injections, Botox is probably going to be where you start your transformational journey. If you want permanent changes over a widespread area of the face (or have excess skin you want to eliminate), then a facelift might be your best bet.

The most important step in learning how to decide between facelift and Botox procedures is probably going to be talking to your cosmetic or plastic surgeon. When a surgeon examines you personally, you’ll get a much better idea of where your wrinkles came from and, therefore, how best to mitigate them.


  • Shatzman, Celia. “Botox Might Not Work As Well In Your 40s As It Does In Your 30s.” Women’s Health, Women’s Health, 5 July 2018, www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty/a19942442/botox-at-every-age/.
  • “Facelift Procedure Guide.” American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/procedure-learning-center/face/facelift-guide/.
  • Watson, Stephanie. “Facelifts: What You Need to Know.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 6 Sept. 2005, health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-treatments/facelift.htm.

About the Author: Dan Voltz has been working as a marketer in the cosmetic and plastic surgery fields for nearly five years. He has helped many surgeons communicate the complex nature of plastic or cosmetic surgery procedures via blog posts, articles, and website copy.

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