If you’re unhappy when you look in the mirror and see deep creases or loose skin, you’ve probably considered a face contouring procedure. But which is right for you? Below I’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of the two most popular options – Laser Skin Tightening and Facelifts.  It is important to understand that these are not competitive procedures, they are complementary procedures.  More on that later!

Facelift Walnut Creek

*Individuals Results May Vary

Laser Skin Tightening

While “Laser” represents a very specific type of technology, many people use the term “Laser” to describe all of the non-surgical energy-based treatments for facial aging.  There is a multitude, including brand names like Fraxel™, Ulthera™, and Thermage™. For ease of discussion, I’ll continue to use the term “Laser” even though not all the treatments use laser technology.  Non-surgical, laser skin tightening treatments encourage the growth of new collagen in your face. The laser heats the collagen under the surface of your skin, causing it to tighten.

What are the Benefits of Laser Skin Tightening?

These procedures are safe, effective, and require no incisions.  With some of the procedures, either numbing cream or nerve block injections may be used.  They are designed to produce smoother and younger-looking skin. Some will also reduce skin discoloration and small veins.

What are the Drawbacks of Laser Skin Tightening?

While the recovery is significantly less than with surgical treatments, the results are limited both immediately, and in the long term.  Depending on the technology, you’ll generally need multiple treatments to maximize the result, sometimes upwards of six treatments. Because of swelling of the skin from the treatment, fine lines are greatly improved immediately following the treatment, but much of that improvement will be lost when the swelling subsides within a few weeks. The limited collagen production that occurs with these treatments take time, so it can take 3-6 months for optimal results. This treatment is not ideal if you have excessive skin laxity due to aging, sun damage with loss of elasticity, or weight loss.


Facelifts reposition the skin and muscles to give your skin a tighter, more youthful appearance, as well as remove excessive skin. I specialize in the deep plane facelift (also called a two-layer lift), which lifts both the skin and the second layer of fibrous tissue and muscle. Lifting these layers separately prevents direct tension on the skin, allowing for a more dramatic, yet natural-looking and long-lasting result.

What are the Benefits of a Facelift?

The most positive aspect of a facelift is that with only one procedure, many facial imperfections can be addressed.  It results in a long-lasting, often dramatic rejuvenation, that is natural-looking.  Complementary procedures can be incorporated into the facelift, reducing cost and recovery time from multiple surgeries.

What are the Drawbacks with a Facelift?

Facelifts are surgery and therefore are more expensive. While complications are very uncommon, there are greater risks with facial surgery compared to laser skin procedures.

What Results Can I Expect from a Facelift?

A facelift can improve or reverse signs of aging in your mid-to-lower face. After surgery, you’ll have a smoother neck and jawline which is long-lasting.  The majority of our patients require no additional facial surgery for 12-15 years, and as aging following a well done two-layer facelift is natural, subsequent surgeries are not required. While the initial recovery is longer than a Laser treatment, the results from a facelift require only a single procedure. If you’re after quick improvements with lasting results, a facelift is a great choice.

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Which Gives the Best Results?

This is important – these are not competitive procedures.  Facelift surgery will give you the optimal result and will dramatically reduce visible signs of aging in comparison to laser skin tightening. Laser skin tightening may be less invasive, but in terms of results – a facelift gives the best results. Laser skin treatments, particularly those that improve fine lines, pigmentation, and small veins and red spots, are an excellent complement either before or after facelift surgery.

 If you need a facelift, you need a facelift!  Laser treatments are not designed to provide the kind of improvement you’ll see with a facelift… but not everyone needs a facelift.  If you have expectations that are in line with what the different procedures can deliver, you’ll generally be very happy with the outcome of the procedure you choose.  If you expect a laser treatment to give you the same results as a facelift, you’ll be disappointed.

If you’re not sure which procedure is right for you, you’ll benefit from a consultation with me. I’ll listen to your aesthetic goals, as well as answer any questions you may have. With the right procedure, you can take years off your appearance and no one will know you’ve had work done.

After thoroughly consulting with 5 top surgeons in the Bay Area, I chose Dr. Barnett. My surgery for neck, lower face, upper eyelids, upper lip, brow lifts were done 11 weeks ago. He is incredibly talented, skillful-a fantastic surgeon! And my results are fabulous and I hear will only get better with time. I’m very happy! About me, I am a RN and work in the Bay Area and as a RN I am very thorough and knowledgeable. And, very picky. Dr: Barnett from the first consult (he spent over 1 hour with me, no one else did) and throughout the whole course (pre and post-op) of surgery has been wonderful! He’s patient (I’m a list person), considerate, hands on, pleasant and a caring surgeon. He always put me at ease at every step. 10 days post op I bumped and opened up the incision in my upper eyelid (I had watched 3 episodes of GOT before bedtime and had a nightmare :(-not recommended). I called and spoke with him at 1am and he was so supportive and kind and mended me the very next morning. I highly recommend Dr. Barnett.

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Take the Next Step

Ready to look and feel your best? Schedule a consultation with Andrew Barnett M.D. to discuss your options today. Consultations are available in both our San Francisco and Walnut Creek offices. You may schedule for either location by calling (415) 879-8735. Renee or Laurie will help you and answer any pre-consultation questions you may have!