Facelift Alternatives a Complete Guide

Many people are looking for something that can lift and tighten their skin without going under the knife.  Facelifts are effective, but surgery is a big deal, with recovery and downtime, complications and on top of all that, plastic surgery can be very expensive. The good news is that there are many non-surgical options that work, have minimal downtime and are much less expensive than a facelift.

What is a non-surgical facelift?

First off, a surgical facelift is an invasive surgical operation in which a plastic surgeon cuts away excess skin, and sutures the remaining skin in a way that pulls the skin taut, so the skin has a tighter smoother appearance. This requires general anesthesia and surgical recovery time for healing.

Non-surgical facelifts use a combination of non-surgical procedures to lift and tighten the skin. This usually involves a series of procedures, usually more than one modality, to achieve results over time. These are done with topical or local anesthetic as needed, and require minimal downtime. 

What areas of the face can be addressed with a Non-surgical Facelift?

Non-surgical facelifts can improve volume, definition and appearance to multiple areas of the face:

  • Cheeks
  • Nasolabial folds
  • Jowls
  • Jawline
  • Lip lines
  • Marionette lines
  • Tear troughs (under-eye area hollowing)
  • Temple hollowing

What procedures are used for non-surgical facelifts?

Non-invasive procedures that lift and smooth the skin are used in combination to produce the desired results. These can be catered to each person’s individual needs. At Glow Medispa, we primarily use the first 4 treatments listed below, as these provide the most robust and long-lasting results— and they are safe.

  1. RF Microneedling for skin tightening- a series of these treatments will thicken and tighten the skin
  1. Laser Resurfacing - non-ablative laser resurfacing is a safe way to smooth the surface of the skin, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.
  1. EMface - this device combines muscle stimulation and radio frequency to lift the face and stimulate collagen and elastin.
  1. Sculptra - an injectable that fills and lifts by stimulating the body’s own collagen both in and under the skin
  1. Threadlifts - surgical threads can be inserted under the skin to tug the skin upwards. We do not offer this procedure due to its high complication rate, but many doctors are using this technique.
  1. Dermal Filler - lastly, we do not consider filler to be ‘lifting’ but it is often used to fill volume that has been lost, and can be a useful tool when undergoing a non-surgical facelift.

How long does a non-surgical facelift last?

These procedures focus on building collagen and elastin over time. These are both broken down by the body at about 1-2% per year. So the results do last a long time, but you continue to age as usual. This is also true about surgical facelifts. We do recommend maintenance procedures to maintain the collagen that you have.

Is a non-surgical facelift painful?

These procedures are very well tolerated. Some— for instance, EMface— are completely painless and require no anesthetic. Some, such as RF micro-needling, require a strong topical anesthetic. Sculptra requires a needle, but has minimal discomfort.

What are the risks of a non-surgical facelift?

Complications are rare. The most common complication is bleeding/bruising.

Other risks can include: Skin reaction, Skin flaking, Burns, Scars, Lumps, Infection

As noted above, we do not recommend thread lifts due to the heightened risk of lumps, uneven results and infection.

How much does a non-surgical facelift cost?

There is a very large range in cost. A single treatment of any of these modalities listed above ranges from $700 to $2000, however a successful non-surgical facelift will include multiple visits using different modalities. The total cost is often $5-10,000. Traditional facelift surgery also ranges greatly in price but it typically many times the cost of a non-surgical approach.


  • Non-surgical facelifts consist of a combination of treatments in a series over time.
  • Non-surgical facelifts can be effective in skin tightening, lifting and volumizing with lower costs, risks and downtime than traditional facelift surgery.
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