Noninvasive Facelift? Separating Fact from Fiction


When it comes to looking younger, slimmer, or simply better, we want maximum payoff with minimum investment.

In that spirit, plenty of facelift alternatives have cropped up — but which claims have merit? Here, we’ll examine some of today’s popular plastic surgery alternatives to see what might really work – and what’s simply too good to be true.


Cosmetic Chiropractors

A recent article in Toronto Life magazine followed a woman on a visit to a “cosmetic chiropractor” – a traditionally trained chiropractor who specializes in adjustments that claim to make you look thinner or younger. While these treatments may sound innovative, they’re actually based on a very old concept: good posture.

Different treatments focus on transforming the appearance of different areas of your body. For example, the “tummy tuck” improves and regulates the tilt of the pelvis, creating the illusion of a flatter abdomen. “Anti-gravity” reduces slouching, and the “face lift” reduces puffiness and inflammation of the face.

The Verdict: No Scientifically Confirmed Benefit
Standing taller can be slimming, but there’s no real science behind the concept of cosmetic chiropractic treatments. Unlike a real facelift, which can improve your face permanently according to Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Richard Rival, the results of a chiropractic “face lift” are rather short-lived. And at nearly $300 per session, it’s not exactly a risk-free investment, either. But if you feel like splurging before a special event or just think your posture could use a tune-up, this innovation may be fun to try.


Cosmetic Acupuncture

This ancient technique of strategically inserting very fine needles into the skin has long been revered for its therapeutic properties, and adherents say it helps treat everything from headaches to restless leg syndrome. Cosmetic acupuncture uses the technique to encourage the body to smooth out wrinkles and bring out a naturally youthful appearance.

The Verdict: Worth a Try
Acupuncture’s fine needles create virtually no pain, but still manage to trigger the skin’s built-in defenses by piercing the top layer. This increases blood flow and kickstarts collagen production in the face. Wrinkles are temporarily smoothed and loose skin can contract, creating a lifted, tighter appearance. Because of this benefit, many people are drawn to cosmetic acupuncture as a chemical-free alternative to BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers.

Facelift in a _______

Whether it comes in a tube, bottle, vial, or jar, topical “instant facelift” products are hot sellers in drugstores and regulars on late-night infomercials. Many of these products use special polymers and other ingredients to temporarily tighten skin, not unlike what a shaping undergarment does for a belly pooch.

The Verdict: Read Carefully
These products generally provide noticeable effects — for a few hours. Their chemical composition often causes them to flake away when a wearer smiles, squints, or otherwise moves her face.

Plenty of topical products using proven anti-aging ingredients, such as peptides and hyaluronic acid, exist — but their results are far from “instant” and simply can’t serve as a substitute for the real results of surgery.