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How to Know If You’re a Candidate for Surgical Face Lift or A Liquid Face Lift?

“The only time you notice Botox, fillers, or facelifts is when they’re not done well.” Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, oculofacial plastic surgeon, aesthetic medicine specialist and founder of Brooklyn Face & Eye, told me during my office visit for a liquid lift. Dr. Jeanniton and I have been working on a year-long protocol to refresh and rejuvenate my complexion and skin texture.

Today was my second visit. We were getting into the depth of cosmetic procedures, which, unlike a haircut, are much more individual affairs. Just because you heard about it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. “Well-executed cosmetic treatments or surgeries should not be obvious to the naked eye,” she continued. “Not everyone is a candidate for a liquid face lift in the same way that not everyone is a candidate for a surgical face lift.”

But what if I don’t know what I’m an actual candidate for? Is there a way to sample it first I wondered… Was it possible to “try on” a surgical face lift by approximating the results with a liquid lift first? Apparently, that’s where the trouble can start says Dr. Jeanniton.

“Doing something in-office as a stop gap for someone whose muscular facial structure is beyond a liquid lift can create sub-par easily detectable results.” Dr. Jeanniton explained to me that when skin becomes very lax, it requires a lot of fillers. She said that “the patient gets what I call ‘pillow face'. It's where their face loses its natural shape and takes on a bit of an overstuffed lumpy pillow effect.”

Scanning my face with her expert eye, the doctor pronounced, “You’re a great candidate for a liquid lift because you have great elasticity to your skin and not much redundant skin. If you were to have significant sagging of your face or neck, I’d be wasting your time with a liquid lift. In that situation, you’d be better served with a surgical facelift so you can get more robust lifting and tightening.”

I’ve been almost as afraid of filler as I am of surgery, so I wasn’t sure if I liquid lift was for me either. Sensing this, Dr. Jeanniton suggested a “Multi-modal approach to lift your neck jawline cheeks and forehead.”

What are we talking about here? Following the good doctor’s advice, we began with a gentle 15-minute laser skin resurfacing treatment called Clear + Brilliant. It's designed to not only to tighten and reduce fine lines, but also to make the skin more receptive to absorbing skincare products. I’d already taken the filler plunge on my first visit to Dr. Jeanniton, so more of a good thing in the right hands couldn’t hurt right?

Next up, was a touch more Juvederm and Restylane along the zygomatic bones of my cheeks. It creates volume due to fat and bone loss associated with aging. That is followed by mesotherapy and strategic Botox to bolster both skin texture and muscle tone.

Deep parenthesis-shaped lines on my cheeks, which appear as reliably now as a receding tide leaves ripples in the sand at the shore, have made it more difficult for me to find good angles for my face during beauty shoots. It may sound like a small thing, but in my business millimeters can literally mean millions.

To remedy the roll-top desk effect on my cheeks Dr. Jeanniton suggested mesotherapy. Mesotherapy is a treatment method of injecting a tincture of Restylane and Botox, mixed by the physician in-office. It creates a kind of scaffolding beneath the dermis, targeted to amplify the tensile strength of facial skin.

Mesotherapy, more commonly used in Europe than the U.S., can help lift and smooth the flesh covering the jowls and cheekbones. Mesotherapy is like miraculously silky strands of Play-Dough. Once injected by the doctor, the patient has to lift and hold the lower facial muscles into place for about a minute. And then... as fast as you can say “Spanx” you’ve got lift!

Thankfully, the walls of the cheeks are thick, so the 4 or 5 injections it took on either side of the face to accomplish this feat of facial reconstruction weren’t too painful. The injection that did hurt like a bee sting was a separate Botox shot into the hinge of the jaw, aimed at lifting both the neck and jawline, but the momentary pain paid off in spades both visually and in wonderfully unexpected ways too.

This particular treatment caused me to stop gritting my teeth during the day and grinding my teeth at night; two unconscious stress behaviors I have, which sometimes put so much pressure on my back teeth that I’ve been known to go running to the dentist because I mistake the resulting soreness in my jaw for the onset of cavities. I was glad to kiss both night grinding and sore teeth goodbye. Within an hour, I could see Dr. Jeanniton’s “multi-modal” treatments begin to blossom across my face, unfolding in ways which were making my skin on my face and neck appear plumper more supple. My cheekbones and jaw structure looked stronger and more chiseled.

The most important thing I took away from yet another expert advice session with Dr. Jeanniton was that there are OPTIONS and they are individual to your own needs - using a variety of modalities - whether laser and filler or otherwise, might sound like a lot, but it’s often the opposite. Think of it more so as getting just enough of the right ingredients, and most importantly, with nothing overdone.

Lift off! Dr. Jeanniton performing the eyebrow lift procedure

The cherry on top, of all the procedures, was the liquid eyebrow lift performed courtesy of Dr. Jeanniton’s magic needle containing a little Botox. “Maybe it’s because I live in Brooklyn that I think the most sophisticated eyebrow lift is not high pointy arches, but when the tail of the eyebrow is subtly lifted,” the doctor said coaxing my eyebrow with her hand into its suggested new shape. The needle went along my brow in a series of short pricks like a hungry bird pecking at and picking up seeds. An hour later, my brows gently soared to their elegant new shape resembling a bird’s wings gliding easily on a breeze.

Dr. Jeanniton post my multi-modal procedures at Brooklyn Face and Eye

Besides a general all over redness from the Clear and Brilliant laser and barely visible pinpricks near the injection sites, there was literally no more than 24 hours of noticeable healing. It was all was easily camouflaged with a little BB cream. Then, a week later things started to move a little.

My instant, nearly ideal, results gave way to lines and wrinkles in the parts of my face that I hadn’t noticed before. One long deep horizontal line appeared under my right eye. I called Dr. Jeanniton who urged me to come in right away to address the issue, but my calmer nature prevailed. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. “Effortless is bullshit”. Everything has its price and one crease during healing was a small price to pay.

I’ve taken friends to get surgical facelifts and watched the twists and turns of the healing process over a period of almost six months where their faces looked great one day, then the next day like a mask pulled too tightly before things finally settled in the right place. Waiting it out was my best option. I decided instead to go back to the doctor to add onto or maybe reverse the procedures. It can be done in minutes by injecting antidotes to Botox or fillers.

Me with some makeup on 24 hours later!

Post liquid lift, I had a few days where I felt a little self-conscious about the way my face was shifting. Sometimes one eyebrow would be slightly higher than the other. I'm super sensitive to this stuff. I told you in the beginning, even though I deal in millimeters in my business. I never had a moment when I felt like I looked unnatural or that ANYONE would be able to tell that I had had a liquid lift. One week later, I was modeling on a Paris runway for the first time in a decade. I was feeling radiant and refreshed.

It’s 2 months now, and I am 100% comfortable in my skin. How long will my liquid lift last? About 2 years, but I’m not done yet… Hyperpigmentation is the next issue on my year-long great skin agenda. Stay tuned for the latest on laser peels, 10 hours masks and more…




story x @veronicawebb

photos x @cwxcreative

skin x @bklynfaceandeye


To book an appointment with Dr. Jeanniton (718) 965-1150 or

115 Prospect Park West Brooklyn NY

If you visit Dr. Jeanniton, write and let me know about your experience.

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