How Can You Tell If You Need an Eyelift or a Browlift?

How Can You Tell If You Need an Eyelift or a Browlift?

The eye and brow areas are among the most important components of a harmonious appearance. Taut, smooth skin and balanced muscle and fat levels within the middle third of the face make for a countenance that is energetic, inviting, and—perhaps most importantly—youthful. One of the primary reasons this area so heavily influences the way we look is that the brow and eyes often have a close relationship; a brow that has not yet fallen victim to the pull of gravity will sit tightly perched over the eyes, giving the upper eyelid and its surroundings plenty of space to stretch and move, whereas a brow that has drooped with age will sag act like a visor, locking the eyes in an angry, sad, or exhausted-looking stare. The eyes can also age independently of the brow, as the upper eyelids tend to wrinkle and droop while the lower eyelids become simultaneously puffy and hollow. There are a plethora of remedies for these potential cosmetic issues, though two stand out for their dramatic and long-lasting results: the eyelift and the browlift.

On the one hand, the eyelift—also known as a blepharoplasty—directly targets the eyelids. In the case of an upper eyelift, the surgeon makes a hidden incision within the natural creases of the eyelid and removes excess skin, muscle, and fat that develop over time. Similarly, during a lower eyelift, the surgeon makes a small cut just a few millimeters below the lash line and scoops out surplus skin, muscle, and fat that create bags and deeper tear troughs. Generally, the results of an upper blepharoplasty can last anywhere between 5 and 7 years, and the results of a lower can last a lifetime.

The browlift, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on the brow and forehead areas. There are two techniques for this kind of surgery: traditional and endoscopic. During a traditional browlift, the surgeon cuts across the top of the head from one ear to the other before lifting the forehead into a more desirable position. On the endoscopic side, the surgeon makes a series of small, imperceptible cuts behind the hairline, passes through an endoscope (a thin tube about the size of a drinking straw with a camera mounted on its end), and lifts the forehead tissues in place, thereby elevating the drooping brow, flattening any forehead wrinkles, and making the eyes appear bigger. Since traditional browlifts often leave behind a significant scar and take a long time to recover from, most surgeons recommend the endoscopic technique, though in some cases, the traditional approach is best. A surgery using either method lasts 10-15 years, a much longer time than typical injectables and fillers like Botox, Restylane, and Juvéderm.

Because the eyes and brow are so interrelated, the layperson might think it impossible to tell whether an eyelift or a browlift would be the better option toward their desired facial rejuvenation. Your best course of action, obviously, is to visit a trusted plastic surgeon who can give his or her professionally informed opinion, but there is also a simple self-diagnostic technique you can use: sit in front of a mirror and lift your forehead with your fingers, just above the eyebrows; if your eyelids are now not too wrinkly or droopy, and you find that you like what you see, then you should opt for a brow lift. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied, you might consider undergoing an upper eye lift surgery, or a combination of an upper eyelid lift and a brow lift, which can provide even longer lasting and more dramatic results.

No matter what procedure a potential patient ultimately chooses, they can rest easy knowing that there are a number of reliable ways to reverse, and to stave off, some of the negative cosmetic effects of aging. And better that there are; going out into the world knowing that you look your best is a feeling like no other.