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  1. Take prevention seriously. Start protecting your skin early from daily sun exposure, by wearing sunscreen every day. Don’t tan. Don’t smoke. Use a retinoid, antioxidant, peptides and an alpha hydroxy acid daily. It’s never too late to start.
  2. Non-invasive skin tightening procedures like Thermage work best on mild to moderate skin sagging. Start these procedures early and plan to do them intermittently every couple of years to tighten and slow down sagging. Don’t wait until you have pronounced sagging.
  3. Dermal fillers like Juvederm and stimulatory fillers like Sculptra not only make you look better today, they actually provide the right environment for your skin to manufacture additional collagen. Don’t put it off when you start to see early loosening of the skin.
  4. Take care of your teeth. You need them. Loss of teeth leads to loss of facial bone structure, accelerating sagging. Do everything you can to avoid having teeth pulled and dentures placed.
  5. If you are thinking about surgical tightening procedures like a facelift, choose your plastic surgeon carefully. Opt for structured formal training in plastic surgery, certification in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and experience over glossy ads, media coverage, and smooth bedside manner. Be cautious about internet reviews; some glowing reviews are planted by the physician, and some bad reviews are planted by a competitor. Get recommendations from friends who have used the surgeon, and from trusted physicians and nurses. Be a little careful with taking all referrals at face value, sometimes the physician you ask is a personal friend of the surgeon. Plastic surgeons often give nurses a professional discount, which could cloud their judgment. Ask multiple people. Get second opinions.
  6. This goes for cosmetic dermatologists too. They should be certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in Dermatology. Get personal recommendations from people you trust who have used them.
  7. Don’t get set on having a specific procedure based on something you read on the internet or saw on a TV show. If you have done your homework, your cosmetic dermatologist or plastic surgeon is very experienced in evaluating your face, your medical condition and your desires and deciding which particular procedure is best for you. Be specific in what kind of results you want, how much money you can spend, how much recovery time you can afford. Then let the surgeon guide you in which procedure is right for you. If you don’t feel the physician is the right fit, get a second opinion.
  8. Follow your plastic surgeons instructions. Be truthful about your medical history. Don’t lie about smoking. Don’t agree to quit, then sneak “just a couple” while you are recovering from a facelift. If you are having problems after surgery, insist on being seen. Good plastic surgeons will want to see you. They don’t like complications either.
  9. Aim for a natural, but rejuvenated look. You are never going to be 28 again, or look like the photo you brought in of yourself at 28. Get over it. Be realistic.
  10. Know in advance that your definition of “recovery time” after surgery and the surgeons is the same. Ask specifically when you can expect to be there. There is a difference between “most of the bruising and swelling will be gone” and “no one will know I have had surgery”. Ask for a specific time frame. Then double it and plan accordingly.

Bonus Tip: Don’t decide on an invasive surgical procedure based on an infomercial.

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