What is the best way to achieve a naturally youthful look and avoid the wind-tunnel effect of a 1980s facelift or the frozen foreheads and overstuffed 'pillow faces' of today?
The first step is to address the obvious lifestyle factors that speed up the ageing process, such as smoking, drinking, sun damage and poor diet. But beyond this, it might be time to reassess what makes us look older in the first place, says Dr Catherine Stone from Auckland's The Face Place, who suggests that facial shape and contours are the first thing our subconscious brain picks up - not, in fact, our lines and wrinkles.
"An eye-tracking study has shown that we first look at another person's eyes and lips, and then their facial shape, which helps us determine their age," she says. "This process happens subconsciously in a matter of milliseconds, and so improving facial shape plays a significant role in helping you look fresher and more youthful."
At The Face Place, Dr Stone offers a procedure called The 8 Point Lift - a technique for restoring volume in eight strategic areas, giving maximum lift and support while using a relatively small amount of dermal filler for a natural look.
"This technique is ideal for anyone who is starting to notice some skin laxity," she says. "This could include skin sagging or face 'dropping', a tired-looking under-eye area, or jowls forming along the jawline."
The procedure involves filler being injected into eight areas, including the cheek bones to subtly plump them up, the midface to reduce the appearance of hollows under the eyes, the nasolabial folds, and the corners of the mouth.
"The downturning of the mouth with age gives a 'down frown' that can make us look sad or bitter," says Dr Stone. "Creating some support with dermal filler not only lifts the face, but it makes you look happier too."
As we age, we lose the squareness or angle of the jaw, which helps to lift and support the lower face, so the lower face starts to fall forward, contributing to jowls and sagging. "Replacing volume in the hollow along the jawline can help to reduce or improve jowls," says Dr Stone.
Finally, treating the buccal area below the cheek bones helps improve the natural curve and structure of the cheek and avoid a gaunt look.
Prices vary depending on how much lifting you need, but expect to pay between $950 and $2,400. Results are instant with minimal discomfort and downtime and can last up to two years.