Everything you need to know about thread lifts, the hectic-looking procedure celebs swear by.

In 2015, Goop guru Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines when she endorsed a controversial facial cosmetic procedure: the 'thread lift'. Surgeons all around the world warned about poor techniques and serious and very common side effects associated with the treatment, like scarring and spitting sutures (where a stich breaks through the surface of the skin) - all things that sound utterly terrifying.

So, like Paltrow's sex dust, vaginal steaming and questionable Christmas gift guides, we categorised the whole 'thread lift' thing as just another one of her weird, eye-wateringly expensive health and beauty trends (can you blame us, though?). 

Watch: Ever wondered what your orgasm, erm... smells like? Gwyneth Paltrow knows. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Fast forward to 2020, and with advances in surgical techniques and technology, this non-surgical cosmetic procedure has exploded. 

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists have reported this is one of the most popular treatment requests from their celebrity clients - Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, even spoke candidly in an interview with Femail on how she prefers thread lifts over injectables. Sorry for ever doubting you, Gwenny P!

Earlier this week, Eva Mendes also shared that she's a fan of the non-surgical cosmetic procedure by posting a photo of her face, mid-thread lift. 

And it was... horrifying.


Looks like something straight outta Saw, no?

In her caption she wrote, "This spa-home away from home is incredible! No office with bad fluorescent lighting. No sterile office vibe. This is my go to for all things beauty. A home where you can relax while being tortured by the best of the best. This is my happy place! Here I am getting some Mono-Threads. Ayyyy Dios! I’ll update you with results if you care."

Um, we care!

Listen: Is a thread lift as scary as it sounds? Listen to this episode of You Beauty, where Leigh and Kelly discuss this non-invasive alternative to injectables. Post continues below.

Here's a handy breakdown on everything you need to know about the popular thread lift procedure, including what's involved and how long it lasts.

What is a thread lift?

Basically, a thread lift is the closest non-surgical alterative to a surgical facelift. It involves shorter downtime, almost immediate results and fewer risks. It's an in-clinic treatment that involves no cutting or incisions per se - so it's minimally invasive.

The procedure involves inserting medical-grade sterile threads into the skin via the end of a needle. There threads work in two ways. 

Firstly, the threads integrate into the skin’s tissue and are pulled to produce a lifting effect. 

Once these threads are in position, your body's healing response is triggered. Meaning? The body generates new collagen around each thread over time, firming the appearance of the skin and maintaining the lifting effect.


These threads are dissolvable and sometimes involve a special anchoring technique, for lifting and re-positioning. However, there are a few different types of thread lifts (for example, the one Mendes posted about is called a 'mono-thread' - which focus on tightening rather than lifting the skin), so the technique used will usually depend on your individual concerns. 

Just to be clear, though - thread lifts have been around for yonks (like, over 20 years) - so this isn't necessarily a new procedure. It's just kinda bounced back in popularity due to new techniques and celebrities discussing it.

Why do people get thread lifts?

In case you haven't noticed (good for you!), as we get older our face changes. Our overall facial balance and symmetry, along with the texture and quality of our skin, isn't exactly what it used to be. You might start to notice things like sagging skin and less volume around your cheeks and eyes.

So, yeah - this procedure is pretty much designed to tighten or elevate the face and redefine these facial contours, leaving your with a more youthful appearance. 

The procedure can be used anywhere on the face, but the main areas it targets are sagging skin around the brows, cheeks, jawline and sometimes the neck.

What's involved in a thread lift procedure?

A thread lift procedure isn't something you can just waltz in and have done (remember it's an actual medical procedure with serious risks and complications). 

Usually you will have a consultation on your first visit, where the doctor will take a thorough look at your medical history and examine your areas of concern. After discussing complications and risks, the doctor will then determine if you are suitable for a thread lift procedure.

If you do move ahead, on the day of the procedure, your face will be cleaned and marked and a topical anaesthetic will be applied. Local anaesthetic might also be used.

In terms of what goes on in the actual procedure, basically tiny injections are made into the skin with very fine needles (the size of a dot) and threads are then looped to the sagging soft tissues that support the face and neck. This works to lift and anchor the facial tissue. 

Sounds 10/10 horrifying, but all up it generally takes around one hour to perform. Patients can usually return home within one to two hours post-procedure.

Are there any side effects with thread lifts?

While a thread lift is considered fairly low risk, like all medical procedures it is associated with side effects and there are risks of serious complications.


Some common side effects includes temporary bruising, swelling, rippling or puckering of the skin. However, these typically resolve within two weeks post-treatment. 

More serious side effects include infection, nerve damage, facial asymmetry, keloid scarring, thread breakage or formation of nodules.

What kinds of results will you see after a thread lift?

In terms of results, you'll usually notice an immediate lifting effect after the procedure. This will continue to improve over the course of the next three to six months, as the production of collagen contracts around each thread and causes further lifting. The results should look pretty subtle and natural, though - so you shouldn't need to worry about looking too 'done'.

Important tip: As with most procedures, results often come down to the experience and technique of the professional performing the procedure. While thread lifts may be a common procedure, it is SO important that you do your research and make sure you're seeing someone who is fully qualified. Don't go to a dodgy clinic because they have a 'sale'. Please.

How long do thread lifts last?

A thread lift won't give you the same results as a facelift, so it's important to be realistic. 

Thread lifts are also not permanent. The longevity of the treatment depends on a few different factors - including the type of threads used, the experience of the practitioner, the laxity of the skin and how many threads are actually used. 

On average, thread lifts tend to dissolve anywhere between nine to 12 months. However, the actual collagen rejuvenation side of things can provide ongoing rejuvenation, helping to prevent future sagging and the formation of new wrinkles.  

To make results last longer, you'll need to undergo maintenance treatments. Your practitioner will be able to give you the lowdown on this.

Who is a good candidate for a thread lift?

Wondering if this is a suitable procedure for you?

If you're noticing mild-to-moderate facial sagging, but you're pretty good in the whole skin tone department, you could be a good candidate. 

But as we mentioned before - your doctor will be able to examine your face during your consultation and will discuss if a thread lift procedure is suitable for you.

Feature image: @gwynethpaltrow@evamendes

Have you heard of the thread lift procedure? Would you try it? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.