Monday, January 29, 2007
Injecting your way to a younger face
Watching Dr. Lisa Airan, cosmetic dermatologist to New York's glamourotti transform a 40-something single mom into a 30ish-looking woman with a few pricks of a needle, I'm thinking, injectable facial fillers look as easy as hitting a "refresh button" on your face.
For the uninitiated, facelifts lift, lasers sand, Botox relaxes, and injectible facial fillers plump up wrinkles and folds.
Face work no longer requires extended periods behind dark glasses. Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are skyrocketing: 8.4 million people in the United States had this type of work done in 2005.
While Botox remains the most popular minimally invasive procedure, facial fillers are elbowing their way in: Restylane remains the dominant player, but enter a crop of recently FDA- approved fillers: among them, Juvederm, Radiesse, and Artefill.
Users find the immediate gratification and few side effects (bruising and swelling) attractive. But fillers can be expensive: hundreds of dollars per syringe - several times a year. As Dr. Alan Matarasso, spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons points out, annually, a face-full of fillers may be comparable to facelift in terms of cost.
Artefill is billed as the first permanent filler, and may alleviate wallet and needle fatigue. Experts warn, Artefill is not a great choice as a first-time filler, and it's not approved for lips.
Also be careful about who's plumping your face. There's an aesthetic involved - and more isn't necessarily better. Fillers aren't insurance reimburseable, and even dentists are getting into the act. Dr. Matarasso says lips are the biggest offender in terms of looking "overdone."
Are fillers really safe? It's "buyer beware" according to Dr. Matarasso, who notes that no long-term studies support safety claims.
Finally, less into needles, more into natural? Key factors for face preservers: avoid weight fluctuations and the sun. Not as dramatic as hitting the "refresh button" - but it works for me.
Do you have facial fillers, or are you considering them? Tell us your stories.
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