A Word On Aging
As we age, we begin to lose the collagen and underlying fat that gives our faces that youthful look. As a result, our cheeks and eyes begin to appear more hollow, or sunken. Wrinkles begin to appear; as do laugh lines, crow’s feet and nasolabial folds (deep lines that start at the outer edges of your nose, and extend down to your mouth). Acne scars and other imperfections may also become more pronounced.
As we begin to notice these signs of aging, we often wonder if there’s anything we can do about them. Many people turn to surgery, in an attempt to reverse the appearance of aging. They undergo facelifts and other painful cosmetic procedures, which require long periods of recovery time. Those who are unwilling, or unable to afford these procedures, or the associated down time, are left to wonder what options are available to them.
The Liquid Facelift
Dermal fillers by Sheridan France are a less expensive, often painless alternative to cosmetic surgery. Also called the “liquid facelift”, dermal fillers are very popular in Hollywood, for their quick results with little or no down time. An injection, or sometimes a series of them, into the targeted area are typically all that is required to achieve quick and lasting results.
Restylane is made from hyaluronic acid, from bacteria. Typically used for moderate wrinkles and facial lines, as well as lip augmentation; Restylane requires only one treatment. The results usually last about a year, but it is often paired with Botox, to achieve longer lasting results.
Juvederm is another hyaluronic acid based filler. It is most often used to smooth out severe wrinkles and facial lines, but is available in different strengths. These other versions are great for lifting and volumizing the face, to add more contour. On average, results achieved with Juvederm last for six months to a year; but may be shorter lived when used for lip augmentation.
Radiesse is a calcium based product that offers both immediate and long lasting results. When injected into the targeted area, the calcium “microspheres” smooth out nasolabial folds, laugh lines, and wrinkles. To maintain longer lasting results, it also promotes new tissue growth, and collagen production. Radiesse is also often used to fill in sunken cheeks and eyes, and for lip augmentation; with results lasting two or more years.
Artefill holds the distinction of being the only FDA approved injectable dermal filler that is non-reabsorbable. Comprised of polymethylmethacrylate microspheres, purified bovine collagen gel and a 0.3% lidocaine (an anesthetic) solution, Artefill is primarily used to correct smile lines and wrinkles; and with a lifespan of more than ten years, the results are considered to be permanent. Because the results are permanent, doctors tend to use caution in treating with Artefill. Usually two or three treatments are scheduled, depending on the depth of the lines or wrinkles being treated. This is to insure that they do not over fill the area.
Because it contains animal products, an allergy test is required; usually four to six weeks prior to your first treatment. The test is typically done in the physician’s office, by injecting a small amount of the product just below the skin on the forearm.
Microlipoinjections or Autologous Fat Transfer has reportedly been around since about 1893. This involves the harvesting of your own fat (usually from the belly, thighs, or knees), after which it is cleansed, purified and injected into the area that is to be repaired. Since it is your own tissue, there is no risk of rejection or allergic reaction.
There is, however, a large percentage of re-absorption. For this reason, doctors will usually over fill the affected area, which often leaves an unnatural, over plumped appearance for a week or so. The efficacy of microlipoinjections is usually about six to twelve months, but has been known to last as many as eight years in some instances.
The cost involved varies widely depending on which filler you choose, and the number of treatments required to achieve your desired result. By and large, the more costly treatments are the longer lasting synthetic fillers, and the most affordable is the microlipoinjection option.
There Is Always Risk
As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved. They range from allergic reactions and hypersensitivity, to infection and, in some cases, disfiguration. You should always ask questions of your physician, and take nothing for granted. Remember, there are unlicensed “doctors” out there, trying to make a buck at your expense. Make sure your practitioner is a licensed professional, and ask for references!