Should You or Shouldn't You?
Top docs debate the pros and cons of popular anti-aging treatments
The Pros: "If you have nasolabial folds or marionette lines, injecting hyaluronic acid filler can instantly smooth them out and build collagen over time," says New York dermatologist Marina Peredo. (It takes anywhere from three to six months to stimulate collagen production.) This one-two punch has led to the staggering popularity of hyaluronic acid (HA) injectables. (Restylane and Juvéderm, brand-name HAs, are the filler faves, notes Peredo.) Docs now place fillers at the periphery of the face, too, with the goal of subtle lifting. "A little deposited into hollowed temples will pull laterally and smooth creases," says Peredo.
The Cons: The potential flipside of fillers isn't so pretty. Injecting an excess of filler too frequently can lead to permanent deformities, cautions Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Brian Novack. "HA fillers cause a great deal of inflammation and, yes, they cause collagen production, but this also translates to scarring after repeated injections, because the body is essentially trying to wall off the foreign substance," he explains. "The result can be pockets of filler surrounded by scar tissue, which looks lumpy as skin thins over time." HA fillers can also cause a bluish tint beneath the skin—called the Tyndall effect—when products are not injected deeply enough.
The Bottom Line: HA fillers should be used very judiciously—once a year is a good guideline—and injected by a well-vetted dermatologist. Cost for fillers can vary widely—from $500 to $1,000 per treatment. More experienced derms tend to charge more, but it's a cost that's well worth it. (And to avoid the Tyndall effect, consider Belotero, a newer formulation that makers say won't cause a bluish tint beneath skin.)