I know what you are saying. Is there such a thing as eco-friendly cosmetic surgery? Well, no, there's not. But some procedures are better than others and I intend to cover them here. So, sit down, relax those furrowed brows and read on.
When I was down in Eugene last week, one woman who had stopped in to watch a preview of the pilot of Mission: Sustainable asked me for some suggestions about eco-friendly anti-aging products. This sweet older woman was convinced (and lamenting) that if she had stooped to using more traditional anti-aging products over the years, her face would look a lot younger. She did have a fairly heavily-lined face that made her look a lot older than she probably was and I could tell she was really troubled by it.
Because this isn't the first time people have asked me about anti-aging products, I figure it's about time I tackled the whole subject. I know we are all concerned about going green, but many are also concerned with looking younger or, at least, our age. Should environmentalists have to skip out on everything? I don't think so.
In today's post I'm going to start with the heavy hitters. And by that, I mean cosmetic procedures. I'll follow-up with a look at anti-aging skincare soon, but for older women, where anti-aging products probably aren't going to help as much in comparison, they are going to be considering something you can't get out of a box from the local store.
So, let's begin with the most popular procedures used to combat wrinkles that I think are the safest and most eco-friendly: fillers and Botox.
Fat fillers are used to plump up hollow cheeks, thin lips, an aging forehead, eyes, and scars. There is no issue with a foreign substance in your body as the fat used in the injection is taken directly from another area of your body. The fat cells are removed from the butt, stomach, or thighs, processed and purified and then injected beneath the skin into the target area.
Fat fillers never result in a 100% improvement and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. Since transplanted fat cells die without a blood supply within 3 - 4 days and since it takes 3 - 4 days until the first capillaries reach the injected fat cells, the "take" of fat cells isn't guaranteed. Some survive but most of them don't and are reabsorbed in the body.
So, if you are looking for long-term results, this procedure may work for you, but it also may just result in very short-term results as well. The best thing about it is you are experiencing the ultimate in recycling. You are basically just taking the fat you don't want out of one area and moving it to an area where you do want it. As we age, we lose fat in our faces, which makes us look older. Replacing that fat restores a more youthful look. Not quite back to the baby fat stage though no matter how much junk you have in your trunk to share!
Dermal fillers are administered by a physician (preferably a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic or plastic surgeon). If you are interested in a filler to plump up lines, go with a temporary filler that is collagen based. Collagen injections can help erase frown lines, crow's feet and nasolabial folds or smile lines. It's also great for smoothing out scars.
Please stay away from the silicone or synthetic based fillers. Some synthetics are even designed to be more long-term, so if you don't like the results, you are stuck with them for a while or you can have them reversed by another procedure that essentially dissolves the material out.
You can go for a human-based or an animal-based collagen filler. Collagen fillers last for four or more months and the more you get it done, the longer it lasts as more and more of the collagen remains. There is a trade off if you choose an animal-based collagen filler because they have the risk of allergy associated with them. But, if you don't have an allergy, there should be little risk otherwise.
I can't say the same for synthetics like ArteFill, made from PMMA, a type of plastic. The reason why people choose a non-collagen filler (like ArteFill) is because they last longer. You are saving money over the long-term, but at what potential risk? They are FDA approved, but I'm not sure I would want an artificial substance injected into my face.
I still don't know what to make of Sculptra, another synthetic (but "biocompatible" whatever that means), and hyaluronic acid-based fillers like Restylane and Juvederm. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide (carbohydrate) that exists in human tissue, but I don't know how it is produced for these products and what the long-term issues of having in injected into your face are. Finally, there are some claims that the hyaluronic acid based fillers can trigger auto-immune diseases.
And, please. No collagen injections in your lips. Nobody looks good with that shit. I'm talking to you, Nicole Kidman.
Botox is the number one cosmetic procedure in the United States and is used as an anti-wrinkle treatment for crow's feet, frown lines, and to eliminate furrows in the forehead. It works by paralyzing facial muscles. Since it is a neurotoxin, there is a risk of it spreading beyond the treatment site and there is risk of losing some facial expressions if over-administered. I'm talking to you, Nicole Kidman. But, the effects last 4 - 6 months, so it, too, lasts only for the short-term.
Is Botox eco-friendly? Well, no medical procedure is eco-friendly since there is petroleum and plastic involved in the manufacture of the product and the syringe and a whole host of other things. But, Botox can be argued to be 'natural' in that it is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Think of it as a bad canning job injected in your face. What's more natural than that?
Now, before y'all get your panties in a knot, I'm not suggesting you run out and pump your faces full of fat, collagen and Botulism. But, since I've been asked a number of times about anti-aging products and the like, it's better to know what your options are then not.
What about you? Have you ever considered fillers or Botox? If not, what's your opinion about the popularity of these procedures?