If I stop tomorrow with cosmetic medical treatments…
Fearful images of loose, saggy, wrinkled skin, sunken cheek hollows and droopy eyelids flash through my mind. But wait, that would be the result if I had never had all those treatments over the years, not so? Hmmmm, now I wonder if after all those years of effort and dedication, what if I just stopped and had no more? Would everything just fall apart, and would I be worse off?
Let’s explore this burning question. In the early days of facial filler injections, around 2002 we had the idea that HA fillers were very temporary, and that the product was metabolized within months and would require re-treatment often. Now if that was true, then we would expect tissue to be stretched by the filler and when worn off, cause the tissue to collapse and be loose and wrinkly in the aftermath and make the patient look worse?
Then some studies emerged that showed evidence for the fillers to have a collagen growth stimulatory effect. This would mean that the tissues exposed to the filler would grow firmer, stronger, and fuller! In clinical practice it soon became obvious that the fillers were lasting longer than expected and that there seemed to be an accumulative effect with re-treatment. MRI scans were performed in studies to reveal HA fillers present in tissues even years after treatment. Histologically, tissues were healthier, with more cells and collagen than before treatment. The effect is true and synergistic with skin tightening, laser, light, needling and other treatments for skin rejuvenation.
With regular follow up and with photos tracking results over many years, it was clear that patients were looking more youthful, their skin healthier, but when treated appropriately, with a completely natural appearance. In 2016 I presented a case study at a conference in Spain of a patient in my practice that I had followed for a period of 13 years, having regular small touchups with fillers and other treatments. She was obviously older, but appeared more youthful, softer, and vibrant than before treatment was initiated. Today, those examples are plentiful.
The age of regenerative medicine is upon us. Now Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments take this rejuvenating effect to the next level and the next new approach is with Exosomes, vesicles taken from stem cells to signal repair and rejuvenation. In some parts of the world, stem cell treatment is taking off at an astounding rate. Soon, there will be no reason for anyone to appear drawn and haggard as they age.
Little did we know, even right from the beginning, with the first filler treatments this effect was already present to some extent. The simple answer, therefore, to this burning question if we would somehow fall apart, if we decide to stop doing any further treatments, is no. Your tissues have repaired and returned to a more youthful state. Of course, we cannot stop the march of time and we would gradually continue to age once eventually the influence of the injectable treatments wear off, but essentially in a sense the clock was stopped, we’ve bought ourselves some time and fortunately there is no fast reverse back to square one!