Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2012

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Page 36 of 51

patients that LASIK (a surgical procedure where the shape of the cornea is changed to improve vision) is not a good choice over contacts or glasses for someone who is risk averse. The procedure, while adored by many, can leave patients blurry, in pain and in some cases blind. Ironically, even contact lens solu- tions can carry high risk. Bausch & Lomb's FDA Class II-desig- nated medical device "ReNu with MoistureLoc" was recalled in 2006 for causing fungal infections and blindness. The FDA states that known risks of commonly-used wrin- And the FDA agrees. Its website includes a warning to kle fillers, such as Restylane and Juvederm, include bruising, pain and rashes, and in rarer cases, raised bumps under the skin, open wounds, allergic reactions and even necrosis (tissue death). In addition, if you've ever had a cold sore (caused by one of the strains of the herpes virus), these fillers can reactivate the dormant virus and cause a new outbreak. Botox, which gets doled out like Tupperware in living rooms and kitchens, can have some extremely worrisome effects: blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids, hoarseness, trouble breathing and difficulty swallowing. In addition, studies conducted on rats in 2008 showed that botulinum toxin migrated to their brains and impaired memory, prompting the FDA to post warnings that Botox can spread from its injection site. One Botox user who asked not to be named told me she suffers memory loss in the days following each Botox injection. She said she's so happy with her smooth skin that she's willing to forget where she put her keys a few times a year. I found similar comments on Internet discussion boards, but so far there is no scientific evidence to support any of these claims beyond the studies performed on rats. Although there are potential side effects no matter what the conditions of treatment, Alster noted that the medical risks of Botox and other injectables are dramatically reduced if trained doctors in sterile environments administer the treatments. Beware the Botox home party, but know, too, that professional administration is no guarantee against all potential side effects. As much as my vanity-driven mind wants me to shoot filler ing gobs of money on my skin-care habit. Fully expecting her to guffaw, she instead told me I'm treating my skin well. The creams aren't going to fill in the canyons, but with the right products, she said, fine lines and wrinkles can be smoothed away— if started at an early enough age. Thirties would be ideal, Alster added, but at 40, I can still preserve a good bit of my youthfulness. It looks like I'll be making another shopping run this week. into my nasolabial folds, after this research my gut still screams No! What if I'm that extremely rare individual who has an aller- gic reaction or my tissue becomes necrotic? What if we find out 50 years from now that the injections turn skin fuchsia? What if I look like a duck? Clearly the FDA will not be recommending too many elective medical devices to me. So I asked Dr. Alster if she thought I was insane for spend- Luckily I gave my husband a couple of skin-care samples to try. Instead of holding an intervention to get me to put down the vitamin C gel, he'll be placing an order of his own. n August/September 2012 37

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