Nowadays, there is no need to go under the knife to achieve a youthful look.
In recent years, the advent of ‘touch-ups’ – minor procedures that change your face without downtime or eye-popping costs – has revolutionized the aesthetics industry, popular with celebrities and high-profile figures.
But now one of America’s leading plastic surgeons has warned that the risks of said procedures are too often underestimated.
They are not necessarily safer than the surgical equivalent, and can be even more dangerous – leading to permanent facial disfigurement.
Here, plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn, a favorite on TikTok and on TV shows including Today, Good Morning America and Fox News, detailed his beauty blacklist — the treatments he would never recommend.
Some are dangerous, while others are simply a waste of money as they make no difference.
In his new book, Younger for life, he says: ‘Unfortunately, doctors perform this every day in their offices and ORs, but I would like my readers to be informed about what to avoid. Buyer beware!’
1. Fillers made with anything other than hyaluronic acid
More than 2.6 million Americans get injectable fillers in their face each year; designed to add volume to areas such as the lips and cheeks, and smooth bumps and lines in the nose.
Most are made with hyaluronic acid – an ingredient that occurs naturally in the body and is a major component of skin structure that is generally considered safe.
But Dr Youn says fillers commonly used today contain chemicals other than hyaluronic acid, some of which can be dangerous as they don’t dissolve easily.
“The most feared complication of injectable fillers is intravascular occlusion,” Dr. Youn said.
‘This is when filler is accidentally injected into a blood vessel, specifically an artery, causing that artery to become blocked.
Dr. Anthony Youn is TikTok’s favorite plastic surgeon, thanks to his holistic approach to aging
Jennifer Aniston (left) and Gwyneth Paltrow (right) are both rumored to be fans of mesotherapy – but the procedure carries a huge risk.
‘Any tissue supplied with blood by that artery can become ischemic, where there is not enough blood flow to survive. In that situation, the area can literally turn black and the tissue dies.’
It’s a rare – but terrible – complication that in some cases has caused people to lose parts of their lips, nose and even go blind.
“Hyaluronic acid fillers have a natural antidote, an enzyme called hyaluronidase,” he explains.
‘This enzyme can dissolve HA filler in as little as a handful of seconds.
“If you get an intravascular occlusion, it can reestablish the blood flow by dissolving that HA filler.”
“If the filler isn’t an HA filler, there’s no antidote and you might just be screwed.”
2. Wire lifts
Thread lifts are sold as a quick way to get the same age-defying results achieved with a full face lift.
The procedure involves lifting sagging, aging skin using temporary stitches, which tighten the face.
Although wire lifts are not ‘inherently dangerous’, they can be a total waste of money, according to Dr Youn.
The results are short-lived – only lasting between six and 12 months.
‘I don’t believe they are inherently dangerous, but they are extremely expensive for what you get,’ he says.
Thread lifts are extremely expensive and the results aren’t worth the investment, says Dr Youn – you’re better off just going for a real facelift
Dr Youn adds: ‘Doctors who perform this procedure should be honest and upfront with you (about the results), but I fear many are not.’
When it comes to bang for your buck, you’re better off going for a real facelift – which has proven results and much better longevity.
3. ‘Mealtime facelifts’
Don’t fall for this false marketing ploy, warns Dr Youn.
‘The term is usually used to describe a mini-lift which is done surgically, often under local anaesthetic. Scars are made around the ears and a small amount of skin is removed, sometimes with some muscle tension and liposuction.
‘Some doctors advertise these as revolutionary, less invasive surgeries to fool people into having them done. In reality, they are just smaller versions of what most real plastic surgeons do, with a smaller result, but often the same length of scars.’
Some people report a slight improvement, but in general this rarely results in a noticeable change. Again, there are no shortcuts and this is another occasion when just a real facelift will do.
Also known as ‘biorejuvenation’, this treatment is essentially injections of various substances, including plant extracts and multivitamins, which are said to improve the appearance of skin.
Stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne, Jennifer Aniston and Rihanna have all been reported to be fans of the procedure. Some who offer it claim it can also melt fat.
But Dr Youn describes the ingredients in the injections as ‘a witch’s brew cocktail of various caustic substances.’
He continues: ‘Each doctor injects different amounts of these different drugs.’
Worst case scenario with mesotherapy? ‘Your fat is still there, but your skin is a lumpy mess with draining sinus tracts and oozing infection’
However, the risks include lumpiness, granulomas (inflammatory nodules), infection, and skin necrosis (tissue death).
The worst case scenario? ‘Your skin is a lumpy mess with draining sinus tracts and oozing infection.
‘The only injection proven to be safe to melt fat is Kybella. Everything else – be careful of the risks.’
‘In this treatment, a practitioner injects carbon dioxide through a needle under the skin of the face, eyelids or other areas. The belief is that the CO2 will bring the body more oxygen to the area, which will improve the appearance,’ says Dr Youn.
People have claimed all sorts of benefits, including reducing eye bags, tightening skin, improving cellulite, and removing wrinkles—all of which are completely unproven, Dr. Youn says.
“While the procedure appears to be safe, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to show it works or does anything except make your wallet smaller.”
Dr Youn believes Meg Ryan may have had lip implants – but insists no patient who has had this procedure has consistently passed the kiss test
Lisa Rinna (57), star of The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, admitted that she had silicone implants in her lips, before finally deciding to remove them.
6. Lip implants
‘Lip implants can be made from various materials, ranging from silicone rubber to silicone filled with saline to even cadaver skin. However, all of them give you the same result – tight looking lips.’
The lips, he says, are some of the softest tissues on the body, and no implant has ever been able to consistently pass the Kiss Test – when you pucker and it feels like the real thing.
‘It feels like kissing a spare tire. The best ways to enhance the lips are injectable fillers, fat injections, or the Botox lip flip.’ The latter is when Botox is injected just above the upper lip, which relaxes the muscles and makes the lip appear fuller.
He points to Real Housewives star Lisa Rinna, who admitted that she had lip implants a long time ago before they removed them.
And adds: ‘Although not confirmed, I believe Meg Ryan may have had lip implants as well (I’m not her doctor).’
8. Hyaluron pen
This at-home lip-plumping device could be the fastest way to get lumpy or scarred lips, the doctor warns.
‘The hyaluron pen is a hand-held device that uses pressurized air to push medication into the body, such as lip filler.’
‘The problem is that it’s not very accurate in placement as it pushes this substance under pressure with a burst of air. There is also no control over how deep the filler goes, so in certain cases you can get lumpy lips, and in other cases you can get intravascular occlusion and a dead lip.’
Younger for life: Feel good and look your best with the new science of auto-rejuvenation by Anthony Youn is published by Hanover Square Press