Do Fillers Actually Make You Look Older?

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Living in L.A. for the past two decades, I've become immune to many a visual WTF. Post-rhinoplasty teens with bandaged noses and bruised eyes cruising $5,000 bags at Barneys no longer shock. Prides of taut moms with the exact same shade of buttery highlights and identical plump pouts don't raise a brow. Even matrons with pulled-taffy faces and staple scars behind their ears barely move me. But lately, I've noticed a phenomenon far subtler than these, and yet more disturbing: young women, sometimes very young, their lips suspiciously full, cheekbones hyper-defined, skin seemingly airbrushed, like filtered selfies come to life.
Now, I'm no crusader against cosmetic fairy dust. My inaugural Botox injections, at age 33, erased the two exclamation points between my eyebrows. (I noticed them one afternoon in my rearview mirror at a traffic light and actually rubbed at them with a wet thumb as if they were smudges.) But on the day I got those shots, that was all I got; I left the doctor's office with my laugh lines and the faint crinkles around my eyes intact.
These days, however, a subtle tweak equals a missed opportunity, at least among a certain demographic. And dermatological weapons that originated to replace lost facial fat and smooth lined skin—i.e., to address aging—are augmenting faces that haven't had a chance to age at all or, in some cases, even to mature. New York City–based dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, says that women barely past college age have begun to come in with a laundry list. "They want these cheekbones. They want those lips. That chin. We're living in a world of immediate gratification," he says. "I tell them, 'You don't have to do everything at once.'" L.A. derm Jessica Wu, MD, sees a fixation with every line: "It used to be people waited until their thirties, forties, and fifties to treat smile lines or crow's-feet. Now it seems like filler is an accessory."
But as I stare (and stare) at these creatures— many of whom have undoubtedly been rendered lusher, more symmetrical, more empirically beautiful by such fixes—I wonder: Are these toxins and fillers actually doing the opposite of what their users hope and making young women look years older? What is the long game for a woman who started customizing her features in her twenties? What will "youthful" look like in her forties and beyond?
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