A recent article in The New York Times is shed some light on a creeping problem in North America — that is, skin problems occurring as a direct result of something which was supposed to cure and treat them. That would be silicone, the liquid kind that is injected under the folds of skin. It’s one of cosmetic medicine’s most controversial treatments, and it is escalating in use even though the FDA has not given it approval yet.
People who can afford it can go and get a treatment of liquid silicone, often to de-wrinkle the face, eliminate furrows, soften acne scars, and pump up the lips. None of these methods are approved for silicone use — especially others, such as fixing detached retinas in the eyes. Seriously.
Doctors are using silicone over other substances, such as collagen, because it’s easy to sculpt with and the effects are permanent — so patients don’t have to get a few follow-up injections every year. When a wrinkle is removed with this treatment, it is gone forever.
This explains the lure of liquid silicone. But more and more people are finding out that the $500 to $800 cost they just spent for the injections is not free of side effects. A dermatologist in Beverly Hills told the Times that “silicone is a time bomb.”
In its wake, injections can leave scarring that actually looks worse than the original problems they wanted to fix! It can also cause inflammation and reactions at the injection sight — issues that can surface many years after the treatment has been performed.
Silicone can leave bumps and grooves in the face, which can change your facial appearance. And because silicone is inorganic, once it is put in your skin, it stays there. That means that its side effects are permanent, too.
Not all people will experience side effects; actually there are few people who will. But doctors are on record saying things such as, “If, God forbid, silicone becomes widespread, and every doctor starts injecting it, then it will become a disaster.” This is because it has not demonstrated any level of safety yet, and there is no way of predicting who will react badly to the treatment.
Although it’s a small percentage of patients who face problems, nobody can really know what will happen. Hence its time-bomb status — and, as the Times put it, why it’s considered by many to be the Russian roulette of cosmetic dermatology.