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The War Against Time

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The beauty industry’s never-ending battle against aging is now focused on gauntness. After fat (harvested from our own bodies), collagen, and Restylane, the latest filler is Sculptra, a synthetic compound long used in suture material and various implants. Approved by the FDA last year for use in aids patients with hollow-cheeked facial lipoatrophy, it’s now being injected off-label as a facial plumper. Sculptra is said to stimulate your body’s own collagen production, and is usually used on typical dips and valleys like the “marionette” lines outside the mouth, but unlike many previous injectables, it can be used for larger areas. “It’s the first synthetic that can fill the whole face without surgery,” says Dr. Neil Sadick, a Park Avenue cosmetic dermatologist (212-772-1242; Dr. Howard Sobel also does the treatment; 212-288-0060). Sculptra takes longer—best results come four to six weeks after two-to-five sessions ($1,200 to $1,500 each)—but at two years, it lasts longer, too. Of course, if you don’t like the results—lumpiness has been reported—longevity is a downside.

As for wrinkles, the post-Botox era may have already begun. There are now several products that relax muscles topically, without injections. Dr. Brandt’s Crease Release ($150 at Bergdorf Goodman) and Freeze 24/7 ($95 at Henri Bendel) both use a technology called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which claims to inhibit the neurotransmitters that stimulate muscle activity.


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