If the fear of pain is keeping you away from a proven wrinkle fighter, there's new help for you.
Not only are there wrinkle fillers now that promise to be nearly painless, but they may also help you fill in wrinkles naturally.
Three years ago Theresa Rhodes, 42, had stomach weight loss surgery. Today she is down 120 pounds. But along with her newly slim body came something she did not like.
"I noticed in my face, I am not too fond of the areas here," she said pointing to her cheek area. "It just is like a little droopy and not firm and I think that just comes from losing the weight so quickly because that came off in eight months."
So she's turned to dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo for some help. Several years ago we told you about Sculptra, a filler to plump up the face but only FDA-approved for HIV patients. Now it is approved for cosmetic uses.
"A lot of people really like Sculptra because it is the filler to use if you don't want anyone to know you're doing anything, because the improvement is very gradual," said New Orleans Dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo.
That's because it is injected a few times over a few months and in about six months patients see the final results.
“Sculptra is a great volumizer. It's one that can help lift out cheeks gradually or build up cheek bones gradually," said Dermatologic Surgeon Dr. William Coleman, who is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery.
And the latest studies are showing that while it's youthful looking for your body to be thin, it's not when it comes to your face.
"The one thing that was surprising is they (scientists) found that in the women over 54, the twins that were over 54 years of age, the twin that was heavier actually looked younger. And so we know that that roundness that some people carry in their face, of course does make them look younger," said Metairie Dermatologist Dr. Patricia Farris who is the Chairwoman of Media Relations for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
And there is something else that doctors are finding with Sculptra.
"It stimulates collagen production and it thickens the skin that has been damaged and the collagen thinned from sun damage and it gives sort of a pseudo replacement for fat for the patients who have lipoatrophy from weight loss or illness or genetic," explained Dr. Lupo.
While Sculptra can last for up to two years and is more for filling a gaunt face, hyaluronic acid fillers for the smile lines and lips also have something new. They now come with a pain killer or numbing solution built in to them.
"I found that before, the first time that I had it (Juvederm injections), I could feel some of the injection sites that I had. This time I felt nothing, none of the injection sites," said Melissa Ciolino, who is Dr. Lupo's patient.
Ciolino, 52, has had Juvederm without the lidocaine pain killer and when Dr. Lupo added it in on her own, but this new way, with it built in, was painless.
"We're very excited because anytime we can do something to make the patients experience better, we of course not only want patients to look good but we want them to feel good, and we hate that we have to hurt them in the process. So we really, as physicians, appreciate the fact that the companies have answered our request for pain management," said Dr. Lupo.
"I have a lot of patients who are needle-phobic. They really don't like the needle stick and so I still use some topical anesthetic in these patients. But I think that its made a tremendous difference and one of the areas it has, has been around the lips because that's so very painful," explained Dr. Elizabeth McBurney, an LSU Health Sciences Center and Tulane Dermatologist who practices in Slidell.
"I think that when they realize now that we do have fillers with lidocaine in them, we will get patients that were previously afraid," added Dr. Farris.
"All of them are stating that it is much less painful and also it makes the treatment a little bit faster," said LSUHSC and Metairie Plastic Surgeon Dr. Kamran Khoobehi.
And the good news about these hyaluronic acid products goes beyond their new comfort. They too stimulate your body to fill in wrinkles naturally.
"It is true that as you keep injecting any of these products, whether it's Sculptra, Juvederm, Restylane, all of them cause your body to build up collagen and if you keep coming back for treatment, you'll need treatment less and less over the years because your own collagen is gradually replacing these materials," noted Dr. Coleman.
But for the best result, Dr. Lupo says make sure you get enough injected for a full correction. Then over time, you won't need as much product to refine your look as it wears away over the year.
In the meantime, both Melissa and Theresa say the subtle difference is working.
"And her daughter looked at me and said, 'Miss Theresa, you look different,' " said Rhodes.
"I get a lot of people that tell me that that, 'You know, you look younger. You look more refreshed,' " said Ciolino.
While the study on facial fullness revealed that middle-aged and older people look younger with more weight on their faces, it also found that young people who carry more weight tend to look older.
Also doctors say it's best to get injectables from someone who uses a variety of them, since most doctors layer different products to get the best results.
Editor's note: Dr. Patricia Farris is no relation to Medical Reporter Meg Farris.