Below are NINE (9) cosmetic treatments that doctors say we should really think before just doing. Some of them I personally have an adversion to (my own little quirks about safety and health issues) and I'm not shy about stating that I will fight aging hard as I rather grow old gracefully - on my own terms. LOL.
1. Botox breast lift
By Maggie Koerth-Baker for MSN Health
Why do it: In spring 2008, high-profile New York dermatologist Patricia Wexler, M.D., (she’s most known for these products sold at Bath & Body Works) began touting a new way to use Botox. She claimed that by injecting the drug into the pectoralis minor chest muscle (see its location on an anatomy sketch) to paralyze it temporarily, she could make back muscles (which ones?) pick up the slack, thereby forcing the patient to stand up straighter, which essentially gives the breasts a surgery-free "lift."
The problems: "It's nonsense. Worse, it's dangerous nonsense," says Michael McGuire, M.D., president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He and Patrick McMenamin, M.D., president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, agree that Wexler's procedure wouldn't work. And both doctors say injecting anything into the pectoralis minor, which is in close proximity to the lungs, is dangerous.
2. "Doctor fish" manicures and pedicures
Why do them: "Doctor fish" (what other name are they known as?), love to eat dead human skin cells, which they suck off of the body, revealing fresh skin underneath. They're used for pedicures and to treat the symptoms of psoriasis (what is that, again?).
The problems: Living creatures are hard to sanitize. At least three states have issued regulations against “doctor fish,” saying there's no way to guarantee they are clean. Martin Grassberger, M.D., who's researched them at the Medical University of Vienna (where is that exactly?), says another concern is some spas use a different species of fish (which one?), which feeds more aggressively than the “doctor fish” and can draw blood.
Why do it: Waxing yanks unwanted body hair out by the roots. It's faster than tweezing and lasts longer than shaving.
The problems: First off, burns from hot wax can be severe and are more common than you might think, according to the medical journal Burns. Waxing also leaves the body vulnerable to infection. The FDA advises people with weakened immune systems to avoid it. People using wrinkle creams or acne treatments that contain a popular ingredient (Retinol) should also rethink waxing, as the skin can become so sensitive that there's a risk of it peeling off along with the hair. The biggest worry? Topical skin-numbing cream, used to make waxing less painful, that can end up in your blood.
The FDA says it's best to avoid numbing cream altogether, but if you do use it, choose one that the FDA has approved as safe, and use as little of the cream with the lowest amount of active ingredients (which ones?) as you can. The FDA also recommends leaving the skin uncovered (don't cover the treated area with plastic wrap or other dressing to increase effectiveness), and says to pick the correct cream with your doctor's help—not that of your hair stylist or spa technician.
4. Eyelash-thickening drops
Why use them: Newly approved by the FDA, the drug Latisse promises thicker eyelashes. Latisse is actually a lower-dose version of a drug that's been used to treat glaucoma since 2001 (which one?). Longer, thicker lashes were a surprising side -effect for those patients.
The problem: Most of the side effects are covered in the TV commercials starring Brooke Shields and Claire Danes (watch it) and include itching, redness and the potential to darken the skin on your eyelids or turn irises brown—permanently. And, like with many drugs, Latisse may not be a good choice for pregnant or nursing women. The National Institutes of Health reports the active ingredient in Latisse is associated with several issues when administered to pregnant animals.
5. UV-activated teeth whitening
Why get it: Who doesn't want a mouth full of gleaming, pearly whites? Most whitening methods rely on hydrogen peroxide solutions, but some companies claim the hydrogen peroxide works better and faster when combined with UV lamps. (See a photo of how the UV light is administered.)
The problem: New research shows UV lamps don't boost the bleaching process, and even worse, can be dangerous. In February 2009, research published in the online version of the Journal of Prosthodontics showed no difference between the two processes. A January 2009 study in the British journal Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences said not only does light -activation not work, but it also exposes users to startlingly high levels of cancer-causing UV radiation. One lamp the team tested gave a dose four times as high as what you'd get from sunbathing for a full afternoon in midsummer.
6. Permanent makeup
Why get it: Eyeliner, lip and brow color tattooed onto your skin can be a permanent solution for women who want the look of makeup all the time. Browse before-and-after photos.
The problem: Colored tattoo ink isn't necessarily designed with the human body in mind, and the FDA hasn't approved any tattoo inks – many of the colored inks used for permanent makeup are the same as those used in the automotive and printing industries. The FDA has received numerous reports of allergic reactions in women who received makeup tattoos, which are also notoriously difficult to remove.
7. Chemical peels
Why get one: Chemical peels, usually creams or serums containing mild fruit acid, can remove dead skin cells and help clear up acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Peels can also encourage the growth of new, younger-looking skin cells. (Browse hundreds of before-and-after photos.)
The problem: Most chemical peels have relatively mild side effects, including a risk of oddly colored, patchy skin in women who are taking birth control pills; redness, scaling and blisters for those with sensitive skin; and the possibility of triggering previously dormant cold sores. The real danger? At-home peels purchased online, which have been known to cause painful, scarring burns, caused by the high concentration of the acids. Most effective over-the-counter alpha-hydroxy acid creams contain about 8 percent acid concentration.
8. Brava breast enhancement
Why get it: Introduced in 1999, Brava is a breast enhancement system that claims to help make breasts an entire cup size larger without surgery. The appeal pretty much speaks for itself.
How does it work? Brava is a set of plastic domes hooked up to a small vacuum pump. The domes are placed over the breasts, with the suction turned on, for 10 hours every day over for at least 10 weeks. If you miss a day, you have to add an extra one. See the pumping device. According to clinical trials, Brava works, though never as dramatic as surgical implants.
The problems: The process is time consuming and rife with side effects, caused by the “suctioning” effect. Some women report getting rashes and blisters. Also, Brava won’t work as well on women with extremely small breasts or those with a cup size above a small C.
The cost: It’s significant, though less than a surgical procedure. How much?
Why use it: Approved by the FDA in 2002, Thermage uses heat generated by radio waves to give patients tighter, more taught skin; it's often promoted as a "non-surgical facelift." Oprah first championed the procedure, which is also known as ThermaCool, in 2003.
The problems: The episodes of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" that touted the treatment aren't forthcoming about its potential side effects (what are they?) or effectiveness, according to a New York Times article from 2006. And Thermage doesn't really function as a face-lift substitute. While it can reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and acne scars, it's not likely to tighten jowls—patients who go in expecting a miracle probably will be disappointed.