Ugly turn for popular beauty surgery

Posted on March 10th, 2010 by Gina

Recently, The Boston Globe told the story of a woman who’s Lifestyle Lift was no life-lifting matter when she reacted to local anesthesia and died at the outpatient clinic before the surgery was even begun.  The Lifestyle Lift‘s extensive marketing on TV and online have made it nearly ubiquitous in the quick-fix beauty industry, but also brought it to the attention of the New York Attorney General who slapped it with a $300,000 fine for deceptive advertising after catching the company posting bogus patient testimonials.

So what is it?  A good way to explain what it is, is to explain what it is not:  it is not a modern facelift.  Technically, facelifts require that the surgeon reposition and cut away muscle, fat and fascia, known as SMAS, under the skin of the face, then lay the skin over the uplifted muscle and cut away the excess.  That sounds simple and, of course, it isn’t, given that in order to correctly reposition the SMAS you must pull a good deal of the person’s skin away from the face first, cut and sew muscle, then sew everything back up without any scars.  When facelifts were first invented in 1904, surgeons merely pulled skin tighter, meaning the skin just looked pulled, and couldn’t possibly last as it stretched out again under the pressure of the sagging muscle. In some ways, according to physicians interviewed and on, that is what the Lifestyle Lift is – minimal SMAS repositioning, if any, and mostly skin work.  Although the procedure can be done in an hour under local anesthesia, the results are not as long lasting since the underlying problem isn’t addressed.

Still, there are 40 different Lifestyle Lift clinics around the country, many doctors who do the procedure, and some satisfied customers.   Cindy P., from San Diego, told LookinGood “I’m glad I did it and don’t regret it.  Recuperation was not a problem… People tell me that they can’t even tell I had one.”  She adds, however, “that could mean it didn’t work or they never thought I needed one in the first place.”

The cost of the procedure is approximately $4,000-$5,000, half of what a full facelift costs, but getting solid information from the company about exactly what IT IS doing is next to impossible.  Dr. Karen Horton, a San Francisco plastic surgeon warns, “I am skeptical about any procedure that makes claims about fantastic results, without [giving consumers] details of the technique itself and the science behind the operation.  Buyer beware… “

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.