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Women May Have to Choose Between a Great Body or a Great Face


If you've worked hard to maintain your weight and stay fit, you may pay a price when it comes to facial aging.

Working hard to stay in shape may pay off in your youth, but as you age, it might take a toll on your face. As reported on The Today Show, as you start to enter your 40s you begin to lose facial volume and firmness. Wrinkles begin to be more obvious and cheeks start to hollow out. The thinner you are, the faster, and more drastic the effect of facial fat loss.

Dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann was featured in the The Today Show piece and says that the face is the first place that shows weight loss. "The fat pads under the eyes go first, then you see it above the smile and down to the chin, then the cheeks." Elastin and collagen also begin to break down, reducing the skin's ability to bounce back so skin begins to sag.

Women are then left with a choice to either carry around a little extra weight to keep your face youthful, and possibly give up your hard body you've worked so hard for, or to look several years older. Luckily, there is a third option, but it requires a trip to the cosmetic surgeon or other aesthetic physician.

A facelift is a popular option for aging faces, but it isn't always the best solution for those with only a little bit of facial fat. Dr. Mark Berman, President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), performs this procedure which he has dubbed the Stem Cell Space Lift. The procedure is an option for those who have at least a little bit of fat that can be harvested, and for many, provides superior results over a traditional facelift.

stem cell facelift before and after photos
Actual results of Space Lift by Dr. Mark Berman

In Dr. Berman's Space Lift, fat is removed through a closed system in a syringe harvest technique, meaning that fat is simply suctioned into the syringe rather than performing a traditional liposuction procedure. The fat cells remain more viable with this method, an important factor in the procedure's success. The fat is then treated to remove all impurities and it is then injected into the patient's face for a filling effect that typically offers great results on its own.

Dr. Berman describes the procedure as a 3 dimensional facelift. In traditional facelift, the skin is lifted and pulled back, bringing it closer to the skeleton. He says this alone often doesn't provide the improvement patients are looking for since a fuller face is a younger looking face. "The problem with face lifting is you lift the skin up, pull it back and the anterior dimension - this dimension which you want to increase - actually gets closer to the bone.... We're lifting the skin out and away from the skeleton."

Other options include facial fillers like Juvederm or Restylane but these last only a few months. Newer longer lasting fillers like Sculptra are now available and last up to 2 years in some cases.