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Wed 5 Mar 2014 03:14 PM

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Should extreme anti-aging procedures be regulated?

Salma Awwad on why regulating radical face-lifting gimmicks makes sense

Should extreme anti-aging procedures be regulated?

Juvederm fillers, vampire facials, Clearlift and fractional lasers - If you have not heard of these terms before, then you probably have not been on the quest for the eternal youth formula. Instead you have opted for the “aging gracefully” route.

But these treatments are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to anti-aging and face-lifting procedures, and companies are coming up with new methods every single day.

Most of the treatments on the market cost you a pretty penny, with little or no proof of what the final outcome will be. 

All of them need to be administered on a continuous basis to maintain any face-lifting effect that they might have, and some, like Clearlift, have visible effects that last for only a day and cost more than $400 a session; while others leave you bruised and battered so that you’ll have to hide away for three days before you can show off their results.

Is it all worthwhile? And more importantly, do we really know the long term side-effects of these procedures?

The headlines have gone haywire lately with news of banning the vampire facelift in Dubai.

This treatment requires the use of your own blood from your arm and placing it in a centrifuge to separate platelets from red blood cells. After the centrifuge, plasma is combined with hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers such as Restylane or Juvederm. Then the cocktail is injected into your face to stimulate the growth of collagen.

Dr Layla Mohamed Al Marzouqi, assistant director of the DHA's Health Regulation Department and Head of Clinical Governance Office stated: “It’s a relatively new procedure that should be regulated like any other cosmetic/therapeutic procedure to ensure safety of patients, which is our utmost priority.”

Although many might argue that the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is being overzealous in protecting our safety, I would say otherwise. The truth is, no one knows what the long term effect of these treatments is on your face.

Regulating radical face-lifting gimmicks makes sense, making sure that they are done in a safe manner is necessary, and waiting to see if they have negative effects on our overall health before introducing them to the local market is something that we should thank DHA for.

Clamping down on such extreme procedures will also prevent a grey market from emerging, with unskilled treatments being administered and unregulated home-visits taking place.

At the end of the day, eternal beauty and youth formulas will always be in demand, how one goes about achieving it is completely a personal choice and the DHA is not setting out to ban something that we gravely need, but rather, preventing us from any harm that can come from buying into a really good sales pitch.