As we get older, our faces lose their baby fat. It's great (up to a certain point), because everyone wants a thinner-looking face. After all, how else can you explain the obsession with mastering a Kim K-style contoured look? But eventually you start to lose definition in your face, and volume loss becomes very pronounced around your eyes, cheeks, and jaw line. Samuel M. Lam, M.D., FACS uses the metaphor of a grape shrinking into a raisin in an article for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
To restore some of that youthful plumpness, many women are turning to fat grafts—a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that involves taking fat from either the thighs or abdomen and injecting it into areas of the face that need to plumping.
Some fat grafting techniques, like the one performed by Dr. Kevin Sadati, a Newport Beach, California-based cosmetic surgeon, involve combining the fatty tissue with Platelet Rich Plasma (also drawn from the patient), which contains growth hormones said to help the results last longer.
Not only will fat grafting help restore lost volume to the face for a more youthful appearance, Lam writes that it also makes skin look more radiant, and even helps skin's texture and tone "through what is thought to be a stem-cell response that the skin undergoes over areas of transplanted fat." But, "this phenomenon is only speculated and is not conclusive but can be evident towards a year following fat grafting," he writes.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, fat injections will not stop the aging process, but can help delay the need for more invasive treatments. Results from facial fat grafts typically last longer than dermal fillers (more on those next).
Put simply: Other fillers, like Juvederm and Restylane, are synthetic. By using fat from your own body, there's no risk of having an allergic reaction, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Though there's more of an upfront cost for fat injections, synthetic fillers must be repeated more often to maintain results.
How far would you go for younger-looking skin? Would you ever try fat injections in your face? Let us know in the comments below!