Cheekbones, eyebrows and fillers

October 1, 2007

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Q: What is the universal sign of female beauty?

A: There are many different ways of looking at female beauty. Plastic surgeons love to measure facial proportions and develop complex overlay maps showing the relative angles of all of the facial structures. My mother, on the other hand, said "Beauty is as beauty does!"

Q: Why do so many mature women have few eyebrow hairs? Can this be prevented? Does it respond to treatment with topical minoxidil?

A: Many women in their 50s and beyond possess very sparse eyebrow hairs. This is due to overplucking of the eyebrows during youth. Unfortunately, thin eyebrows have again become fashionable among teenage and adolescent females. Each time the eyebrow hairs are plucked, especially if they are aggressively yanked from the follicle, a few may not grow back. After 30 years to 40 years of this practice, eventually the loss of hairs becomes apparent. The loss is further magnified by the natural thinning of the hair, which affects the eyebrows, as well. For this reason, it is important to counsel young girls who pluck their eyebrows to a thin one- to two-hair line that this practice should be discontinued, no matter how fashionable. I have not found topical minoxidil to be an effective treatment for eyebrow hair thinning.

Q: What is What is Restylane SubQ?

A: Restylane SubQ is a new, thicker form of hyaluronic acid filler manufactured by Q-Med. It is available in Europe and Australia.

At a recent international dermatology meeting, I saw the product injected into the face. It is injected with an 18-gauge needle just beneath the skin into the subcutaneous compartment. The needle is inserted into the fat and the filler injected into the needle tunnel when withdrawing the syringe. Numerous fanning tunnels are created and small droplets of the hyaluronic acid placed in the tunnel, followed by aggressive massage to push the filler into all of the tunnels. Because of its high viscosity, the hyaluronic acid absorbs water almost immediately, producing a dramatic filling effect. It is used to fill in the hollows of the cheeks, smooth jowls along the jawline and correct facial asymmetry. The immediate results are impressive. The product is not approved for use in the United States at this time.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a clinical associate professor of dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., and primary investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C.

Questions may be submitted via e-mail to zdraelos@northstate.net
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