4 / 10


Photo by: Fairchild Archive

Approved in 2004 for patients with facial wasting (a hollow-cheeked appearance usually associated with HIV infection), Sculptra is a chemical that can be injected into the face to stimulate collagen growth. "You put it in and watch it grow over a period of months," says Claudio DeLorenzi, a plastic surgeon in Kitchener, Canada, who says the best results are seen in the temples and cheeks. But one place it should never be used, says DeLorenzi, is in the lips: "It can result in ugly bumps and lumps, or the lips may end up a size that no one counted on." Similarly, Artefill, a mixture of Plexiglas-like beads and cow collagen, is approved only for filling smile lines. As the collagen is absorbed, the body forms scar tissue around the beads, DeLorenzi explains. "In the lips, this can result in clumps and nodules, and there is no way to get rid of the stuff other than to cut it out." Cosmetic surgeons often disagree, but on this subject they are virtually unani

Most Overrated Cosmetic Procedures

Joan Kron, Allure magazine

New cosmetic procedures often fail to live up to their original promise. Some may even do harm. We investigate the innovations that you might want to reconsider.

It wasn't so long ago that a woman with a desire to look younger, slimmer, or simply better would huddle with her doctor in private. Now, one demonstration of a new laser on the Today show, and phones are ringing in dermatologists' and plastic surgeons' offices across the country. More and more patients are demanding the latest treatments the moment they hear about them on the news, in the salon, or over lunch with their best friend. Here's the problem with this pioneer impulse: Plastic surgery's past is crowded with operations that were rushed to the public with insufficient testing, or that proved too painful, or that simply weren't as effective as promised. Take it from us, the most dangerous word in plastic surgery may be "new." And unlike making a mistake by, say, buying a pair of jeggings that aren't entirely flattering, cosmetic procedures are often irreversible. Here, a hard look at the choices.

See more from Allure:
Top 21 Drugstore Beauty Bargains
The 12 Best Eye Creams
10 Hairstyles That Make You Look 10 Years Younger

The 10 Commandments of Mascara

The Most Flattering Makeup Colors for Brown Eyes
The 10 Most Gorgeous Hair-Color Ideas for Brunettes