Testing the Filler Waters


I said I was running out to grab a bite. I came back looking five years younger- or so I thought. Ryan didn’t even notice! I suppose that could be a good thing. When you do something to your face, it better be subtle. You want people to think you just naturally look great or rested, not that you’ve “had work done”.
My friends are starting to use Botox. Some women I know have had boob jobs, nose jobs and eye tucks. My ‘age’ gracefully-never-cowtow-to-vanity friends discuss what they will do to themselves cosmetically “when the time comes.” And now the time is coming. Personally, I’ll get boobs in 10 years. But I’ve shunned Botox not only because the idea of firing up toxins into my skin scares me but the maintenance and cost insult my frugality. Then I heard about Artefill- A very expensive way to plump wrinkles permanently. I began to research and to see if there was a story there to cut my cost.
It’s not that I have these horrible lines to address but, like any woman, I’m self-conscious about aging. Two spots on my face nagged at me – a divet on the right side of my upper lip and a little (barely noticeable) scar near my eyes. Though not approved for this use, Artefill was my best option short of lasering my entire face if I didn’t want to come back every 6 months for touch-ups.

In pursuit of a story on artificial line fillers, I drove all the way out to Draper to see Dana at Clarity Skin. Clarity is one of the few places in Utah still carrying Artefill after the company making it filed Chapter 7 last November.
The injectible product was manufactured by Artes Medical and touted as the longest lasting wrinkle treatment for nasolabial folds on the market. Studies showed that it not only lasted 5 years but the results improved rather than diminished appearance over time .
It’s been on the market in other countries for a decade and used not only for those lines from your nose to mouth corners but under the eyes, in scars, across the bridge of noses and anywhere deep wrinkles have set in (except in crow’s feet).
The product is FDA approved and made from tiny microspheres of PMMA (clear plastic used in medical implant devices) and bovine collagen. The injections are designed to restore facial volume and reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles. Yet despite all of the hype, the company still went bust – blame the economy and lack of physician marketing. Even in Europe, where fillers saturated life a few years ago, doctors opted for more temporary types with fewer side effects over the permanent stuff and, well, the docs want return visits. It also came with some scary risks like lumps, bumps, and granulomas- or worse; keeping it from becoming all the rage like Botox and Restylane. Plus, removing Artefill is difficult and costly if the doc gets it wrong.
Like any filler, Artefill is only as good as the person who sticks it in you.
Dana has been using it for more than two years and she’s like a master artist. I trusted her completely. She was also conservative in her prodding so I needn’t worry about ‘overfilling’.
She smeared nubbing cream on my face and 10 minutes later was piercing my skin. I barely felt a thing and left 30 minutes later with only slight redness and tenderness in the areas she shot up. There’s definitely swelling in my face that will most likely last a few days but I’m not afraid of looking like the Elephant Man.
As I am doing this for research and storytelling, I know Dana wouldn’t have done the procedure if she was unsure of the results. Artefill is one of her favorite products at Clarity and is disappointed that it may soon be extinct. To cheer her up, I mentioned that anyone who has tried Artefill won’t have to worry about an alternative for at least five years and by then there will probably be something new to play with. I’ll check back in three months so we can compare the before and after pics but my heart is telling me, I’ll soon forget I even did this to myself and won’t notice a difference.
I’m a bit ashamed that I succombed to vanity. A part of me didn’t want to write this particular blog and thought to take this secret to my grave. Obviously, a larger part wanted to share. I wanted to let other women (and men) know that even someone as ‘earthy’ and athletic as I, am human. I have flaws I can’t live with and today’s technology claims you don’t have to anymore. I caved.

So far, I’m digging the results…and Ryan can’t tell. It’s not like I’m keeping a secret, however. I’ll tell him tomorrow. I just wanted to see if he would notice and am psyched he didn’t. Of course, I usually have to point out that I’ve had a haircut as well.


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