Europe may be at the forefront of cutting-edge beauty, but, on some issues, they’re more cautious of what’s potentially toxic and dangerous, more so than the U.S. Europe has banned more beauty ingredients than the U.S., but there is a handful of treatments and procedures that aren’t available on our shores (and vice versa) and for good reason. What’s deemed to be dangerous and a threat to your health overseas may not be viewed with the same caution by the beauty industry on our shores—but should it?
Silicone injections first gained popularity in the 1950s when they were used to augment breasts. But they caused infections, deformities and bumps and were eventually banned (they are FDA approved as micro droplet injections for scars and as silicone gel implants for breast reconstruction and augmentation, and facial augmentation).
Many women are misled and told that silicone (both medical- and nonmedical-grade) can be used to augment anything. It does last indefinitely, but silicone does not adapt to aging tissue. Liquid silicone is often used, albeit off label or on the black market. Silicone is especially popular in Miami, where medical and nonmedical providers alike use it. Most patients injected with moderate to large amounts of it all have complications and problems.
- Women who are injected with nonmedical- or industrial-grade silicone (a non-cohesive loose liquid that can travel unpredictably)—either knowingly or unintentionally—tend to seek out unqualified professionals and have it injected into the lips, buttocks and face.
- The only way to reverse any damage incurred is with a surgical procedure, which may not eliminate all the silicone or correct the visible effects.
- Injected silicone can migrate through the blood, causing clotting in the lungs and potentially death.
What the U.S. Expert Says: “problems can arise”
“Silicone injections are illegal in the U.S., but many women seek treatment because they want permanent results but don't realize the repercussions,” says Miami dermatologist Loretta Ciraldo, MD. “If you have something injected, make sure you have it done by a qualified expert injector who only uses reputable and FDA-approved products. A lot of women who are injected with silicone don't even know it’s being used on them.”
What the European Expert Says: “silicone is rarely used”
Silicone is rarely used as an injectable in Europe. Cap d'Antibes, France, plastic surgeon Henry Delmar says black market injectables basically don't exist. “The European injectable market is pretty well controlled. The consequences of using something illegal are too high, and the laws are more strict.”