Banned From Beauty: Silicone Injections

Europe may be at the forefront of cutting-edge beauty, but on some issues, they’re more cautious of potential dangers. What’s deemed to be dangerous and a threat to your health overseas may not be viewed with the same caution on our shores; but should it? There are a handful of treatments and procedures that aren’t available on our shores (and visa versa) and for good reason. Read on to see where your favorite treatment stands. 

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 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.” 

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  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I had silicone injected into my lips 25 years ago.,.My lips are soft and beautiufl

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    yes I agree...with last post very much. You have one life to live,and live it happy with your self,and take a chance.

  • angela
    Posted on

    hey does microdroplet injection help to clear acne n scares permanently n how much does it cost

  • Carole
    Posted on

    I had silicone microdroplet injections 20 years ago for deep nose-to-mouth lines and they lasted for over 15 years without causing any problems for me. The result was FANTASTIC! Yes, you have to be careful if you get them--you must go to a DOCTOR, ask questions and then make your decision. Also, think about this. If you could use a product that only lasted 5/6/7 months and you made several hundred dollars each time you injected it, would you recommend that OR the product that lasted for years? GOOD LUCK!!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I wouldn't put any man made product in my body, that's just me. I would not risk it. Seen what can happen, and its not pretty. Embrace what god gave you in the first place. Start exercising, and eat right. That's enough for me to feel good about my body, and spirit.

  • Shazzz
    Posted on

    My doctor in New York did the micro droplets it was their speciality I never had a problem nor did my friends but there were too many doctors who didn't understand how to inject the silicone as well as many crazy women with unrealistic expectations ... I've had other fillers since and they don't compare.

  • Jane
    Posted on

    There was a product on the market a number of years ago called dermalive. It claimed to be permanent....well, it turned out to be one of the worst fillers in the way of disfigurement. It created huge granulomas with no real treatment to dissolve or remove them. i would put this product right up there with silicone Neither one should have EVER been used for esthetic enhancement. The company folded and literally vanished.....they disfigured thousands of women without compensation for their gross errors.

  • Shirlene
    Posted on

    I had my lips done in Mexico by a doctor. I would not advise it. My lips capsluated and they have never looked the same. I would go with a filler like Restylne which is only temporarily. I regret doing the silicone and would never do it again!

  • Angie
    Posted on

    I had the microdroplet injections in my lips about 8 years ago...I had tried other fillers but my body metabolized them too quickly and it would have been too costly to maintain. A professional plastic surgeon in Newport Beach cafefully explained all of the risks, as well as why most doctors don't recommend it (no return visits!) and also the delicacy and time investment vs. instant gratification. We slowly enhanced my lips over a period of 7 sessions and applied a very small amount and waited 30-40 days each time to measure the results. I am very statisfied with the results still, and haven't had injections in about 7 years.

  • Castro
    Posted on

    I am so sorry but 5 years might not be enough time to see the "side effects" of silicone injections. We have patients coming to our practice after 10-15 years of having silicone injections (mostly to their buttocks) to see if we can help them but sadly there is not much to do and most important, it is really dangerous health wise. I wish I could post some pictures so you could see the horrible effects on their otherwise beautiful bodies.. Silicone injections must be banned, there are some other options like fat transfer and FDA aproved fillers, althought I agree with you that they should be always applied by a qualified surgeon.

  • Judianne
    Posted on

    Five years ago, I had the microdroplet injections done to effect a permanent improvement to acne scarring and have had great results with no complications. I did careful research and chose the filler, because it was safe and way more cost effective than any other filler, and I have never been sorry that I did. I think if the product always ran rampid through your blood stream, as this article suggests, I would definitely be dead by now. I am not saying that silicone, or any other filler, for that matter, should be injected in mass quantities by someone who is not very well schooled in injectable filler proceedures. Any filler should injected by a highly qualified board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist ... not a weekend wonder trainee who normally provides primary care but is doing the fee for service proceedure for extra revenue. You can run into trouble with any cosmeceutical that is improperly administered. I've seen some real messes with permanent repercussions from a wide variety of fillers that would be acceptable to the "silicone police." Artifill, which is acceptable in Canada and Europe, but not the US is one such filler. Nobody needs to fly the autoimmune disease flag for me either. I've been around literally thousands of autoimmune patients in my career and have never known a single one that contracted her/his challenge due to silicone. If you do want to check mortality and morbidity results, though, check the number of deaths due to suicide as a direct result of facial scarring and cystic acne. Then make a decision as to whether or not this procedure needs to be discontinued for everyone.

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