By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
It is one of the biggest buzzwords in the beauty industry today: anti-aging.
But Michael Myslabodski, general director of the F Cells medical laboratories in Mexico City’s upscale Interlomas neighborhood, says that, for the most part, products and treatments that claim to be “anti-aging” are in fact misrepresenting themselves.
“Most aesthetic medicine treatments that are promoted as being anti-aging are not,” Myslabodski told a group of journalists during a press conference at Gaucho Grill on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“Treatments such as facial fillers and Botox can help to hide the external effects of aging, but they do nothing to stop the process. They simply disguise it.”
By the same token, he said, most creams and ointments that are touted as anti-aging may help to hide or diffuse the appearance of surface lines, sagging or flaccid skin, but they cannot reverse the root cause of these problems.
In fact, he said, the only way to really slow skin’s natural aging process is to treat the problem at the source.
And that, Myslabodski said, is what distinguishes F Cell therapies from other in-office, minimally invasive treatments, such as fillers and botulin injections.
Myslabodski went on to explain that F Cell therapy, which was developed in Brazil more than a decade ago and which has been being used in Mexico with the approval of the Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) since 2015, is based on the extraction, reproduction and reinsertion of a patient’s own fibroblast cells (hence the name, F Cells).
“Fibroblasts are the cells that produce elastin and collagen, the structural framework of our skin,” Myslabodski explained.
“But as we age, staring at about age 25, these fibroblast cells begin to lose their efficiency, producing less and poorer quality elastin and collagen.”
Without these building blocks to keep skin resilient and supple, our faces begin to show signs of aging, such as flaccidity, sagging and wrinkles.
F Cell therapy, which can only be provided by a certified medical specialist (there are currently 400 plastic surgeons, dermatologists and aesthetic medicine specialists in Mexico offering the treatment), is a simple and effective out-patient treatment that allows a doctor to inject millions of fibroblast cells — reproduced in a laboratory from a patient’s own cells into the dermis (the central layer of skin) so that they can produce more collagen and elastin and stimulate existing fibroblasts to produce more of these cells.
“The effects of an F Cell therapy are not immediate,” said Myslabodski, “but they are long-lasting, up to four years, while the effects of fillers and Botox only last about five to six months.”
Additionally, he said, the effect is progressive, since the fibroblasts continue to produce more elastin and collagen over time.
“The beauty of F Cell treatments is that they are extremely safe because the only thing being injected into your body is your own cells, so there is not chance of rejection,” Myslabodski said.
Consequently, patients can have the treatment as often as they wish, and F Cell therapy can be combined with other aesthetic medicine treatments without concern.
The process for getting F Cell therapy is relatively simple:
The patient has a tiny piece of skin removed from behind their ear with a biopsy syringe.
That skin is then sent to the F Cell lab in Interlomas (the only such lab in Mexico), where at least 10 million new fibroblast cells are reproduced from it under laboratory supervision. This process can take from four to six months.
Once enough new fibroblast cells have been produced, they are placed in syringes (usually about 10) and sent back to the physician to be injected into the patient’s face.
As an added bonus, for a nominal fee, patients are offered the opportunity to freeze their excess fibroblast cells for future use, which means they will not have to undergo another biopsy extraction next time they want an F Cell treatment.
As for cost, the treatment can run about 20,000 to 40,000 pesos, depending on the physician.
“I would say that you are generally looking at a cost of about three times that of a filler or Botox treatment,” said Myslabodski, “but the effects last three times as long, and you are not putting anything unnatural or foreign into your body.”