‘RED AND BUMPY’
But even in an era when dissecting the work done on celebrity faces is all but public sport, and everyone from George Clooney to Debbie Harry admits cosmetic “enhancement”—brawny tennis player Lindsay Davenport is even the spokesperson for Juvederm!—might Evolence’s feed-lot beginnings invite increased scrutiny of our beauty addiction?
Julie, a 36-year-old doctor (though not a dermatologist) in Manhattan who had a Restalyne injection several years earlier, tried Evolence three months ago. “It still looks good!” she said the other day, calling from her office. “I didn’t have really bad lines to begin with, but it smoothed them out, gave it more of a fresh look.” She equated it to “a polish, like the top coat on your nail polish.”
A reporter wondered what she thought of the product’s porcine origins.
“I didn’t know that,” Julie said. “But thanks a lot!”
She is Jewish, she added, albeit nonreligious. “I don’t really eat pig, so the fact that it’s in my face isn’t thrilling,” she said. “But I guess if you’re doing something like this, you’re probably not too concerned about those kinds of things anyway.”
Karen, 58, of the Upper East Side, was more concerned about the adverse reaction she experienced after her first Evolence injection last month, which kept her close to home for about a week. “I’ve had a lot of fillers,” she said. “If you get a bruise, that’s one thing, but I was very red and bumpy.”
Her concerns were echoed by several New York doctors who are not yet sold on the swinish collagen du jour. “There have been reports in the Canadian literature, one study where they had 20 patients who were injected with Evolence in the lips and they developed nodules that had to be surgically removed,” said Dr. Lisa Zdinak, who has a practice on East 74th Street. “So I took that off my palette. I used it in the nasolabial folds, but when I read that I couldn’t use it in the lips, I thought, ‘Why am I even bothering with this?’ I have H.A.’s!” (Evolence enthusiasts counter that Evolence Breeze, a thinner form of the filler currently being used in Europe for lip-plumping, will likely be F.D.A.-approved in the near future).
“It’s late on the scene, to be honest with you,” said Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist on Lexington Avenue. “Everybody’s already so comfortable with hyaluronic acid. And then the fact that it’s pig.”
But the substance’s defenders grunt at such criticism. “It’s been used for several years in Europe and Israel; they’ve shown that there’s little correlation between sensitivity to collagen and sensitivity to Evolence,” said Dr. Mauro Romita, a Fifth Avenue plastic surgeon who added that the product is currently his number one choice for the nasolabial region.
Dr. Paul Lorenc, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon who led Evolence’s F.D.A. approval study, touted the fact that 76.5 percent of pork-injecting patients in his study were still showing notable improvement after one year, as opposed to our cow-plumped sisters of yesteryear, whose volume shrank in just three months. Moreover, Dr. Lorenc said, Evolence flows more easily through the syringe than do H.A.’s, resulting in less of a chance of “over-correction,” as he called it.
As expendable income seems to be drying up in inverse proportion to patients’ ravenous appetite for filler, Evolence’s long-term prospects are anyone’s guess. “I think it will come down to pricing and marketing,” said Dr. Sobel. “In my opinion, a lot of the injectibles are similar.”
Tell that to Laura, 49, a limousine company sales rep, bartender and enthusiastic recent Evolence convert who works in Long Island City. “It’s outrageous,” Laura said. “It’s not, like, drastic, but people will just say, ‘You’re looking good these days!’”
But does it ever give her pause that she has our porcine friends to thank for this? “If you just say the word, ‘I have pigs in my cheeks …’” she said. “But no one knows. It is what it is. I don’t really care.”