Fat-dissolving injections in Korea is often used for the face. It is used in order to improve facial contours by (as the name suggests) dissolving the fat or reducing the size of fat cells in the injected area. The injection is appropriate for smoothing the facial line. It’s a quick and easy procedure for those with smaller, quite symmetric faces who are looking to make small improvements in their facial line.But have you ever wondered about its composition? But first of all, what exactly are fat-dissolving injections and why can't I seem to be able to find it?
In Korea, the quirk is that apart from specific brands like Belkyra (or known as Kybella in the United States), fat-dissolving injections in Korea are almost never called “fat-dissolving injections”. But instead, they all have different names and recipes depending on clinics. V-line injection, sculpting injection, contouring injection, even names such as egg injection (referring to an egg-shaped face) are just a few of such names. Clinics try to differentiate their injection with their own recipe of around 5 to 10 ingredients (which most often they do not disclose as it’s their “own special recipe”) and market them with their own naming. This is why, especially for foreign patients, it can be very confusing what the injections names actually are for. But the more pressing question that patients should be asking is: What’s actually in the injections? Are they safe? What should I be careful of?
A deeper look at how they work
What fat-dissolving injections stimulate a chemical process called lipolysis, which is breaking down the triglyceride in fat cells into fatty acids and glycerol. This process is regulated by various enzymes and neurotransmitters within the cell. Fat dissolving injections promote lipolysis in two ways: 1) stimulating the enzymes and neurotransmitters that help lipolysis; and 2) inhibiting the enzymes and neurotransmitters that suppress lipolysis. The substances that do this are called lipolytic agents.
Commonly used Lipolytic Agents in Korean Fat-dissolving Injections
Effects : Promotes an enzyme called HSL (Hormone-sensitive lipase) which help break down fat cells.
Details : Was developed as a drug to treat Asthma, but also began to be used to treat obesity after it was found to have fat-dissolving properties.
Safety : Some debate within the medical community about its fat-dissolving effects, and in some cases cause allergic reactions by making the skin itchy and red
Effects : Increases cAMP activity which promotes lipolysis
Details : Originally developed to treat arrhythmia and asthma
Safety : Began to be used as a fat-dissolving agent after Dr. Frank Greenway of UCLA first published experiments on Aminophylline and Isoproterenol used to reduce calf fat in obese patients. May cause side effects such as spasms, nausea, and hand tremor.
Effects : Promotes HSL which help break down fat cells.
Details : A nutrient used often in weight loss diets.
Effects : When fat is broken down into fatty acid, the fatty acid must be transported into the mitochondria in order to be used as energy, and Carnitin promotes this process.
Details : Used as a weight loss agent.
Effects : A type of steroid. It is usually used to treat acne as it softens hard skin tissues, but it can also dissolve fat.
Details : It is included in fat-dissolving injections to reduce inflammation which is a common side effect.
Safety : when used in large concentrations or amounts, has been known to cause dermal atrophy, and when used for long durations causes complications in hormonal activity and cause symptoms like ovulation disorder and menstrual irregularities.
Effects : Can reduce bruising and swelling.
Details : Also used to dissolve hyaluronic acid fillers.
Safety : Those with allergies to Hyaluronidase need other prevention measures.
HPL (Hypotonic Pharmacologic Lipo-dissolution)
Effects : causes the adipose tissue to swell and dissolve by osmotic pressure, and the dissolved fat is transported through the lymphatic vessels and excreted out of the body in urine.
Details : HPL by itself is a lipoplasty technique, used with saline solution and injected into the body.
Effects : PPC is an lipolytic enzyme extracted from beans that breaks down the walls of fat cells and excrete them through the lymphatic vessels.
Details : PPC was originally used to great liver conditions but was found to have fat-dissolving effects and used for that purpose for a while.
Safety : It can also break down other surrounding cells causing serious side effects, and is now banned from use for fat-dissolving injections. Make sure PPC is not included in your injection!