What You Need to Know About Skin Injections
Though injectable cosmetic compounds have increased exponentially in popularity over the last decade, they remain largely misunderstood. Thanks to inaccurate reports in the media, many people have a skewed idea of what skin injections are—and what they do. This is a shame, because in reality, nonsurgical treatments like Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, etc., actually offer a safer alternative to many conventional plastic surgery procedures. If you’re interested in having aesthetic alterations made to your face, you, therefore, owe it to yourself to learn the facts about these innovative new substances:
Cosmetic injectables can be used by people of all ages.
The FDA has declared cosmetic injectables safe for use in all healthy patients over the age of 21. What’s more, many younger people have found injectable fillers to be extremely useful. While the most well-known use for fillers like Restylane in younger patients is increasing lip volume, they can actually treat a wide range of cosmetic issues. (More on this below.)
Injectable fillers can do a lot more than just eliminate wrinkles.
In addition to increasing lip volume, injectable fillers can be used to reduce the appearance of under-eye bags and get rid of acne scars. They can even be used to rejuvenate the patient’s earlobes, enhance his or her chin, and fill in hollows at the temples.
Injectable fillers are made with safe (and often naturally occurring) substances.
One of the most frequently cited concerns about cosmetic injectables is the idea that people are “injecting toxic chemicals” into their bodies… But this simply isn’t true. In reality, most dermal fillers are derived from substances already found in the human body, such as Calcium Hydroxylapatite and Poly-L-lactic Acid. These substances stimulate natural collagen and elastin production, thereby decreasing the appearance of fine lines and other blemishes. The only synthetic compound that is sometimes used to create dermal fillers is PMMA (which is used in select applications, namely acne scar reduction). PMMA has, however, been used safely in medicine for nearly a century and is believed to be fully biocompatible.
Even the much-maligned treatment known as Botox, which is used to temporarily “paralyze” the facial muscles in problem areas, carries a very low risk of complications. Botox (a protein derived from botulin toxin) has been used for both medical and cosmetic purposes since 1989, with few reported cases of adverse reactions. In fact, as dermatologist Whitney Bowe explains, you’re “more likely to have a reaction to a vitamin or a tea that you buy in a natural-food store” than to Botox.
While it’s true that injectables cannot be called 100% “risk-free,” they carry far fewer risks than surgery. Because no incisions are made into the skin when administering dermal fillers and Botox, there is no risk of post-surgical infection, bleeding, scarring, etc.
Injectables can prevent wrinkles, not just treat them.
To understand how injectable treatments can prevent wrinkles (if administered before wrinkles become evident), it’s important to first know how wrinkles form. Wrinkles are primarily the byproduct of a loss of collagen and elastin; as we age, our bodies produce less of these compounds, and our skin literally becomes less “elastic.” As a result, it cannot effectively withstand the normal creasing action that occurs every time we make a facial expression. Over time, lines begin to etch into the skin wherever the skin is frequently stretched and compressed. Injectable treatments combat this process in a couple of different ways. One, because dermal fillers stimulate collagen production, they help the skin remain resilient enough to resist wrinkling. Two, because Botox relaxes the facial muscles, it can reduce the expansion and contraction of the skin. When both of these treatments are used in unison in patients under the age of 35, they may markedly delay the formation of facial lines.
Injectables won’t do permanent damage to your face (as long as they’re administered correctly).
Unlike surgery, dermal fillers and Botox will not alter your face permanently. Most injectable treatments wear off within 3-6 months, though some may last up to a year. (The only exception to this rule is acne scar treatments containing PMMA, which do confer permanent benefits.) If you decide you don’t like the results of your injectable treatment, you therefore just have to wait it out—Your face will return to its old self soon enough.
While dermal fillers and Botox carry few risks when used accurately, it is possible for them to be administered improperly. As such, you should always make sure that the doctor you hire is fully certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and works in a hygienic, regularly-inspected office. To learn more about the skin injections our office offers please contact us.