There’s no denying that more and more people are getting cosmetic
injections—botulinum toxin injections alone (Botox, Dysport) increased
a whopping 759 percent between 2000 and 2015. But despite their growing
popularity, there’s still a lot of contradictory information surrounding
these beauty shots. “Everyone knows about injectables, but lots
of people come in with preconceived notions,” says New York City
dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank. To help clear up the confusion, here’s
the real deal on what’s true and what’s an urban (beauty) legend.
1. FACT: Injectables can have a preventative, anti-aging effect.
There is, in fact, some truth to the idea that injections work prophylactically—it’s
not just marketing mumbo-jumbo. Take botulinum toxin, for example. By
paralyzing the muscle, you’re preventing dynamic wrinkles (those
caused by the muscle contractions), and ensuring that existing lines and
wrinkles don’t become deeper, according to dermatologist Whitney
Bowe, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital
in New York City. Hyaluronic acid fillers also have proven long-term,
anti-aging benefits. A 2007 study from the University of Michigan showed
that the injection of non-animal-derived, stabilized hyaluronic acid (found
in in fillers such as Restylane and Juvéderm) stimulated collagen
production. “None of this means that you should start getting injections
at age 19. The time to start is when something starts to bother you, but
it's good to know that it's not only therapeutic but will also
prevent wrinkle development over time,” adds Frank.
2. FICTION: Getting injected will make you look like you’ve had “work” done.
"It’s not what’s done, it’s how it’s done,"
says Frank. "You only notice the bad work." The overly taut,
terrifyingly smooth foreheads of Hollywood starlets or bizarrely large
duck lips of reality housewives are examples of excess. "There are
too many examples of people who accidentally or purposely look like they
had too much work done," says Frank. To maintain a natural appearance,
it’s about rejuvenating your looks, not making you look different.
Find an injector who is experienced and understands anatomy and the natural
proportions of the face, and no one has to know that you’ve gone
under the needle.
3. FICTION: There’s a set amount of time that each injectable lasts.
"People believe there’s a set time limit, but that’s
the biggest misconception. Articles and ads make sure to say 'it lasts
up to,'” says Frank. It's not a hard-and-fast guarantee
that the same will hold true for you. It simply means that when it was
being tested, this was the longest it lasted. Many factors affect the
longevity of the results, including which product is used and where it’s
injected in the face. Rather than getting hung up on a set time frame,
Frank suggests focusing on when you notice the effects starting to wear
off and use that as a guideline. And it’s better to come in more
frequently for subtle tweaks rather than book a yearly appointment where
you do more. “Not only does this make for a more natural result,
but it also spreads out the cost and minimizes any trauma to your face.”
And when it comes to toxin injections, if you initially do them more frequently,
you’ll eventually be able to use less and go longer in between,
says Bowe: “If you go every three months the first year, you start
to lose that muscle memory that creates the wrinkle. Over time, you’ll
be able to stretch it out to every four or six months."
4. FACT: These products are safe.
It’s understandable how the idea of deliberately injecting a known
toxin into your body can seem dangerous. But botulinum toxin was first
approved by the FDA in 1989 to treat crossed eyes and spasms of the eyelid,
and it's been used cosmetically for almost three decades. “People
also worry about allergies, but you’re more likely to have a reaction
to a vitamin or a tea that you buy in a natural-food store,” says
Bowe, who says an allergy to neurotoxin is rare (though she adds that
anyone with extensive drug allergies should be sure to mention this to
their injector). And fillers like Restylane, Juvéderm, and Belotero
use a stabilized form of hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule. To further
ensure your safety, however, it’s essential to only go to reputable
and well-trained dermatologists and plastic surgeons who are using the
actual, FDA-approved products. To that point…
5. FACT: You get what you pay for.
Now is not the time to bargain-shop. While many factors affect costs,
at the end of the day, there’s no denying that these products are
expensive, says Frank. “When you see deals and bargain prices for
injectables, you’re either getting diluted product or the injector
isn’t making money off of it. And if they’re not making any
money off of it, they’re likely just using you as practice as they
try and build a practice,” he cautions. Bottom line: Steer clear
of Internet deals or steep discounts for any kind of cosmetic injection.
Discuss your budget with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon and ask
about the variation in pricing amongst the different brands, but be ready
to pay up.
Originally featured on Allure.com