The past decade has seen the rise in popularity of injectables. It has become synonymous with the new trend of treatments. Yes, you heard me right! Tweakments: small non-surgical procedures that help you achieve their aesthetic goal. They are popular among both first-timers trying to dip their toes into the field of aesthetic medicine and seasoned veterans well versed with the ins and out of a grand multitude of procedures.
While I do agree that the widespread acceptance of aesthetic procedures has given rise to a wider market that can better cater to the needs of everyone, it does make the words of beauty that much more confusing to navigate. I don’t blame you, even I can’t keep up with the seemingly endless options that seemingly crop up of nowhere. So, I embarked on a journey into the world of injectables to better understand what exactly they do for you.
First, let’s talk Botox. With over decades of history, Botox is considered the grand-daddy of injectables. The bacterium that produced the Botulinum toxin was first discovered in the 1920s by a scientist who was trying to find a cure for a disease outbreak. However, it was not until 50 years in the 1970s that it was used to treat cross-eyes. It was then that scientist also began to notice that they managed to get rid of the wrinkles between the eyes. This neurotoxin was later approved by the FDA in the late 1980s and termed Botox.
(An interesting fact: Botox is just but one of four approved neurotoxins on the market. However, it is the one best suited to be injected into the face.)
It is best used in areas of facial expression such as frown lines and crows feet. It works its magic by blocking the action of certain nerves thus ‘paralysing’ that particular muscle and preventing it from contracting which forms the wrinkles. Another common non-aesthetic procedure that involves the use of botox is in the armpits to prevent excessive sweating (the more you know).
The summary: Botox will not work on fine lines and wrinkles caused by sagging skin but only on those caused by facial muscles.
So then what are fillers? Ever wondered how celebrities keep their plump lips and high cheekbones through the years while other people their age begin to notice sagging skins and wrinkles? Well, there is a high probability that the answer is: its fillers.
Dermal fillers are commonly used by doctors to reduce wrinkles and enhance facial features from eliminating smile lines to crafting a sharper jawline, the applications of fillers are simply endless which makes them a staple in the beauty industry. It can be split into two groups: non-permanent HA dermal fillers or the semi-permanent, bio-stimulating collagen fillers.
HA dermal fillers or hyaluronic acid is a substance that is naturally produced by our bodies that is capable of holding onto moisture in the skin. As we age, HA production slows down drastically causing the reduction in firmness to the skin. Thus HA derma fillers when injected into the face, will absorb moisture and plump up causing the return of a supple and youthful-looking appearance.
Bio-stimulating collagen fillers are another group of fillers that not only adds volume back to the face but also induces the production of collagen in the skin. The three common brands of fillers under this category are Radiesse, Sculptra and Ellanse. The difference between the three is in the ingredients that they contain which are Calcium Hydroxyapatite (CaHA), Poly-l-lactic (PLLA) and Polycaprolactone (PCL) respectively. To prevent boring you with the chemistry behind it, all three brands aims to combat the natural ageing process of the skin while boosting collagen production. However, doctors may prefer to use different brands to meet the aesthetic needs of the clients.
TLDR; if it has to do with issues regarding wrinkles as a result of muscle contractions and facial expressions, Botox would be your best bet. If it has to do with volumizing and revitalising sagging skin around the face dermal filler is the injectable for you.