It’s been a hot second since I’ve done a skincare ABC’s post. To be perfectly honest, I got stuck in a rut when I came across the letter “I”. While there are a handful of common skincare ingredients starting with the letter “I”, the majority of them fall into the “not-so-good-for-your-skin” category, or I’ve basically already addressed them (ie: antioxidants, etc.) I debated for WEEKS on whether or not to skip this letter of the alphabet entirely, or just do something a little wild.
I’m super type-A, so it should come as no surprise I couldn’t bear to just skip a letter of the alphabet. Instead, I’m talking about something that isn’t quite considered a skin care ingredient, but is very much an established part of the world’s anti-aging regimen. Today, we’ll be discussing Injectibles.
What are Injectibles?
Injectibles include a range of products that get literally injected into your face. Yes, like with a needle. The first thing that pops into most people’s minds is Botox. However, injectibles actually span a large variety of products with similar mechanisms to Botox, as well as ones drastically different. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll address two different categories of injectibles.
Category 1: Neurotoxins.
This category is what most people think of, like Botox. These injections cause temporary paralysis of facial muscles, leading to muscle relaxation, and essentially the “relaxing away” of wrinkles. These are usually used to treat areas such as the forehead (horizontal lines), between the eyebrows (11’s), crows feet, and sometimes even the under eye area.
Category 2: Fillers.
This category adds targeted volume to areas we want to grow, such as the lips, cheeks, and any areas that may hollow out or lose volume as we age. The main ingredient in these injections is hyaluronic acid, which is also a common skincare ingredient.
How do they work?
Over time, the repeated contraction of facial muscles from squinting, frowning, or moving your eyebrows up and down will cause skin folding/furrowing that can develop into more pronounced facial lines. Neurotoxins such as Botox and Dysport can be injected beneath the skin, into facial muscle tissue to reduce (aka paralyze) muscles. “Freezing” of these facial muscles prevents the contractions that cause further wrinkles, as well as “smoothing out” existing skin folds. You can start to see an improvement in fine lines as soon as 24-48 hours after treatment, and treatments can last 3-4 months depending on your individual metabolism, as well as the quantity of product used.
To dive a little deeper, the specific product Botox is made up of a neurotoxin called Botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is a chemical produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botox was first approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002, and has been studied in almost 500 clinical trials. There are several other brand names of injectible neurotoxins such as Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau.
Most dermal fillers primary ingredient is hyaluronic acid (read more on that ingredient here). Hyaluronic acid (HA) is already naturally found in the body, including in the skin. You’ll find especially high concentrations of hyaluronic acid in your connective tissues, fluid in the eye area, cartilage and joint fluids. They are used to treat loss of volume and wrinkles that result from aging: aka the loss of collagen, and loss of natural subcutaneous fat (thin layer of fat right under the skin) that occurs as we get older. The loss of skin firmness and fat as we age can lead to sagging of the skin, and more pronounced wrinkles since the skin will be laying more closely on top of the facial muscles. Of course, fillers can also be used in areas where we never had very much volume to begin with. For example, dermal fillers are used to boost volume in the lips (aka: lip injections).
Some common brands of HA fillers are: Captique, Elevess, Hylaform, Esthelis, Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane, and Puragen. The results from these fillers will be immediate, and could last as long as a year, depending on the product and volume injected. There will be some swelling immediately following injection, but this typically goes away after a day or two.
Things to Consider Before Treatment?
This question is probably the most critical one of all when considering adding injectibles to your skin care regimen. Depending on your state, the rules and regulations for who can preform injections will vary. In TN, you can have injections preformed by anyone licensed and trained to do so, including a nurse, doctor, or esthetician. While there are certainly some doctors out there with much more skill and practice with injections, a higher title does NOT necessarily mean a doctor will be better skilled than a nurse or esthetician. This is why it is SO important to do your homework before ever allowing someone to inject you! Research local injectors in your area, and be sure to read reviews on the establishment, as well as check out photographs of their work (especially of the person who will be injecting you!).
While in many cases with skincare, you can buy inexpensive products and get great results, this is the one area I would exercise extreme caution. A groupon deal for Botox might sound like the best way to afford a pricey treatment, but if your injector sucks, you’ll end up spending a lot more to fix their mistakes.
Injectables can be complete game-changers for anyone serious about changing their skin. Unlike normal skincare products, the expense and longer-lasting effect of these treatments means you should diligently research your injector to make sure you are getting the product and treatment that is right for you!
Do you have any other questions about injectables that didn’t get answered? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,
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