Written by Dr Catharine Denning for Doctify
Dr Catharine Denning tells us everything you need to know about aesthetic injectables and how to find the right Doctor for your treatment.
What are injectables?
Aesthetic injectables is a broad term which, up until the last few years, constituted of two treatments: Anti-wrinkle injections and Fillers. However, a growing aspiration to look well-rested and well-hydrated (not to mention younger) in the most natural way possible has driven a broader choice of injectable treatments to the market.
Cosmetic injectable treatments can be used for a variety of indications and largely have a greater longevity and potency than topical skincare.
Injectables Available from your Aesthetic Doctor & What they Mean for you
Anti-Wrinkle Injectables – a series of small does injections of ‘Botulinum toxin’ into muscles of the face and neck. These injections work by blocking the nerve signals to certain muscles, which become more relaxed. This in turn reduces and prevents the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the skin. Effects last around 4 months. These same injections can be used in other areas of the body to reduce sweating also.
Filler – Soft tissue fillers are used to replace either structure or volume to the face in specific areas. There are a number of different types of filler but the safest and most commonly used in recent years are those made of hyaluronic acid. This is a soft, clear gel that is found naturally in our skin and can be used to replace the volume and structural degradation associated with the aging process. This helps to give aging skin support and strength in order to minimize wrinkles and skin laxity. Soft tissue fillers are also used to volumize areas of the face to give patients of all ages more facial balance. There is more demand recently for volumization procedures, such as the lips or cheekbones in younger patients who wish to enhance their natural features. Effects last from months to years depending on why type of filler and where it is injected.
Skin Boosters – Skin Boosters are micro-injections of very light hyaluronic acid soft tissue fillers just under the skin. Unlike traditional fillers, skin boosters are not injected to volumize or shape the face. Instead, they are very thin dermal fillers that are injected superficially into the skin to hydrate and improve skin quality. Generally, the effects of this are shorter lived than heavier, more structural soft tissue fillers.
Bio-Remodelling Injections – as a recent addition to the injectables offering, Bio-Remodelling Injections, or products such as Profhilo are made of hyaluronic acid and are in between a Filler and a Skin Booster. A course of this treatment involved a series of specifically placed skin injections that work by stimulating the body’s own collagen and elastin making properties to help the body rebuild the soft tissues that naturally degrade with age. The immediate effect of this treatment is similar to that of Skin Boosters but have the added longer-term effect of deeper skin plumping from the bio-remodeling properties, usually seen a few months following treatment.
** Botulinum toxin has been used in both cosmetic and non-cosmetic medicine for decades and has a very good safety profile (though this is variable in different people).**
Are Injectables Reversible?
Anti-wrinkle injections while not reversible as such, usually start working after a few days to 2 weeks post injection and last around 4 months (though this can vary).
There are types of filler which are irreversible. However, the most commonly used injectables are made of hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring substance in the skin and will break down over time. If you are unhappy with results or if complications arise an enzyme named Hyaluronidase can be injected to reverse the treatment.
What are the Most Popular Injectables?
In my practice, the Cavendish Clinic, anti-wrinkle injections closely followed by soft tissue fillers are the most requested injectables. Having said that more and more patients are requesting Bio-remodelling and skin boosters, so watch this space!
Are there Side Effects?
As with any medical intervention, there are possible side effects of injectables. I always tell my patients that I am introducing a needle into the skin, therefore, there is a possibility of bruising and swelling.
What is the Recovery Time?
This can vary from no recovery time (such as with Botox treatments) to a few days of bruising depending on what product is injected in which area. For example, areas surrounding the lips are more vascular and thus more likely to bruise. Bruising may fade after a week, however, usually the time frame is shorter and after a 24 hour period, any bruising can be covered with makeup if necessary.
What to Look for When Choosing a Doctor to Carry out Your Procedure
Are they a medical professional, registered with an accountable body (e.g General Medical Council)? – Doctors registered with a professional medical body are regulated and examined annually to ensure they are a safe practitioner. As a patient, it is important that you are protected by than body and therefore exposed to less risk.
Does your Doctor have the ability to prescribe? – The prescribing ability means that in the unlikely event of something going wrong, your practitioner can prescribe medication for filler reversal agents, skin infection or treatment for severe allergy/anaphylaxis.
Do they take a full medical, allergy and medication history? – It is incredibly important to remember that injectables are non-essential medical interventions and has some risks associated with them. It is your practitioner’s responsibility to asses from a medical point of view if it is safe to inject you. There are some medications and medical conditions that put you at higher risk of complications from injections. If you are a female of childbearing age, please do not be offended if your practitioner asks if you are pregnant or breastfeeding ( in fact you should be worried if they don’t!), as we would not want to put you or a baby at risk unnecessarily.
Do they take pictures before and after? – This is the gold standard for Cosmetic Medicine and an insurance company requirement. It also allows you and your Doctor to track progress, as well as enable you to see angles of yourself which you are unable to view and will be affected by treatment.
How many procedures have they done? – It is not inappropriate to ask your practitioner how many procedures they have performed – you do not want to be someone’s guinea pig!
What products does your Doctor use? – There are many rogue products on the market that are not EU approved and so their safety cannot be assured. Be sure to ask your practitioner what products they use and why.
Can you practitioner treat possible complications or unwanted results? – It is unlikely for something to go wrong with your procedure but, as with any medical intervention, there are possible complications. It is important that your injector warns you of possible problems and has the relevant training to manage issues safely and effectively. If you are unsure or have questions be sure to ask these prior to treatment.
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