So, you’re thinking about getting cosmestic injections…

Perhaps you’ve considered getting fillers or Botox, but you’re still on the fence or you’re just not sure where to start. I remember the first time I visited a plastic surgeon to have filler injected. I was nervous and excited. I’d done a lot of research beforehand, so I figured I more or less knew what to expect.

All of my homework did very little for my nerves, but it ended up being an exciting and gratifying experience. I left wondering why I had stared in the mirror at that line for so long when it took five minutes to make it vanish. For me, the money spent was well worth no longer having to see the pesky smile line that had etched itself onto one side of my mouth. (Apparently, I have a crooked smile. I’ve come to grips with it, haha.)

Since that day almost a decade ago, I’ve made numerous trips to a few different practitioners for filler, Botox, laser treatments, or PDO thread lifting. I started a little earlier than many women I know, but I wasn’t alone. Prejuvenation is a term coined by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS). It refers to women starting non-invasive beauty treatments early to prevent aging. The facial muscles that cause wrinkles can be trained to move less using treatments like Botox, and filler and PDO threads can help in the fight against gravity. So, you don’t have to wait until you’re old and wrinkled to make that appointment. In fact, waiting can be a bad thing. Prevention is so much easier than repair.

Preparing for Injections

Dermal fillers and Botox are minimally invasive and only take a matter of minutes, but they require some forethought and preparation.

 1.Who Will Be Doing the Injections 

The importance of choosing the right injector cannot be overstated. (It’s first on the list for a reason.)

Injecting is a skill, but there is also an element of art involved. Do your homework, and make sure the injector you select is credentialed. Knowing how to properly inject product is of vital importance, but you also want someone who has a discerning eye and will properly assess your face for balance and symmetry.

Some practitioners are conservative in their approach—while others might favor a less natural aesthetic. This is why it’s important to see multiple photographs of patients they’ve treated.

If you know anyone who has had fillers/Botox injected and you love the way they look, find out where they go.  

You’ll want to go for a consultation. This will give you the opportunity to talk to the injector and get a feel for them. After your consultation, you can take some time to think things over. Sometimes you just get a feeling from someone (good or bad). 

 2.Your Budget  

When it comes to cosmetic injections, you tend to get what you pay for. Prices will vary depending on the product and where you live, but fillers usually cost between $500 to $2000 per syringe. Botox (or other brands of botulinum toxin like Dysport and Xeomin) start at about $300 and up, per treatment. You will often see prices for botulinum toxin listed by the unit–on average you’re likely to see a cost of around 10-20$ per unit. Should you need 30 units to treat your forehead area, a rate of 10$ a unit is then 300$. The injector will determine how many units you require.

Should you see a price that seems too good to be true, be wary of possible shady practices such as diluting product or illegal purchase of black-market knockoffs from China. These are not things you want to have put in your face! While you might think you’re saving money, you will spend much more money trying to undo the damage that is done in the long run. 

 While at your consultation be sure that your budget is in line with what the injector suggests. Be sure the injector is aware of your budget as well, to avoid any confusion.  

 3.Your Expectations  

A good idea is to bring in a picture of yourself from when you were in your twenties. A good injector’s goal should be to rejuvenate your face so that you look like the best possible version of you. You shouldn’t leave looking like someone else. You may be going for injections because of a specific area of concern, but be open to suggestions. A skilled injector sees your face much differently than you or I do.  Often you don’t realize that a “problem area” is linked to another area somehow. My personal experience with Bellafill is an excellent example of this. Be open to suggestions from your injector. Their understanding of facial anatomy goes a long way toward helping you look your best.

And don’t be afraid to let your injector know if you’re not happy or your expectations aren’t met. If your expectations aren’t realistic for whatever reason, this should be made clear to you during your consult.

4. Which Product 

 

 There are so many different types of injectable dermal fillers available today, it sometimes feels difficult to keep up.  A good injector will know which is the best choice for the part of the face they’re treating.

The majority of dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid (a sugary substance that occurs naturally in the body and can hold 1,000 times its weight in water). What sets them apart is the way the particles of hyaluronic acid are linked together. This changes the density, lifting capabilities and movement of the product slightly, giving a different result when injected under the skin. There are only a few available at this time that are not hyaluronic acid-based: Bellafill, Radiesse, and Sculptra (Sculptra is a very different filler altogether—it’s known as a stimulator, as it stimulates the production of your collagen.)  Often your injector will mix and match products to achieve the best result.   

5.What you can do before and after injections (preparation and aftercare) 

You may require multiple treatments to arrive at your desired aesthetic outcome. So, if you have an event in mind that you want to look spectacular for, it’s a good idea to allow up to three months.

Not everyone will bruise, but there’s always the chance for some minor bruising after injections. Therefore, it’s a good idea to schedule appointments at least a week or two before any event where you’ll want to appear bruise-free. Below are some tips to avoid/minimize bruising.

 

How you can prepare for injections: 

  • Don’t take any aspirin, ibuprofen or similar products (Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.) for 2 weeks prior to injections as they thin your blood, increasing the likelihood of bruising.

 

  • Avoid fish oil, Vitamin E, and gingko biloba for 2 weeks prior to injections (as these can thin your blood as well). 

 

  • Take a bromelain supplement for both a week before and after injections. A dose of 250 mg taken three times daily is helpful for the treatment of bruising. It is thought to work by clearing the metabolic waste that shows up as a bruise.
VitaMedica Bromelain with Quercetin 38$-click for website
  • Take arnica montana pellets (a homeopathic medication) for a week before and after injections to prevent and help heal bruises. 
VitaMedica Arnica Montana 18$-click for website
arnica montana at vitamin or health food stores usually looks like this (or very similar)
  • Eat spinach, kale, and celery the week before to boost your levels of Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps speed healing and reduce swelling and bruising. (People with a Vitamin K deficiency tend to bruise more easily.)

 

  • Purchase an arnica cream or gel to apply to any bruised areas after injections. You can also buy a product called VitaMedica that contains both Arnica and vitamin K to apply.   
VitaMedica Arnica+K Cream 22$-click for website
Regular Arnica Gel or Cream is available at your pharmacy or local natural/health food store

Aftercare and what to expect after injectables:

Botox/Dysport (botulinum toxin):

• It takes about 7-10 days to see the full effect of Botox or 4-7 days for Dysport

• Do not lay down or exercise the day of your treatment and try to sleep elevated that night. You want the product to stay where it was injected.

• Try not to rub or massage the injected area because the botulinum toxin can migrate to another area of the face.

• Do not ice the injection site. While this used to be common practice, new research shows that it can slow the uptake of the toxin into the muscle.

• Apply an arnica gel or cream to any bruises. Continue taking arnica montana, Bromelain, and eating plenty of greens for one week following injections should you bruise.

Dermal Fillers

• The most common side effects are bruising and swelling–you will especially see this in sensitive areas such as the lips. Be aware that much of what you see initially is swelling.

• You should avoid intense physical activity for 24-48 hours to minimize bruising and swelling.

• Temporary numbness or redness is normal.

• Lumps or hard areas at the injection site are a possibility and should be temporary. Contact your injector if after seven to ten days they remain.

• Apply an arnica gel or cream to any bruises. Continue taking arnica montana, Bromelain, and eating plenty of greens for one week following injections should you bruise.

• Often repeat visits are required to build up lost volume

7How Long Your Results Will Last

 

Many factors affect the longevity of your results. The product used makes a difference, as certain fillers last longer than others. The amount injected matters, as sometimes a very small amount doesn’t last as long as larger volumes of filler do (or sometimes it just seems that way). Where you’re injected with filler makes a difference, as the more movement an area of the face experiences, the quicker filler will break down there.

Your personal metabolism will make a difference. I metabolize filler super quickly, unfortunately, so I prefer Bellafill whenever possible over hyaluronic acid fillers. But as a general rule, botulinum toxin lasts anywhere from four to six months, and hyaluronic acid fillers can last from about six to eighteen months, depending on which product you choose.

Bellafill lasts five years or more. Sculptra is said to last up to two years.  

If you like the look you achieve with cosmetic fillers, think of it as another part of your beauty routine that requires maintenance; much like getting your hair cut or colored every so often.  

If you’re ever unhappy with the results of your injections, hyaluronic acid injections are reversible. There is an enzyme that dissolves the filler completely within 24 hours. Botulinum toxin is not reversible, however. If it’s your very first time having botulinum toxin injected, a good injector will start with slightly less, knowing that more can always be added at a later appointment. Luckily the results aren’t permanent either, so worst-case you wait 4-6 months for the effect to gradually wear off.

 

If you’re someone who has never done cosmetic injections, and you’re considering taking the leap, I’d love to hear from you! In fact, I’d love to hear anyone’s comments or stories about their experiences with dermal fillers/Botox, etc.

 

 

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