Making the most of your Botox and Fillers

Injectables like dermal filler and Botox are excellent, non-invasive strategies for rejuvenating the aging face. A skilled injector can take years off your appearance. Neurotoxins (like Botox) work their magic for three to four months, and filler (such as Juvederm or Vollure) can last from 6 months to two years. (The exception to this is Bellafill, a filler that lasts a minimum of five years.*) Longevity depends on the product chosen, treatment location, and the metabolism and lifestyle of the individual.

After an aesthetic treatment, I want the improvements made to my face to last as long as possible. There are actually things I can do to help maintain my treatment. And likewise, things that will cause my injectables to degrade faster.

 

Skincare

The right skincare products used along with fillers and neurotoxin help improve and extend your results. Keeping skin hydrated can enhance the effect of fillers, as can drinking plenty of water. Hyaluronic acid (which many fillers are made from) is like a moisture magnet, helping your cells retain as much water as possible. More moisture equals hydrated, plump, smooth skin.

There are even specific products made to be used in conjunction with fillers and neurotoxins, such as Revision Skincare’s Revox 7. It’s formulated to help relax facial muscles, which should help neurotoxin last longer.

Revision Revox 7: click image for more info

Another example is Skinmedica’s HA5 Smooth and Plump Lip System. Used in conjunction with lip filler it enhances and prolongs your result.

SkinMedica HA5 Smooth and Plump Lip System: click image for more info

Taking great care of your skin will mean you need less intervention to stay looking fabulous down the road too.

It’s also important not to be too rough with your skin after treatments with fillers or Botox. Scrubbing or aggressively massaging your face could cause fillers to shift, or freshly injected neurotoxin to migrate to other parts of the face. This can lead to unwanted effects like a drooping eyebrow or asymmetry.

Sunscreen

It goes without saying when it comes to good skincare, but it’s important to note that UV rays can cause certain fillers to break down more rapidly. It’s believed that the heat from the sun boosts blood circulation which speeds up the body’s metabolism of the product. If that wasn’t enough, UV rays are the number one cause of wrinkles and aging of the skin. The sun may be degrading your filler prematurely, but perhaps worse, it’s degrading your own collagen.

Exercise

People that are very active are likely to go through toxin and filler more quickly. Don’t let this stop you from working out, however! It may just help to know that overdoing exercise will lead to needing more frequent touch-ups. The same applies to people who have a speedy metabolism. In a previous post, I talked about metabolizing filler very rapidly and said that my doctor at the time suspected it was because I’m hypermetabolic.

Many people grimace or scowl when working out and these are the type of expressions that lead to dynamic wrinkles. Remember that Botox eliminates lines by relaxing the face, something that doesn’t always come easy during extreme exercise.

The Zinc Link

A study by Charles Soparkar, MD., Ph.D. determined that starting a zinc supplement called Zytase four days before neurotoxin injections increases the degree and duration of the neurotoxin’s effects. The supplement seemed to help the injections take effect faster as well.

Zytase is a combination of zinc and phytase. Phytase is an enzyme that helps with zinc absorption.

It turns out that botulinum toxin must adhere to a molecule of zinc to be activated. This explains why people with zinc deficiencies often don’t have satisfying results with neurotoxins. Zytase is available by prescription and costs around eighty dollars for ten pills. Some people find that taking an ordinary zinc supplement before injections enhances and prolongs their results. Neurotoxins require a baseline level of zinc be present in the body to work as intended. The researchers noted that much of the general population is zinc deficient.

The results of the study were consistent whether the neurotoxin used was Botox, Myobloc, or Dysport.

Nutrition

Your diet has a significant impact on your appearance. You are what you eat, after all. In this post, I wrote about how excess sugar can take a toll on collagen. Along with processed, packaged foods, sugar in your diet will lead to inflammation which can speed up the rate at which your body metabolizes filler. Not to mention what it does to your skin and overall energy level.

Stress Management

High stress levels cause cortisol and other hormones to be released that can wreak havoc on the body. Stress hormones rapidly enhance the signs of aging. You can prolong the effect of your fillers and Botox just by preventing more unnecessary aging and damage from occurring. Your filler could be 98% intact, but if constant undue stress is aging you, you might start to look like you could benefit from more.

Stress can also cause us to repeatedly contort our faces in ways we’re often not even conscious of.  Finding time for meditation, yoga, fun, and relaxation is an excellent way to combat stress.

Touch-Ups

I know, I know, this post is supposed to be about avoiding having to go for touch-ups. But hear me out. Sometimes a few weeks after having dermal filler injected you’ll notice that you could maybe already use some more product. It’s possible that you needed a bit more to begin with, and were initially appreciating some extra fullness as a result of swelling.

Another tip is to get your filler touched-up before the results of your previous treatment have worn off completely. You’ll need less product for the same effect, and the more often you have filler injected, the longer it tends to lasts. Remember that dermal filler encourages the production of collagen too.

Repeat Botox treatments habituate overactive muscles in your face to relax, leading to a more extended period of smoothness between treatments each time. Getting Botox touched-up just before the previous treatment wears off entirely ensures those specific muscles remain trained.

Important note: Many dermal fillers can be dissolved by your injector if you’re unhappy with the outcome of your injections. If you want this option, ask for a hyaluronic acid filler.

*While Bellafill can’t be dissolved, gradual treatments by a qualified injector are your best choice for a lasting result. Read more about Bellafill and how it works, plus check out my before and after pictures here.

Further Reading/ References:

J Drugs Dermatol. 2012;11(4):507-512. Effect of Dietary Zinc and Phytase Supplementation on Botulinum Toxin Treatments

Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 253–258. Hyaluronic Acid: A key molecule in skin aging.

Acta Biomater. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jul 1. Applications and Emerging Trends of Hyaluronic Acid in Tissue Engineering, as a Dermal Filler, and in Osteoarthritis Treatment

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