Aging, love it or hate it, is a natural process that’s impossible to halt. With the passing of time, the effects of aging is most notable on our skin. Showing most on the face, through wrinkles and loss of volume, aging depends largely on genetics, health choices and external factors. Despite being inevitable, all is not lost because it is possible to hide the effects of aging with two simple, non-surgical cosmetic procedures: Botox and fillers.
Botox and fillers are for what creams and makeup cannot do. Without having to go under the knife, these injectables will make you look like you’ve just come from The Fountain of Youth. Besides using Botox and fillers for the purpose of hiding one’s age, they’re also being used for other purposes – from lip augmentation, to drooping/lifting facial features, and building facial structure. While Botox and fillers continue to soar in popularity, there’s still somewhat of a stigma associated with the treatments and misconceptions have been formed along the way. Well, I’m here to debunk and inform – read on!
Cover photo via Medical News Today
#1 Botox and fillers are the same.
Botox and fillers are two completely different treatments. Together they can complement one another, but they both produce different outcomes.
Botox (botulinum toxin) is a neurotoxin derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Prior to the treatment, Botox has to be diluted with saline. Botox is then injected into the desired muscle and works by blocking nerve signals that make the muscle contract. Once the Botox kicks in (up to 14 days to take effect), the injected muscle will no longer contract, causing wrinkles to relax and soften, preventing them from deepening. Botox can also be used to lift eyebrows, eliminate a gummy smile, slim the jawline, treat migraines and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
On the other hand, fillers are made from hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a clear gel substance that retains water and is naturally produced within our bodies. There are a variety of fillers available varying in thickness and consistency. Fillers can be used to fill tear troughs for a more “awake” look. They can also be used to fill deep lines, such as nasolabial folds. Since they take shape, fillers can be used to define as well, (e.g. lips, cheekbones, nose bridge, jawline). Unlike Botox, results are immediate.
#2 If you don’t like your results, you’re stuck with them.
You won’t be stuck with your results forever; Botox and fillers are temporary. In the case of Botox, you’ll have to wait for it to wear off. Botox lasts for three to six months, but if you’re someone that’s very active and expressive, your Botox may last closer to three months.
As for fillers, they last for about six months to a year, depending on the person and type of filler used. HA is naturally broken down by the body over time. However, if you’re not happy with your results, you won’t have to wait it out as you would with Botox. Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that’s used to dissolve HA. When injected into the filled area, the hyaluronidase acts as a reverse agent and causes the HA to break down at an accelerated rate. It’ll take 24 to 48 hours to see results. One round may be enough, but sometimes two to three rounds are required to fully dissolve the filler. Hyaluronidase costs extra, but it’s a great option to have if you’re not happy with the results.
#3 You’ll look fake and frozen.
Some people like to look stiff and ultra plump, some don’t. The results that you want to achieve has to be discussed between you and your injector – that’s why consultations exist. Not only is it important to find a highly experienced injector that will listen to you, but it’s also important for you to communicate your expectations. Presenting photos of the results you desire will help get both you and your injector on the same page. If you’re not happy with the outcome of your consultation, you can always seek another injector.
Results aren’t supposed to be drastic – they’re supposed to appear natural and proportionate. For Botox, unless you’re asking for a lot of it and your injector agrees to it, you will not look frozen. For fillers, it’s great to start off small and then build on results if needed. Botox and fillers are supposed to refresh and rejuvenate – subtlety is best.
#4 It’s extremely painful and requires loads of downtime.
The needle used for Botox is short and small, so pain is usually minimal. The feeling is comparable to a mosquito bite or a small pinch. There is zero downtime, so you’ll be able to carry on with your day. However, it’s advised that you shouldn’t lay down for four hours afterwards. You also shouldn’t exercise until 24 hours have passed. This is to avoid the risk of pressure on the treated areas – it could cause your Botox to migrate. There’s very little bleeding, if any, and bruising is uncommon.
As for fillers, it’ll hurt a bit more than Botox. Depending on the injection site and whether or not it has a lot of nerve endings, you may feel pressure and no pain, or you may feel pain that’s comparable to a sting. A lot of fillers now contain lidocaine, which is an anesthetic that numbs to help with pain. Bruising and swelling, however, is more common when it comes to fillers. To reduce the risk of bleeding and bruising, it’s advised that you avoid blood thinning medication one week prior to your appointment and avoid drinking alcohol 24 hours prior as well. Taking Arnica and eating pineapple before and after is known to help alleviate bruising. As for swelling, icing afterwards will help. Again, you can carry on with your day afterwards. However, don’t drink alcohol or exercise for 24 hours after your treatment to avoid additional bruising. Also if you do bruise, there’s nothing makeup can’t hide!
#5 There’s no such thing as preventative Botox.
False. When used as a preventative measure, Botox is much more effective in the long run. Depending on how expressive your face is, even in your 20’s you might already have fine lines and wrinkles. Preventative Botox will help lines from settling in over time. If the area is continually treated with Botox, it’ll eventually require less Botox and you’ll be able to go longer in between appointments.
If you’re interested in getting either Botox or fillers, please do your research. It’s important to seek an educated and highly knowledgeable injector with years of experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be tempted by clinics that offer cheap prices. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”
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