Is your fear of wrinkles greater than your fear of needles? If so, there are plenty of options available to help you hold back the hands of time!
Injectables is a term used to describe a wide variety of anti-aging treatments, all of which are administered through an injections. Famous Botox is one, as well as all of the dermal fillers. Some injectables help prevent wrinkles from forming, while others smooth out lines already present or plump up the volume where skin has begun to sag or droop. Unlike surgical anti-aging treatments, injectables can be done in a short office visit without the hassle of downtime.
Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Hamawy of New Jersey gives his take on injectables and the power these non-surgical procedures offer.
Stop Wrinkles Before They Start with Botox
Everyone has heard of Botox, but not everyone understands how it works or what it does. Botox treats and prevents facial wrinkles that are the result of movement from the facial muscles. These are known as dynamic wrinkles. When you squint, the muscles around your eyes contract. As a result, the skin in that region of the face crinkles. We call those lines that appear in the corner of the eyes crow’s feet. Similarly, when you frown, the muscles between your eyes contract. Depending on how strong those muscles are, you may see one or two lines appear between the eyes. These furrows are often referred to as frown lines, or “elevens.”
In youth, dynamic wrinkles disappear when the muscles aren’t contracting. After decades of constant muscle motion, however, these wrinkles may become permanently etched in the face. When this happens, the wrinkles have become static wrinkles, meaning they are present even without muscle movement. “Eventually, you’re going to get a line,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Hamawy, who compares the wrinkle forming process to what happens when a piece of paper is folded over and over in the same place.
Botox and other neuromodulators, such as Dysport and Xeomin, all work by interfering with the muscle’s ability to contract. When the muscles can’t contract, the lines no longer form. Botox can prevent, soften and sometimes reverse facial wrinkles that are the result of muscle movement. The results typically last between 3-4 months, at which time another treatment is necessary in order to maintain.
Fillers Replace Lost Volume
As we age, our faces also lose volume. Cheeks begin to lose their fullness, the area under the eyes begins to hollow out, lips deflate, and lines appear around the mouth as fat slowly disappears. A group of injectables known as dermal fillers are used to replace lost volume in the face. The most popular type of facial fillers are composed of a material called hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body. These fillers are not permanent and typically the results last anywhere from six months to a year or more.
Juvederm and Restylane are two commonly used brands, each offering a variety of hyaluronic acids aimed at restoring lost volume in different parts of the face. For areas where the filler needs to sit close to the surface of the skin, such as under the eyes, a softer filler is used. In areas like the cheekbones where the filler is injected deeper into the face, a more firm filler is used.
The key to achieving great anti-aging results with injectables is getting an early start, says Hamawy. In his practice, he is very comfortable treating patients as young as in their twenties with Botox, as a way to prevent the wrinkles from showing up in their thirties and forties. As for fillers, the time to start is when the volume loss first becomes noticeable. For some people, this may begin in their thirties, and for others it may be later.
“Replacing volume as you lose it is going to be a lot easier than trying to replace a lot of volume after you’ve already lost a lot,” points out Hamawy. “It’s really a process more than just a treatment.”
The Limits of Injectables
There will come a point in time when injectables are no longer the answer. While fillers and Botox can counter some of the effects of aging, they can not replace a facelift or other facial plastic surgery procedures. “People get into problems when they try to replace surgery with the injectables,” points out Hamawy. “You could delay surgery, but at some point of time you’re going to reach that limit.”
It’s important to establish a relationship with a board certified plastic surgeon at the beginning of your facial rejuvenation journey. While many nurses, dermatologists and doctors also offer injectable treatments, only a plastic surgeon is equipped to understand the progression of aging and have every tool ready for every milestone.