With the surging popularity of nonsurgical cosmetic treatments like Botox® and dermal fillers, it is not surprising that a number of myths have surfaced to muddy the waters. When considering these types of treatments, patients should take the time to differentiate between myth and reality before making any decisions.
Myth: Botox® and dermal fillers do the same thing.
Reality: While Botox® and dermal fillers are both nonsurgical cosmetic treatments that can be used to improve a person’s appearance by diminishing lines and wrinkles, they work in completely different ways.As a neurotoxin, Botox® temporarily paralyzes the muscles that lead to the formation of dynamic lines, wrinkles that are the result of smiling, frowning and other movements. With the muscles relaxed, the skin above them lies smoothly. In contrast, dermal fillers add volume beneath the skin’s surface. Plumping up the skin can soften any visible lines and improve facial balance.
Myth: Botox® is toxic.
Reality: Botox® is prescribed by doctors to safely and effectively treat a variety of issues. Many substances, including several common medications, have the potential to make people sick if they are exposed to them in excessive quantities; the same substances can offer huge benefits in the proper dose. While the term neurotoxin may sound frightening, botulinum toxin protein is a useful addition to a doctor’s toolkit. It can be used to treat migraines, muscle spasms, excessive sweating and overactive bladder, in addition to cosmetic indications.
Myth: Dermal fillers are interchangeable.
Reality: There are several kinds of dermal fillers, and they serve different purposes. Dermal fillers are used to treat lines, wrinkles and loss of volume in specific areas of the face, and different fillers are used in different areas. The expected results of the injection of a dermal filler also vary depending on the patient’s anatomy and the product used. With the ever-expanding array of nonsurgical cosmetics, how can patients determine which filler will best help them meet their own aesthetic goals? A consultation with a plastic surgeon is an invaluable resource; these professionals can explain the pros and cons of specific fillers, educate patients about where each filler is utilized, answer questions about the dosages required, and provide patients with a clear idea of what to expect.
Myth: Everyone will know.
Reality: Injectables create a natural, refreshed look, so it is not obvious that a person has undergone this kind of treatment. When administered by a skilled professional, injectables deliver subtle improvements. Our goals are for our patients to have a natural looking result, so while others may notice a new vibrancy, it is unlikely that they will know that anything was done unless the patient chooses to tell them.
Myth: Getting injectables hurts.
Reality: Patient comfort is a priority for most providers, and they have several tricks of the trade to lessen the inevitable sting of receiving an injection. Very few people are fond of needles, and it is impossible for patients to benefit from injectables without getting a few shots. While pain tolerance varies from patient to patient, most patients report only minor discomfort. Topical anesthetics can be used to numb the treatment area, and many nonsurgical cosmetics can be mixed with lidocaine to reduce the potential for pain. Needle size is also a factor; the higher its gauge, the thinner the needle is. Studies show that using higher gauge needles makes the injection of nonsurgical cosmetics more comfortable.
Myth: Anyone can administer injectables.
Reality: Botox® and dermal fillers should only be administered by a trained professional like a board certified plastic surgeon or nurse injector. There are many individual muscles in the human face. In order to achieve natural results with a nonsurgical cosmetic treatment like Botox® or a filler, it is crucial that the person doing the injecting understands both the anatomy involved and how it interacts with the injectable being used. The rules for who may legally offer injectables are set by the states, and some areas do not require much in the way of training for certification. This means that it is vital that prospective patients do their homework and select a provider with the appropriate training and experience.
Myth: Once a person starts getting Botox® or dermal fillers, they cannot stop.
Reality: Patients can stop getting injections of Botox® or dermal fillers at any time. Doing so does not make wrinkles and lines worse; it simply allows the normal development of wrinkles to resume. Because injectables offer temporary results, patients who want to sustain their effects must continue the treatments. The proper maintenance interval depends on the individual, the location treated and the product used, so patients should speak with their doctor about when they need to schedule their next treatment.
While many myths flourish, the truth is that nonsurgical cosmetics are a fantastic choice for patients who want a more youthful, balanced appearance but are not yet ready for a surgical procedure like a facelift. Botox® and various dermal fillers can be combined to create a personalized facial rejuvenation treatment that addresses a patient’s unique needs and goals.