The elephant in the room.
Cosmetic injectables can herald the slide down a very slippery slope.
You may know someone who’s had one injectable too many. Do you say something? Probably not.
But like the elephant in the room, the sooner someone talks about it, the better everyone feels.. maybe not the elephant.. but you know, they’ll thank you later.
So let’s talk about it.
The elephant today? Cosmetic medicine, but to be more specific, cosmetic injectables.
The two most commonly used cosmetic injectables are anti-wrinkle injectables, also known as muscle relaxants and dermal fillers, which are gel-like in texture and usually consist of the filling agent hyaluronic acid, which plumps up lines and wrinkles and is not permanent. However, the effects can last quite a while.
Your reasons for deciding to partake in cosmetic injectables could be to capture a more youthful appearance or to augment features you’re not so happy with.
Today, let’s focus on cosmetic injectables to minimise an aged appearance.
The anatomy and formation of a wrinkle.
Believe it or not, there are two types of wrinkles. Dynamic and static wrinkles. So what’s the difference, and does it matter?
The dynamic wrinkle.
Our facial expressions and movements cause what’s known as a dynamic wrinkle and can appear as frown lines (between the eyebrows), forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet at the corners of your eyes, and smile lines in the mid-cheek and lip lines.
When our expression is relaxed, our skin and underlying facial muscle bounce back. Once you relax your face, these dynamic wrinkles will disappear.
Since birth, your facial muscles have repeatedly contracted and relaxed. Every facial expression is activated by a muscle contraction.
Eventually, those muscles cease to bounce back and remain slightly contracted. This is where an anti-wrinkle injection can be useful in relaxing muscle contractions and preventing the permanency of a wrinkle.
Anti-wrinkle injectables contain botulinum neurotoxin, which, when injected into the muscle, will temporarily relax and restrain muscle movement in the area, preventing expression.
The onset of a static wrinkle.
With time, the skin that lays over the muscle develops a permanent crease and eventually a wrinkle; this is known as a static wrinkle. A wrinkle that remains after the muscle contraction is in a relaxed state.
Static wrinkles are exacerbated by a loss of collagen and elastin, and the skin loses its natural flexibility leaving behind lines and wrinkles.
The loss of these essential structures is hastened by sun exposure, poor nutrition, genetics and an overload of free radical activators such as pollutants, air-borne toxins, alcohol and smoking. This is where dermal fillers can be useful to fill in those lines, wrinkles and folds.
Dermal fillers fill wrinkles and create volume where it is lost. Most commonly, the area is injected with hyaluronic acid. A temporary filling agent, which, as it fills the line or wrinkle, will also stimulate new collagen in the area, so a short-term fix with long-term benefits.
Do you do it?
The pressure to conform or look a certain way is enormous in this youth-obsessed world.
So, before you consider going down this path, a healthy perspective might be the first step in your journey into cosmetic injectables.
Should you change your appearance or leave it all as nature intended and age gracefully?
Like so many things in life, it’s all about balance and moderation. A balanced view, a healthy perspective and a moderate approach to cosmetic injectables might be helpful.
All this and finding a cosmetic medical professional who can provide you with cosmetic solutions with integrity and precision.
Deciding to embark on any cosmetic injectable should always be undertaken by a medical professional with a thorough consultation where all your needs are taken into account over and above whatever ‘look’ might be trending.
Who to trust? Let’s take a look.
I’ve anointed three titles to the medical professionals working in the field of cosmetic medicine; they’re made up, but for me, they express the type of cosmetic medical professional you might meet in your quest to find the right person to enhance your facial features. They are the artist, the enthusiast and the novice.
1 The Cosmetic Artist.
A cosmetic medical professional dedicated to cosmetic medicine and practising their craft daily.
Only adding enough to make the most subtle changes and improvements.
They know where to place the injection, which muscle to relax, and the folds, creases or wrinkles to fill.
There is nothing left to chance. An experienced cosmetic professional knows the face. Not what you see, but what lies beneath.
Like a musician who sees and hears the space between each note, they see you; it is their art.
2 The Cosmetic Enthusiast.
They will inspire you with their perceived genius, and their power to make a change, so you feel better about your appearance is at the heart of their enthusiasm, which may very well be your undoing.
A cosmetic enthusiast will look at what they can do, which may or may not suit you.
In this case, you may get more than you bargained for. Often the enthusiast has a distorted view of their own beauty and appearance.
You have to decide if you want to be treated by someone who, however well-meaning, has lost their own perspective.
3 The Cosmetic Novice
Well, you know the answer to this, but how do you know they’re a novice? To be fair, everyone has to start somewhere, but it doesn’t have to be with you.
So, if you’re worried, just ask.
It goes like this.
→ How long have they been injecting?
→ How much training have they had?
→ Who do they work with, or should I say, who has mentored them, and how often do they inject?
Like all things, practice makes perfect, and when it comes to your face, you don’t want a novice unless you’ve agreed to be part of a teaching session. In this case, someone with exceptional experience should be present.
Think of it this way. It’s a bit like flying; how many hours in the flight simulator will make all the difference to the pilot’s skill. Right?
No cosmetic injectable will ever take the place of healthy skin.
Burning the candles at both ends.
A poor diet, lacking nutrition.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
All these things will contribute to leathery, wrinkly, pigmented skin.
Nothing will make you look more youthful than a change in your attitude and lifestyle. Hoping for a cure-all in cosmetic injectables may not be the answer.
Lifestyle and attitude adjusted?
Okay, great, there are other options or a combination of options and treatments you can embark upon.
Start with your skincare routine, a healthy diet and your attitude.
With skincare, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Get the basics right, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve.
My personal skincare favourites can be found here.
And when you’re ready? You can consider other treatments to improve your skin’s overall texture and tone.
Your cosmetic medical professional can and should provide you with all your options, not just cosmetic injectables.
Great skincare and combination cosmetic treatments can provide optimal results.
Factional laser, radio frequency, LED light therapy, high intensity focussed sonophoresis (HIFU), medical grade micro-needling, intense pulsed laser rejuvenation, and specific chemical peels are excellent treatments that take years off your appearance and lessen the need for injectables.
Decided to take the plunge? There are a few things to consider.
- Check you have a healthy perspective on how you truly look.
- Find yourself a cosmetic professional with extensive experience.
- Ensure your chosen cosmetic medical professional is working within a professionally run and authorised cosmetic skin clinic.
- Your initial consultation with the prescribing doctor should inform you of other options, especially if looking younger is your goal.
- Cosmetic injectables are becoming commonplace, but there are risks. You should know what they are before you proceed.
- Remember, anti-wrinkle injectables contain botulinum neurotoxin, a schedule 4 drug that must be prescribed by a doctor.
Lastly, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you.
An older woman with overly pumped-up lips and cheeks does not necessarily look younger or sexier (if that’s the goal); just a bit strange.
A young woman with an exaggerated pout can look a little weird, and a frozen expression isn’t always the solution.
Even so, after saying all this, for some, the smallest of enhancements and tweaks can help, and it can look amazing if you’re in the hands of an artful cosmetic medical professional.
I guess my point is that less is usually more, and as for that little ol’ elephant in the room, well, if you know someone who’s had just that little bit too much? Do you speak up? Probably not. I know I wouldn’t unless they asked my opinion, and even then… I’d tippy-toe around it. Ugh!
If you’ve done your research and know what you want, go forth and do it. If it makes you feel more confident, youthful and happier, then take the leap.
And, if you do, I hope this article equips you with what to look out for and what else is available to you because you know what there always is.
See you next time,