Cosmetic injectables are popular for their ability to take years off of a person’s face in just a single short session. Dr. Naomi Brooks specializes in cosmetic applications of such treatments, including Juvederm® and BOTOX®, at Boise Dermatology. As a board-certified dermatologist, she explains that there are major differences between neuromodulators and dermal fillers, with their distinct features making each option uniquely suited for addressing specific signs of aging.
Unlike major facelift surgery, minimally invasive injectables enable patients to reap the benefits of cosmetic treatments without having to take weeks off of work or deal with an uncomfortable recovery period. Making the decision to undergo cosmetic treatments is always a complex, personal choice, but with highly accessible injectables, men and women don’t have to make as much of a mental or financial commitment as they would for more dramatic procedures.
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that gravitational forces and the intrinsic aging process team up to cause facial skin to lose its youthful lustre and contours.
BOTOX® is a tool for softening dynamic wrinkles, which are lines that result from recurring facial motions like smiling or frowning. When skin is young, it is strong and has a high level of elasticity, but with increasing age, this is no longer the case. The skin no longer bounces back to its resting position as easily, and lines become more permanently and deeply engraved in the form of dynamic wrinkles on the upper third of the face, such as fine lines around the corners of the eyes, frown lines in the middle of the eyebrows, and horizontal forehead creases.
Another consequence of aging is a loss of volume, fat, and moisture in the skin. It’s common for people who are approaching midlife—or even younger—to experience changes in the symmetry of their face. Hollows or depressions may form, leading to sunken cheeks or temples as collagen diminishes. Skin and fat may droop around the jawline area. Additionally, wrinkles may form more easily as the skin loosens and becomes less elastic. Juvederm® is an injectable used for smoothing these static wrinkles, as well as lifting and sculpting facial tissues that have shifted or diminished over time. There are several products in the Juvederm® line, each made from hyaluornic acid, but with a slightly different formula for the purpose of correcting various signs of aging on the face. These injectables are mainly used around middle and lower areas of the face: adding volume to the cheeks, smoothing fine lines and deep creases in the nose and mouth area, and plumping thin lips.
How to Prepare
In the case of both BOTOX® and Juvederm®, very little preparation is required on the part of the patient. As long as candidates enjoy good overall mental and physical health and do not suffer from any pre-existing allergies that may be triggered by either injectable, they are unlikely to experience any problems. It is always important to discuss personal medical history and any medications or supplements being taken. The injector may recommend avoiding blood thinners, which can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising, before and after treatment.
How Injectables Work
BOTOX® is derived from a naturally occurring organism known as clostridium botulinum, which is known for producing a potent neurotoxin. Small concentrations of this protein work on the nervous system, inhibiting the release of chemical signals that prompt the muscles in the affected areas to contract. When purified and diluted, the resulting neuromodulator can relax targeted facial muscles, causing the skin above to lie smoother and flatter for months at a time.
The key ingredient in Juvederm® is hyaluronic acid. The word “acid” may sound intimidating, but hyaluronic acid is, in fact, the substance responsible for keeping skin healthy and hydrated—among other roles in the body. Unlike BOTOX®, Juvederm® works by “filling in” areas where it is injected. This can smooth out wrinkles on the face, as well as add visible volume to lips and cheeks.
After the Procedure
After receiving any injectable, patients should avoid strenuous activity, drinking alcohol, and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. All injections can cause some very temporary bruising, redness, and swelling that are of no significant concern.
Juvederm® takes effect right away, since the volume is physically visible as soon as it’s in place. The gel can take anywhere from a year to two years to dissipate, depending on the formula and the treatment area.
The effects of BOTOX® usually appear within 72 hours after an injection session, as the protein works to relax the key facial muscles. Expect muscles to stay at rest for three to six months.
Both treatments can be repeated as desired for longer-lasting effects.