Every year we see more and more products that promise to make you look ten, twenty, even thirty years younger. It is difficult to decide whether to go with a familiar method or take a chance on something that may or may not work better. Botox has been one of the biggest “go to” wrinkle treatments for since the FDA approved it for the temporary improvement of wrinkles in 1989.
Botox treatments were not the first injections to be used for wrinkle removal. The first injections were introduced in the late 18th century when a patient’s fat was used to plump up certain areas to appear more beautiful. In the 1940s, silicone injections were introduced, but became outlawed when the dangers became apparent. It was not until the 1980s that the FDA approved the use of collagen from cows for soft tissue augmentation.
Are These Wrinkle Treatments Safe?
The risks and side effects of different products depend on their composition. You should always have a qualified provider perform the injection and discuss any concerns you have. The biggest risk is having someone who is not properly trained carry out the procedure. If improperly injected, blood pooling beneath the skin around the injection site, possibility of infection, and very rarely, necrosis (tissue death) or loss of skin can happen. You should always make sure that you only use facial fillers that are FDA approved. Using substances not approved as cosmetic dermal fillers is a major risk to your health. There is also a chance that once you get the injection, you may not like how it looks. Some treatments can clump causing a noticeable lump under the skin, depending on the severity of the lump; it may require surgery to remove.
Most injectables are made from substances naturally found in the human body, but a few are made from animal products, like bovine collagen. If you have allergies, talk with your doctor to make sure that you choose a different product or have an allergy test performed to rule out any reaction.
Which One Is Right For Me?
Not all treatments are the same; they are composed of different substances, last for different lengths of time and have a variety of uses. Fat transplantation, the first type of wrinkle remover, is still around today, although it is not widely used because the results are too unpredictable from patient to patient. Botox treatments are still readily available and continue to be one of the top five non-invasive procedures in America. Collagen based products are still available but are slowly being replaced with ones that provide longer results and fewer side effects. The current favorites among facial fillers are hyaluronic acid (HA) based. HA occurs naturally in humans and as a result, does not produce an allergic reaction in patients. It also lasts longer than previous wrinkle removal products.
The only permanent facial filler in the United States is ArteFill. It is a gel that contains bovine collagen and millions of synthetic microspheres that can’t be absorbed into the body. The spheres promote new collagen growth as the bovine collagen is metabolized. Side effects occur rarely and consist mostly of swelling, sensitivity and redness around the injection site.
There are a few HA products available now, including Juvederm, Restylane, Captique, Hylaform, and Perlane. Each one contains hyaluronic acid, a natural complex sugar that gives skin its elasticity. The main difference between all of these products is how long the effects last and the size of the particles injected into the skin. The larger the particles, the better it is for filling deep wrinkles. The side effects are the same for each, bruising around the injection site, redness, and swelling.
Botox works, not by filling in the wrinkles, but by paralyzing the muscles that create wrinkles. A trained doctor should always perform your Botox treatments to prevent complications. The most common side effects are pain at the injection site, nausea, redness, and headaches. Of course, if any of these persist, you should call your doctor immediately.
There are fillers that first take something from you, refine it, and then inject it into your problem areas. There are the fat fillers that can take the fat from your body, usually the thighs, buttocks, or stomach. The doctor refines the fat cells and the fat is injected into the desired area. The FDA recently approved a procedure called Laviv. It uses the cells you have that produce collagen. Your doctor will collect some of your skin cells, send them to a lab to have more grown, and the newly grow cells will be injected.