Your A-Z Guide To Injectables

Beauty and aesthetics can be a confusing world sometimes. Even the simplest of things like foundation are no longer cookie-cutter makeup choices. Nowadays, the options are endless, with everything from BB creams and CC creams, to high-def bases and crème-to-powder formulations to procrastinate over, making what used to be a quick trip to Sephora a full-on two-hour shopping excursion.

So, if this is what’s happening with makeup, just think what’s going on with injectables… New fillers are being launched to market by the hour (OK, so we exaggerate) and wrinkles are never ‘just’ wrinkles in technical terms (yes, we’re talking to you glabellar lines), making aesthetics a mind-blowing world to get your head around.

This is why we decided to make it easier for you, with a simple-to-follow A-Z guide to everything you need to know about injectables. You got this…

A is for Allergan

One of the major players in aesthetics, Allergan delivers a portfolio that reads like everyone’s ideal anti-aging treatment plan. Not only does the brand provide some of the most inventive medicines and devices globally, but it’s responsible for Juvéderm, Latisse and probably the most well-known injectable in the world: Botox. Like Sharpie, ChapStick, Kleenex and Band-Aid, Botox has become a household name for the neuromuscular injectable toxin called botulinum toxin type A, used to treat everything from chronic migraine and severe underarm sweating to the temporary improvement of frown lines. Botox is also the only FDA-approved neuromodulator for the treatment of crow’s feet.

B is for Belotero Balance

One of many options in the world of dermal fillers, Belotero Balance is a great choice for treating stubborn, etched-in lines and wrinkles, or for dark under eye circles. Some fillers have a slight blue hue, which, when injected too close to the skin’s surface, can leave behind a kind of blue-ish gray tint under the injection site called the Tyndall effect. Belotero, however, can be injected much more superficially without this unwanted effect.

C is for Collagen
A vital part of the skin’s structure, collagen acts like a framework for maintaining moisture, strength and elasticity. With age, however, skin loses collagen, and this framework weakens, resulting in visibly less firm, plump skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is why many people turn to collagen fillers like Bellafill. Harnessing the power of natural protein, and typically derived from human, or purified bovine (pig) sources, collagen fillers have been around for over twenty years and are highly effective for treating hollowed, aging areas of the face. These have an established safety record since they were one of the first kinds of dermal fillers available and are perhaps most widely known for lip plumping.

D is for Dysport
Dysport is another key player in the neuromodulator market. Lesser known, but equally as effective as Botox, Dysport uses a slightly different formulation of the same substance – clostridium botulinum or botulinum toxin A and blocks nerve impulses and paralyzes the muscles in much the same way. So, what’s the difference we hear you ask? Well, for every one unit of Botox, the equivalent for Dysport would be three units , which is why costs vary so much on a price per unit basis. Some doctors also believe that because Dysport has fewer and smaller proteins, it works faster than Botox and can last slightly longer.

E is for Eyebrows

Your brows might not be the first thing you think of when contemplating a minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure, but sagging eyebrows and hooded eyelids are easily rectified with a little Botox in the right places. An experienced, board-certified injector will know exactly where to administer injectable toxins to create a more lifted brow (usually on the center of the forehead and under the outer eyebrow), but there is no standard recipe and everybody is different, so our advice? Seek out the best in the business. Always. End of.

F is for Fillers

Unlike toxins like Botox and Dysport, fillers have no paralyzing effect. Instead, as their name suggests, they temporarily ‘fill’ or bulk up the tissues underneath your skin to help replace collagen and elastin that have been lost in the aging process. Collagen and elastin help give your skin its firm, plump and supple appearance so when levels start to deplete, skin loses its ability to maintain this youthfulness. Injectable fillers come in a variety of forms to replace this loss of volume, with the most popular being hyaluronic acid, due to its user-friendly reputation and ‘minimal irritation’ factor. Treatment usually involves injecting a tiny needle into the target area – a quick and relatively painless procedure – and as with injectable toxins, results are immediately gratifying and there is very little downtime.

G is for Glabellar Lines

Otherwise known as frown lines or 11s, glabellar lines are the vertical lines that appear between your brows due to constant muscle contractions such as frowning or squinting. Glabellar lines are basically what Botox, Dysport and Xeomin live for.

H is for Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA), or hyaluronan, is a type of polymer found naturally in the body. Composed partly of sugars, it’s found in abundance in the skin’s structure where it acts as a powerful humectant – meaning it holds moisture to keep the skin soft, firm, plump and hydrated. As with collagen and elastin, our HA levels deplete with age which is why it plays a huge role in skincare. For the biggest boost of HA to your skin, however, injectable hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm are a great option. Typically lasting from four to six months, HA fillers are injected deep into the skin, to levels topical creams can only even dream of, therefore helping to replace lost HA immediately and effectively to temporarily restore lost moisture and fullness to the face.

I is for Injector

There may be a debate around which is the most important factor when choosing your injector and injectable, but we know which side of the fence we sit on… and it ends with an ‘r.’ Legally, any doctor can undergo any kind of procedure, meaning there are far too many body-altering surgeons in the world of aesthetics who shouldn’t be. Therefore, only ever trust a board-certified physician who has undergone years of training and is specifically experienced in injectables.

J is for Juvéderm
Juvéderm is Allergan’s forever-growing collection of super-effective, hyaluronic acid fillers. Currently consisting of Ultra, Ultra Plus, Voluma, Vollure and Volbella, Juvéderm pretty much has a filler to suit all needs. Voluma is super-effective for correcting volume loss in the cheeks, while Volbella is a newer addition to the family and used to treat the lips and mouth.

K is for Kybella

In April 2015, the FDA approved a first-of-its-kind, fat-reducing injection called Kybella. Specifically formulated to eliminate chin fat, Kybella uses an active, synthetic ingredient called deoxycholic acid that dissolves and destroys fat cells which are then naturally absorbed and eliminated by the body. What’s more, once destroyed, these cells are no longer able to store or accumulate fat, meaning once you’ve reached your desired, beautiful profile, no further treatment should be needed. Kybella treatments generally last around 15-20 minutes and consist of multiple, tiny injections under your chin, administered once a month. Kybella cannot tighten loose skin, but as long as you don’t have an excessive amount of sagging (in which case you might want to think about a necklift), results are usually seen somewhere between two and four months, with the maximum number of sessions being six.

L is for Lips

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than 27,000 lip procedures took place in the US in 2015 – a figure that was up 43 percent from 2000. Yes lips, for want of a better word, are BIG right now and the best, quickest way to plump up your pout? With some kind of hyaluronic acid-based lip filler. Some of the best, FDA-approved HA fillers include Restylane SilkBelotero Balance and Juvéderm Ultra, but new kid on the block Juvéderm Volbella is also a fabulous option if you’re looking for super-subtle volume. Still confused as to which brand to choose? Don’t be. In our opinion, choosing the best aesthetician is far more important than the type of filler that’s administered. Just saying.

M is for Maintenance

The first step in promoting a sense of self-confidence and wellbeing is understanding that while you may not have the skin you had at 20, you can work diligently at maintaining what you do have. We believe you can achieve this by looking after your skin with a consistent beauty plan that encompasses high-performing medical-grade skincare and regular trips to your doctor for personally curated injectables and treatments. Think of it like this: you wouldn’t go to the gym once a year and expect to maintain a physically strong body would you? So why should sporadic facials and once a year chemical peels give you your best skin? They won’t, but regular trips to a derm or plastic surgeon and impeccable at-home skincare will.

N is for Neuromodulators

Otherwise known as injectable toxins, neuromodulators are used to temporarily treat and soften active facial lines like crow’s feet and frown lines before they become deeper wrinkles. Botulinum toxin type A is the most widely used which is made from a purified version of a toxin derived from bacterium clostridium botulinum. This toxin is diluted and injected into facial muscles where, within seconds, it paralyzes them by blocking the nerve impulses that control movement. This helps prevent repetitive motions that cause fine lines. There is very little downtime associated with neuromodulators and results usually last between three and six months depending on your skin and the type of injection you choose.

O is for Options
We firmly believe the choice of injectable should ultimately down to your injector – the clue is in the name, right? Yes, you may have ideas about the latest technologies and newest formulations you’d like to try. And obviously you want to give directions to the kind of look you want to achieve from your procedure, but at the end of the day your aesthetician has the best knowledge of the most suitable options for your needs and budget. So be open-minded. Ooh, there’s another ‘o’ for you, right there 😉

P is for Plan
Beauty plans are our raison d’être here at HintMD. Here’s five reasons we believe being on a personally prescribed beauty plan is such a great idea.

1. Our beauty plans come from the best, board-certified doctors in the country, so you know you are never being oversold treatments and you’ll never leave the practice looking anything less than a-mazing.

2. HintMD’s easy-to-use app allows you access to your membership, plan and schedule 24/7. This means you can stay connected to your doctor and keep on top of your appointments.

3. One monthly payment covers everything in your plan, making what used to be expensive treatments fit seamlessly with your budget and lifestyle.

4. Having a plan and sticking to regular appointments mean you will maintain consistently beautiful skin, rather than sporadically average skin. You do the math.

5. Spa treatments and drugstore skincare products are all well and good, but we believe everything you receive at your doctor, derm or plastic surgeon’s office far outperform the best of the rest #medicalgradealltheway.

Q is for Questions

Never be afraid to ask a whole bunch of questions before entrusting a potential doctor with your face and a needle. Ask to see references, as well as before and after photos of previous patients. Will someone be assisting them with your procedure? Check to make sure they’re fully qualified, too. And if you’re worried about forgetting something important, write your questions down, so you don’t forget anything in the heat of the moment. Trust us, when it comes to major changes to your looks, the more prepared you are, the better.

R is for Restylane

Gone are the days when Restylane was just Restylane. Now you have the options of Restylane Refyne, Defyne, Lyft and Silk from its ever-expanding portfolio of HA fillers. And while we don’t suggest you learn all the ins and outs of every single one, it’s always worth having a little knowledge up your sleeves. Right?

So, here’s a mini-rundown…

Restylane Refyne and Defyne: Refyne and Defyne are the newest offerings from Galderma, brought to market this year and specifically formulated to help correct nasolabial folds and marionette lines, while maintaining a natural look to the face. Designed to help support your natural expression both offer real-life results and natural movement. Refyne is softer, making it the perfect choice for moderate lines, while Defyne is slightly less flexible so more effective for deeper wrinkles.

Restylane Lyft: Formerly known as Perlane-L, Restylane Lyft is an injectable hyaluronic acid gel specifically used to correct volume loss and lack of firmness in the cheeks.

Restylane Silk: Specifically designed for subtle lip enhancement and the smoothing of wrinkles and lines around the mouth, Restylane Silk was the first FDA-approved filler for the lips.

S is for Sculptra

Sculptra Aesthetic is a unique filler made from poly-L-lactic acid that stimulates collagen growth, rather than simply ‘filling’ or increasing volume like many other dermal fillers. This means results look extremely natural because the filler is essentially working from within to build up the skin’s resiliency and help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Because of its ability to smooth the skin areas, it’s perfect for the mid-cheek area and nasolabial folds, but it can even be used to treat cellulite in classically hard-to-treat areas. It works much more slowly than other fillers and typically, benefits will only be visible after a few weeks. Continued treatments further stimulate the process, however, with full effects best seen after four to six weeks. The best thing about Sculptra? It can last for up to two years, more than double other, more conventional HA fillers.

T is for Tightening
Injectable toxins such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomin might not be the first thing you think of when looking for skin tightening solutions, but they’re a great option for mildly sagging skin. To be clear, these do not ‘physically’ tighten the skin, but because they restrict muscle movement they do offer a visible ‘lifting’ effect which can give fantastic results when administered by a board-certified professional. The effects are fairly moderate, but you can still see the benefits, specifically on a loose neck or sagging eyelids.

U is for Under Eyes

Volume loss and thinning skin under the eyes is a sad fact of aging. And not only is this annoying but it can cause a hollowed, translucent appearance and permanent shadows that no amount of sleep can shake off. Some of the most exciting cosmetic treatments that can take years off your hollowed eyes – and, consequently, your entire appearance – are dermal fillers. When injected into the orbital area, fillers such as classic Restylane are able to plump lost volume as well as fill in surrounding fine lines and wrinkles. Results are instant, natural-looking and can last from six months to three years with regular maintenance. Get in.

V is for Vollure
One of Juvéderm’s newest family members, Vollure gained approval from the FDA in March to tackle moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds in adults over the age of 21. Specifically indicated for laughter lines, Vollure has already proved its worth and sees its place firmly on many HintMD members’ beauty plans. It works by harnessing a special Vycross technology that binds differing molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, giving a more malleable, gel type of filler that can be molded within the skin for a super-natural-looking finish. It’s also long-lasting as well as natural-looking. Yes, the aesthetic gods have spoken.

W is for Wrinkles

Reducing wrinkles is a no-brainer when it comes to fillers and neuromodulators, but word to the wise, wrinkles and fine lines are not the same thing and should be treated differently. While fine lines are superficial and often caused by facial expressions, wrinkles are thicker, deeper and generally occur not only due to repeated facial expressions but because of degradation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. The most effective way to treat wrinkles is with fillers – neuromodulators don’t work so well on deeper wrinkles that have been etched into your skin over a long period of time.

X is for Xeomin
The third member of ‘team toxin,’ Xeomin, made by Merz Pharmaceuticals, also uses the same basic botulism toxin molecule as Botox and Dysport, except that in Xeomin’s case, this molecule is uncoated. This means it can often work better for patients who have built up antibodies to Botox and Dysport. Many doctors use all three interchangeably.

Y is for You

Injectables are empowering tools and can help you look good, feel great and discreetly improve certain aspects of your face and body. So, just like the decision to get a new haircut, join the gym or invest in some wallet-busting new pumps, embrace your choice and remember, there is NO shame in getting fillers or Botox. In fact, we believe exactly the opposite. Hundreds of thousands of intelligent, sincere people care about their appearance. You are one of them. Congratulations.

Z is for Zones

A great aesthetician should always look at your face in a three-dimensional way because injectables not only impact the specific area being treated, but other areas on the face as well. Remember, the understanding of placement can make a huge difference to your overall results, so ensure you and your injector are on the same page about what is to be expected.