It is becoming more common these days to normalize medical aesthetics, especially with celebrities like Eva Longoria and Christina Aguilera opening about beauty”retouching” and injectables that they trust to look amazing all the time. We have come a long way from the stigma that is often associated with treatments like botox and dermal fillers. a decade ago, microneedles it was the only type of needling that many considered when it came to anti-aging.
But there are still many myths, misconceptions, and misinformation surrounding these procedures, especially within the Latinx community. There tends to be secrecy surrounding injectable treatments, especially with the concern of “what will they say?” — What will my friends and family say? Will my parents think I’m vain for not wanting to have fine lines and wrinkles? – which often contributes to the fears that surround them. Still, while these are all valid concerns when considering modifying your face or body, it’s important to know what’s true and what’s fake.
That’s why we asked a San Diego dermatologist Sabrina Guillen Fabi, MD, to debunk 15 of the most common myths surrounding beauty injectables. Whether you’re considering Botox or a filler for the first time or just curious about what’s involved, here are a few things to consider before scheduling your first appointment.
Injectable Myth #1: Botox will freeze your face
Reality: It’s normal to worry about looking “overdone,” but Dr. Fabi says Botox won’t freeze your face. “Results are ultimately dose dependent,” she says. “Then an experienced clinician can customize the dose of it to preserve movement and maintain a natural-looking result.”
Injectable Myth #2: Botox Is Only for Wrinkles and Noticeably Aged Skin
Reality: You may think of injectables as a solution to existing signs of aging, but they are also widely used as a preventative measure. “Botox is great at preventing lines from forming, and we can start creating those lines in our early 20s and early 30s,” says Dr. Fabi.
Injectable Myth #3: Getting Beauty Injections Means I’m Not Aging Well
Reality: What it means to age well is subjective, so it’s all about doing what feels right to you. “Getting injectables is as much a part of a holistic anti-aging and skin care plan as eating right, exercising, and investing in a good skin care regimen,” says Dr. Fabi.
Injectable Myth #4: Getting shots means I’m insecure and don’t love myself
Reality: Dr. Fabi says that in many cases, the opposite is true: “When we love ourselves, we are more likely to take care of ourselves, which can include skin care treatments as well as lasers and injectables.”
Injectable Myth #5: The Long-Term Effects of Botox Are Harmful
Reality: While the fear that Botox may cause long-term health harm is a valid concern, studies show that Botox is a relatively safe and largely devoid of serious side effects.
“In a long-term retrospective trial that we participated in in our practice, we followed 4,402 patients for more than 10 years,” says Dr. Fabi. “We did not capture any long-term adverse events and found that age-matched subjects who had had regular botulinum toxin injections appeared significantly younger than their age-matched counterparts.”
Injectable Myth #6: Botox and Fillers Cost a Fortune
Reality: with botox, you are usually charged per unit or by the specific area being treated. This, of course, varies depending on how much you need per area, where you live, and where you receive treatment. But the average cost of a Botox treatment, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeryis around $408, while the average cost of fillers is $759.
Dr. Fabi advises creating a custom aesthetic plan with your doctor so you can prioritize your concerns with your budget in mind.
Injectable Myth #7: Botox and fillers are the same thing
Reality: “Botox works by relaxing the muscles that cause lines and wrinkles, primarily on the upper face, and can be used to reshape the lower face,” says Dr. Fabi. “Fillers like Juvéderm work by replacing volume. A water-absorbing hyaluronic acid gel is injected to reposition tissue and replace volume in the face where it’s been lost.”
Injectable Myth #8: Fillers are just for adding volume to the face
Reality: “If strategically placed, fillers can be used to reposition tissue and provide beautiful facial contours.”
Injectable Myth #9: Beauty injectables will make me look like a different person
Reality: One of the biggest fears around injections is that everyone can notice and the results will show. Dr. Fabi says that is not the case if it is done artistically. “Not all artists are Picasso, therefore not all nozzles can give you an artistically and aesthetically pleasing result,” he says. “Be sure to look at the before and after of an injector first to make sure your aesthetic lines up.”
Injectable Myth #10: Beauty injectables are painful
Reality: If you’ve ever gotten a flu shot at the doctor, you know that no shot is pleasant. That being said, if you have a lower tolerance for pain, there are many options to make sure you don’t feel a thing. “A numbing cream can be used if necessary to dull any potential discomfort,” says Dr. Fabi.
Fact: Injectables Myth #11: Beauty injectables are permanent
Reality: “Most [fillers], specifically hyaluronic acid gels, are broken down by an enzyme that we naturally produce in our bodies over time. That means you can typically expect your filler to last anywhere from months to years,” says Dr. Fabi. “In trials, Botox Cosmetic was found to last three to four months when using the label dosage. Meanwhile, filler longevity is based on type, and HA fillers like Juvéderm range in duration from six months to two years, depending on the brand of filler.”
Injectable Myth #12: Botox is toxic to the body
Reality: While it’s true that Botox is a toxin (hence the name botulinum toxin type A), “it’s not Studies have found that Botoxwhen dosed in doses that have been studied, it’s toxic.”
Injectable Myth #13: Botox works right away
Reality: The drug is absorbed by the receptor relatively quickly, but it takes two to three days to start seeing the effects. Newer forms of neuromodulators, such as botulinum toxin type E, are being investigated to show clinical effects in just a few hours.
Injectable Myth #14: Botox Can Get Rid Of All Wrinkles
Reality: “Botox can minimize the appearance of expression lines, especially on the upper part of the face,” says Dr. Fabi. That being said, it cannot treat deep wrinkles.
Injectable Myth #15: Women of Color Don’t Need Botox or Fillers
The bottom line is this: everyone ages. “Women with more hairy skin have been found to age more slowly than their Caucasian counterparts,” says Dr. Fabi. “However, they do get older and can benefit from Botox and fillers at a later age than their Caucasian counterparts.”
Image sources: Juan Botero and photographic illustration: Michelle Alfonso