These days, it’s as easy to schedule an appointment for injectable wrinkle reducers and filler treatments as it is to sign up for SoulCycle — but unlike a spin class, the questions you’ll have pre-procedure will (and should) be a little more serious than “can you play Britney Spears?” After all, this is your face. And whether you’re interested in learning about injectable wrinkle reducers, which temporarily smoothes the look of wrinkles in certain areas of the face (like your forehead); or testing a filler that temporarily adds volume to areas of the face (such as cheeks and lips) with hyaluronic acid gel, you need to be up to speed on the benefits and potential risks, or side effects.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
To help get the final look that you want, it’s absolutely essential that you ask your licensed provider any questions you might have. We’re about to make your life easier: we did some of that research for you when we consulted some of the top board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. They offered the most frequently asked questions they receive during consultations, as well as their professional responses. And remember – whether it's wrinkle reducers or fillers, be sure to talk to a licensed provider about all the risks and benefits and to determine if they’re right for you.
Will my wrinkle reducers make me look unnatural?
“The most common concern patients have is they're afraid of looking ‘done.’ They're afraid of looking unnatural,” says New York-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Kane, explaining that many patients have that fear because they believe the normal, desired outcome for wrinkle reducers is the “frozen” look.
“That's not how people are supposed to look,” he says. “When it's done well, they have very normal animation, but just fewer, [less visible] wrinkles.”
As a refresher, wrinkle reducers are injectable treatments for certain areas of the face (forehead, frown lines, crow’s feet) that temporarily reduce moderate or severe lines, or wrinkles.
Will injectables hurt?
Truthfully, maybe a little. Columbus-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Heck likens it to a “little bee sting,” but Charlotte-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephan Finical says that licensed providers have many resources to reduce discomfort for their patients, including topical anesthetic. Many of the experts we interviewed pointed out that a lot of fillers have painkillers built in to make the procedure even less uncomfortable. If anyone does experience any unusual pain, they should be sure to immediately inform their healthcare provider.
Is it too soon for me to start trying wrinkle reducers? Is it too late?
While everyone ages a bit differently, there is no set time to start.
“We're actually seeing a significant growth in young adult patients, particularly millennials, that are [appropriate] for wrinkle reducers and fillers,” says Houston-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bob Basu. “They're definitely part of the selfie culture. They’re quite conscious about their appearance, but they're also highly educated about their options.”
Overall, however, Dr. Kane says that an appropriate time to start using wrinkle reducers is when you see a moderate to severe wrinkle that stays on the skin even after you’ve stopped animating your face. “I tell my patients all the time, ‘[young adults] have crow's feet when they're smiling.’ [But then those crow’s feet go away.] What bothers us is when we're not smiling and those wrinkles are still there.” (These are two different types of wrinkles — read about them here.)
And no, it’s never too late to consider cosmetic injectables! If you’re not sure where wrinkle reducers and filler are approved to be used on the face, read up on it here!
How long will wrinkle reducers and fillers last?
For wrinkle reducers, retreatment is no more frequent than every three months. For fillers, most tend to last from six months to a year — or even two years, depending on the type of filler and area of the face treated. Fort Worth-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Camp tells his patients that all injectable treatments require retreatment.
Are wrinkle reducers permanent?
Dr. Kane shares that while sometimes this is a concern of newer patients, “most people are no longer afraid that wrinkle reducers will permanently do something.” He adds, “Most people realize that in the extraordinarily unlikely situation that you don't like the outcome.”
Will filler stretch out my face?
A common fear for many is that adding volume can stretch the skin; and once that filler dissolves, skin will be even more lax afterward. This is not the case. “As you age, the fat in your face and the bones in your face shrink,” explains Dr. Kane. “Putting a little volume in there isn't really stretching out the skin. If anything, if done well, it's supporting that extra skin.”
Will fillers make my face look fat?
An overly plumped look is less than ideal: “Chipmunk cheeks” isn’t just a pesky childhood nickname — it’s also a byproduct of poorly done fillers. That’s why it is essential to seek out a highly skilled licensed provider for your procedure, who will know whether filler is your best choice for adding volume, or if you should be seeking out other options.
“Thoughtful fillers should replace volume loss in certain areas but can't replace gravitational descent,” says Dr. Louis P. Bucky, board-certified plastic surgeon located in Philadelphia. “When you're overfilling to try and make up for other aging changes, you can get into the trouble of having an overfilled or fat face.” Still unclear? Ask your licensed provider if fillers will give you the results you’re looking for.
Are wrinkle reducers toxic?
Wrinkle reducers are derived from botulinum toxin, but no, if administered correctly, it isn’t toxic. Botulinum toxins are FDA approved prescription treatments for adults to temporarily reduce the appearance of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face. “Certain patients associate botulinum toxin with botulism,” Columbus-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson points out. “It's important to know that this is a completely purified laboratory product that carries [significantly reduced risk] of disease or harmful systemic effect.” As always be mindful that there are risks in treatment with wrinkle reducers so it’s important to talk to your licensed provider about the risks as well as the benefits to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with a trained aesthetic specialist now.
Dr. Stephan Finical is a paid Allergan® as a consultant.