You’ve been hearing about it for years: first as whispers about which celebrity had done it; then a friend of a friend tried it. Recently it seems like everyone is doing it—getting injectable wrinkle reducer treatments that temporarily smooth facial lines—but you don’t even know where to begin! Allow us to send you in the right direction. We asked Wendy Lewis, who runs a global aesthetics consultancy, to share the who, what, and where.
Ask the provider: What is your training and experience?
“Any licensed doctor can perform wrinkle-reducing injections,” says Lewis, “but some are more experienced at it than others.” It’s mainly dermatologists, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons, and maxillofacial surgeons who administer these treatments, but you’ll also see dentists, gynecologists, OBs, and anesthesiologists doing them as well.
"Medical doctors who want to offer injectable treatments can have specialty training from experienced injectors. They’ll typically learn about facial anatomy, best practices, and safe techniques to learn how to achieve good results," explains Lewis. Depending on the laws of the state, you may see physician assistants, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners doing them as well. The most important thing to consider, no matter what the provider’s credentials, is his or her experience.
Says Lewis, “Don't be anyone's guinea pig. Choose a provider who does these treatments regularly, not just once in a while or occasionally. Think of this professional like a commercial pilot—they have to fly a minimum number of hours to gain sufficient experience to get their license.”
Ask the provider: Which toxin are you using?
Look for a provider who uses a product that’s FDA-approved in the US. If you hear anything that makes you question the product’s origin—”everyone’s loving this product in Brazil” or “it’s just as good as the real deal,” ask to see the box the product came in. It either is or it isn't an approved product, says Lewis, “and you have the right to know that before having it injected into your face.”
Additionally, warns Lewis, “there’s a huge global counterfeiting problem that sometimes makes its way into the US in down-market clinics and spas that are trying to cut costs,” says Lewis. So if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Speaking of…
Ask the provider: Approximately what will this cost?
Some practices will charge by the area (lines between the eyebrows, across the forehead, or crow’s feet), whereas others charge by the unit. Ask the provider what he/she thinks you need to achieve the effects you are seeking, so there are no surprises.
“There is nothing worse than coming out of the exam room after a treatment and having a bad case of sticker shock when you go to pay for it,” says Lewis.
Ask the receptionist: May I have a follow-up appointment?
Especially If you are a first timer, Lewis recommends that you go back to see the provider in two weeks to see how well the wrinkle reducer worked, to make sure your brows are even, and decide if you need the treatment in another area to get the best effect. This way the pro can get to know your face and how your muscles respond.
“It's a relationship!” says Lewis. “Think about your hair stylist: If you shop around and change stylists for every blowout or cut, your hair will keep looking different. With wrinkle reducers, that is not what you want. Aim for a long-term relationship with one pro who can get to know your face and can produce a consistent experience and outcome every time.”