The most frequently-asked question of most first-time cosmetic injectables patients is “What will the results look like?” To get an in-depth understanding of the entire experience — and the effects — of a medical aesthetics appointment, we bring you Under the Needle™: a look at an individual’s journey from beginning to end.
It started, as it often does, with a photo.
“I couldn’t help but see anything but major crow’s feet around my eyes,” says Jen, a 39-year-old New Yorker, of a recent photograph. “Seeing that picture was the big moment that made me decide it was time to consider injectable wrinkle reducers.”
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
Though she can point to a specific trigger moment, Jen’s decision to seek injectable treatment was far from rash. “I had been thinking about it for a few years,” she shares. In fact, it’s something she has chatted with her friends about — many of whom have tried injectables themselves. “I even talked to my mom about it — she was supportive.”
Below, we follow Jen’s injectable journey from consultation to results — and everything in between. Plus, the one twist she didn’t expect.
As with any appointment involving injectables, Jen’s started with a consultation; a one-on-one conversation with the injector. The purpose of a consultation is twofold: the patient can ask any lingering questions about injectables, and the provider can assess the patient’s face to determine if they are a candidate for the treatment. Jen chose to visit Jennifer Levine MD, a double board certified plastic surgeon in New York City, for her injectable consultation.
“I’m definitely [noticing] lines around my eyes,” Jen told Dr. Levine. “I’m also starting to see more wrinkles on my forehead, and maybe here in the middle,” she added, gesturing to lines between her eyebrows (otherwise known as the elevens, frown lines, or glabellar lines). Then, Dr. Levine asked Jen to make a series of expressions — including furrowing her brow and raising her eyebrows — so that she could see where the lines appeared most prominent. From this series of faces, Dr. Levine confirmed that Jen’s lines were severe enough to benefit from injectable wrinkle reducers.
The facial assessment brought Dr. Levine to another conclusion: Jen could also benefit from injectable filler in her cheeks.
[Editor’s note: 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, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists now.]
“We have these malar fat pads,” Dr. Levine explained, pointing to her cheeks. (She is referring to the fat underneath the cheeks that’s responsible for their plump appearance.) “Starting in the mid- to late twenties, they’re going to start to fall down and in.” At 39, Jen’s cheeks have undergone this gradual process. As someone who considers herself open to trying anything once, Jen decided that, yes, she would like to try injectable cheek filler in addition to the injectable wrinkle reducer she had come in for.
The transition from consultation to procedure was seamless: After Jen and Dr. Levine established a plan, Dr. Levine led Jen into a treatment room. In the center of the room was a reclining treatment chair (not unlike a dentist’s chair).
Jen settled in while Dr. Levine prepared the injectable wrinkle reducer, drawing the clear solution into a syringe. For many patients, the needle aspect can be unnerving, yet Jen said she was unbothered. “I’m pretty good with shots,” she said, adding that she also has a high pain tolerance. Her main concern was possible bruising at the injection site, which is a common side effect for both injectable wrinkle reducer and injectable filler. (Read more about possible side effects of injectable wrinkle reducers.)
Dr. Levine started with the injectable wrinkle reducer. Before injecting, she marked the injection sites on Jen’s face with a white pencil. Then, she injected the product into each marked site. Meanwhile, Jen toyed with a stress ball, though her overall demeanor remained calm. Each needle prick lasted a mere moment, and the entire process took around 10 minutes.
Next, Dr. Levine prepared the syringes of injectable filler. Before going to work, she marked the areas across Jen’s cheeks where she planned to inject. Ultimately, the procedure took around 10 minutes to complete. Within half an hour of entering the treatment room, Jen was finished with all of her injectable treatments — a fact that surprised her. “It was much shorter than I thought,” she said. “I actually wasn’t expecting it to end so quickly!”
[Editor’s note: The amount of time fillers last varies person to person. It also depends on where they are injected.]
In addition to speedy, Jen also said that the injections were virtually painless. (Of course, every person’s tolerance for discomfort varies, so some pain and discomfort is possible.)
Immediate Filler Results
Post-injections, Jen had mild redness at some of the injection sites. “As someone who had never done this before, I was a little apprehensive,” she admitted. “I really wasn’t sure what the process what be like. But it was very seamless.”
As far as visible results, Jen was pleased with her newly-plumped cheeks. “I think [the filler] looks great!” she said. Though the visible effects from injectable filler are virtually immediate, injectable wrinkle reducer requires a bit more patience. (Usually, the treatment can start taking effect in a few days, with full results visible a few weeks later.) So, Jen’s crow’s feet, forehead lines, and frown lines remained as they were when she arrived. “I’m excited to see how [the results] progress,” she noted.
Results After One Month
One month post-treatment, Jen returned to Dr. Levine for her follow-up appointment. (Read about the importance of a follow up appointment for injectables.) Immediately upon seeing Jen, Dr. Levine was happy with how her work turned out. So was Jen: “I couldn’t be more thrilled [with the results],” she said, smiling. Now when she emotes, she has fewer lines, and the crow’s feet have virtually (albeit temporarily) disappeared.
Jen was glad she was aware of how long the injectable wrinkle reducers might take to work. “The results were very gradual,” she shared, adding that the progression was “fascinating.” Her crow’s feet faded first, followed by her forehead and frown lines. Now, she says she’s thrilled to have fewer wrinkles when she smiles.
“I did have some concerns that if I smiled I might look different,” she admits, “but I was really, really pleased to see that I actually look pretty much the same.” In fact, even her friends couldn’t tell much of a difference until she told them she’d been treated.
“You still have expression, yet everything looks better — [the results are subtle], which is what we want,” Dr. Levine chimed in.
Would Jen recommend injectables to friends now that she has gone under the needle? “Absolutely,” she said, “I’m so glad I did this!”
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers should not be used more frequently than every three months.]
Dr. Jennifer Levine is a paid Allergan® consultant.
Complimentary treatment was provided to Jen for the purpose of writing this article.