Raise your hand if you’ve spent upwards of $100 on an anti-wrinkle face cream (us, too). Hold it up if you’ve scraped the bottom of a jar without so much as a whisper of a softened forehead wrinkle — and proceeded to shell out more money on yet another cream after the fact. While topical products can improve the hydration and radiance of skin, when it comes to attacking wrinkles and restoring plumpness, remember there are treatments that come in syringes.
Simply put, there are cosmetic injectables which are given by a licensed and trained professional. Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the appearance of prominent wrinkles on the face and injectable fillers temporarily restore volume loss on the face. The reality is there are still some stigmas attached to these treatments. Many women don’t think twice before applying topical solutions, but are nervous about the thought of going under the needle. This aversion is often based on misinformation. We asked some of NYC’s top dermatologists to weigh in on the most common misconceptions around fillers and wrinkle reducers. The answers might just surprise you!Myth #1: Fillers and wrinkle reducers always look obvious.
Myth #1: Fillers and wrinkle reducers always look obvious.
“There is a widespread misconception that fillers make you look overdone and unnatural,” says Dr. Elizabeth Hale, NYC-based dermatologist and Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. In actuality, “when injectables are done correctly, no one should be able to tell.”
The reason people often equate fillers and wrinkle reducers with an overblown, overstretched look? “It’s celebrities who’ve had ‘bad’ work who tend to make the tabloids,” she says.
Double board certified dermatologist and founder of Shafer Plastic Surgery in NYC, Dr. David Shafer, agrees: “[Overdone fillers] are the exception and not the norm.” In actuality, many celebrities whom we consider “graceful agers” have likely opted for fillers or wrinkle reducers to appear that way. In these instances (as with the majority of cases!), cosmetic injectables look subtle and smoothing, not obvious and glaring.
Myth #2: Only celebrities and “beauty obsessed” people get cosmetic injectables.
An increasing number of people are incorporating cosmetic injectables into their skincare regimens. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the annual number of wrinkle reducer procedures alone has increased by a whopping 819 percent since 2000.
NYC-based dermatologist and author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin, Dr. Whitney Bowe, has also noticed a surge in demand for cosmetic injectables. “[They’re] much more common now,” she says. “My patients make standing appointments and incorporate them into their routine. Of course, as with all prescription treatments there are potential risks associated with these products, so everyone should make sure to discuss them thoroughly with their doctors before they incorporate them into their regular routine.”
Dr. Shafer adds that ladies aren’t the only ones who are going under the needle. “Men also want ways to improve their appearance and soften lines and folds that developed with age and stress,” he says. Bottom line: there’s no one “type” of person drawn to cosmetic injectables. Any adult looking to smooth or plump their skin may want to look into it.
Myth #3: Skin becomes saggier after fillers wear off.
“Many patients worry that fillers will stretch out their skin, and if they don't ‘keep up’ over time, their skin will hang like a deflated balloon,” shares Dr. Bowe. “In reality, that’s just not true.”
Myth #4: It doesn’t matter who performs your injections, as long as he or she is a doc.
You might want to hold off on the Groupons unless you’ve really done your research: Aesthetically speaking, the skill level of the injector is just as essential to consider as the substance you choose to inject.
“One of the most important things is to go to a well-qualified and experienced injector such as a board certified plastic surgeon,” cautions Dr. Shafer, who trains other doctors and sees a broad range of injection skill levels. Dr. Hale’s advice: “choose a physician who looks natural themselves.”
Other ways to do your homework: read online reviews, which can often give you info on experiential factors including a doctor’s bedside manner and the clinic facilities. Additionally, social media can be a great way to view a doctor’s work (a picture is worth 1,000 words in this case!).
Myth #5: Fillers and wrinkle reducers are a “one and done” treatment.
Wrinkle reducers and fillers often require a bit of patience and commitment to achieve the desired results. “It’s definitely a good idea to view [injectables] as a process,” explains Dr. Shafer. “I encourage people to start out slow [and] customize results with additional treatments over time.”
Dr. Hale agrees, adding that fillers and wrinkle reducers are not intended to dramatically change your appearance overnight. “[With fillers], I will often use one syringe every six to 12 months, just to subtly add back some lost volume,” she says. One filler treatment can last anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on the product and where it is injected on the face. For wrinkle reducers, treatments should be scheduled at least 3 months apart.
Myth #6: Your body will reject fillers.
If you’ve ever seen shows like Botched, it can be easy to assume fillers pose a huge risk of monstrous allergic reactions. The truth is, the likelihood of such reactions were more common when collagen was the only option. Today, most fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, “a substance that occurs naturally in the body with an extremely low allergenicity,” explains Dr. Hale.
Dr. Shafer agrees, noting that hyaluronic acid poses very low biocompatibility risks. That said, always talk to your doctor about your allergy history to see if this treatment is right for you and learn about potential side effects.
Myth #7: Fillers and wrinkle reducers are permanent.
Unless you specifically opt for a semi-permanent filler—made from either fat or collagen (which many pros, including Dr. Shafer, usually discourage)—your body naturally metabolizes hyaluronic acid fillers over time. Moreover, if you’re unhappy with your filler results your doctor can usually add more to even out the results. As for wrinkle reducers, the effects dissipate after a few months.
Make sure you talk to your provider to understand all your options, the risks, and the benefits! Have more questions? Chat with a trained aesthetic specialist now.