Today’s guest post was written by Leah Seward, a Biomedical Engineer for ISIS Biopolymers.
Injectable treatments are an increasingly popular way to repair wrinkles in an effort to hold onto younger-looking skin for a little while longer. But are these injectable wrinkle treatments the right solution for everyone? If you are considering injectables, should you take the plunge?
What are injectable wrinkle treatments?
Injectables consist of various substances that are injected into the skin and soft tissue at varying depths in order to give the face a rejuvenated look. There are many kinds of injectables, but you have probably heard most about dermal fillers and BOTOX® Cosmetic. Injectable wrinkle fillers, like Restylane® and Perlane®, are actually medical devices that have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration, or FDA, to fill in moderate and severe wrinkles. They are usually temporary and can last about 6 months (duration varies among users) since the body eventually breaks them down and absorbs them. These wrinkle repair products are based on a variety of chemistries:
Collagen: An important skin structural protein
Hyaluronic acid: A naturally-produced lubricant that binds water
Calcium hydroxylapatite: A major component of bone.
Poly-L-lactic acid: A synthetic material often used in stitches and bone screws.
BOTOX Cosmetic: Not a dermal filler but rather an FDA-approved treatment injected into the muscles between the eyebrows to prevent those muscles from contracting, thereby improving the appearance of forehead frown lines.
Benefits and risks associated with injectables
Benefits: Injectables are viewed as devices or drugs and therefore, must be approved by the FDA. This is good news since they must undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy before the FDA will allow them to go on the market. Also, these injectables are administered by a medical professional, so you have the benefit of receiving expert administration. And even though they are usually temporary, injectables provide a relatively long-lasting reduction in wrinkle appearance. Successful results are common and, while they depend on skin health, the doctor’s proficiency in administration, and the actual characteristics of the filler itself, as long as you maintain realistic expectations for success, you will likely see fairly noticeable results.
Risks: Although injectables such as Restylane and BOTOX have been approved by the FDA, injecting a substance into the skin always holds the risk of potential side effects and complications. Many of the side effects that are possible are short-lived and, while they occur right after the injections are made, don’t usually last more than approximately one week. These side effects often include but are not limited to redness, bruising, swelling, and/or pain at the injection site, itching, tenderness, and rash. Also, more serious effects can occur. They can show up either immediately post-treatment or later on down the road. These may include but again are certainly not limited to severe allergic reaction and spread of the BOTOX toxin effects to other areas of the body. Lastly, one disadvantage is that people with certain pre-existing conditions cannot use these treatments at all.
Are injectables the right option for you?
Injectable wrinkle treatments have many pros and many cons. If you think injectables are the solution for your wrinkles, it is important that you delve deeper and conduct research to be as informed as possible regarding the advantages and disadvantages of these treatments. What’s more, find an experienced doctor. Ask him or her questions. Learn if you have any types of pre-existing conditions or allergies that would exclude you from use. Then, you should weigh the risks and benefits and decide. Injectables are an elective cosmetic procedure, so the decision over whether or not to use them to improve the look of your wrinkles is ultimately yours.
About the author
Leah currently works as a Biomedical Engineer for Isis Biopolymer, a pioneer in skin rejuvenation technology. Isis Biopolymer recently released the Biobliss patchTM, a noninvasive transdermal patch that reduces wrinkle appearance in just one hour. Leah conducts research for Isis Biopolymer and coordinated the clinical trials for the Biobliss patchTM. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology from Brown University, graduating magna cum laude and with honors. Leah then went on to receive her Master of Science degree in Biology (Artificial Organs, Biomaterials, and Cellular Technology) from Brown University in 2010.
A bunch of lawyers are making us say this:
The author is not a medical professional or expert and this blog is not intended to be instructional for medical diagnosis or treatment. It is not intended as medical advice or take the place of a consultation with a physician or competent healthcare professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment of any kind; or serve as an endorsement for any medical practice, prescription, drug, supplement, treatment, physician, pharmaceutical product, or medical device. Every effort has been made by ISIS to provide accurate, complete, and up-to-date information; however, the state of skin care knowledge is constantly changing; thus, the blog may contain errors and/or omissions. Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider promptly with any skin or healthcare-related questions.