What’s the first thing you notice when you look at a woman? Not too long ago, the answer would have been their eyes. Today, there is a “new standard” of beauty – this includes a smooth forehead, arched eyebrows, full cheeks, and pouty lips. It may all seem difficult to achieve naturally, right? That’s because it is. With a world of socialites like the Kardashians and Jenners, it’s easy to set impossible standards for yourself physically.
In 2018, 7,437,378 anatomic sites were injected with Botulinum Toxin Type A (Botox), and 2,128,923 syringes of Hyaluronic Acid (Fillers) were administered in the United States. If these numbers look high to you, it is because they are! Women (and men) have been using these non-invasive beauty treatments for years for cosmetic purposes. More recently, women have started receiving botox and filler beauty treatments earlier in their lives.
In a study found by AOL, the average female millennial will take 25,000 selfies in her lifetime. With the constant focus on their faces combined with the fact that beauty treatments like botox and fillers are minimally invasive, it’s no surprise that women are opting to start receiving these treatments earlier in their lifetime. But are beauty treatments like Botox & fillers worth it? Let’s explore.
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Botox is medically known as Botulinum Toxin Type A. Right about now, you may be wondering how people are okay with injecting themselves with a known toxin. Rest assured, when properly administered in small doses, Botox can be effective in treating fine lines and wrinkles. Furthermore, Botox has been approved to treat eyelid spasms, excessive sweating, some bladder disorders, and migraine by the Food & Drug Administration. In short, Botox is an injectable drug that temporarily paralyzes (freezes) a muscle at the injection site by disrupting the nerve signaling process. By preventing the muscle’s movement, fine lines and wrinkles become invisible to the naked eye.
Botox is measured in units. One unit is equivalent to a 0.01-millimeter syringe, so we are talking about very, very small doses here. Most frequently, Botox is used on the face. Some popular areas include the forehead (typically requires 10-30 units), eyebrow lift (typically requires 2-5 units), crows feet (typically requires 5-15 units per side), frown lines (typically requires 10-25 units), nasalis lines (these are the lines around your nose when you smile; typically requires 5-10 units), chin (typically requires 2-6 units), and around the mouth (most knows as a lip flip or a smile lift, typically requires 3-6 units). Each unit can typically cost between $10-$16 depending on your geographic area. As you can see, while the units themselves do not seem like much, depending on how much you get done, the cost can certainly add up.
Another reason the cost can add up is because Botox is not permanent. Botox typically activates in about 72 hours (3 days) and typically lasts about 3 months. Some people see its effects last 2 months, while others see it up to 6 months. On average, however, expect it to last 3 months. As the effect is temporary, you will need to visit your aesthetician once a quarter to get more Botox. Another thing to consider is the more Botox you use, you may build immunity to it and require even more Botox during your future appointments to continue seeing results. In some cases, your body can even build antibodies to fight the toxin, and Botox may not work out in the long run.
Aside from the cost implications of starting Botox, there are a few other things to keep in mind: Botox must be administered by a professional to minimize risks. Patients can experience allergic reactions to the toxin, including injection site pain, swelling, and numbness. In more serious cases, Botox can lead to difficulty breathing or numbness in the wrong areas due to incorrect administration, which can lead you to unexpected results. Using too much Botox can leave you looking frozen with the inability to move your facial muscles and overall causing an unnatural look. If you opt to start Botox, keep this good old saying in mind: less is more.
Let’s throw it back to 2015, when a young Kylie Jenner finally admitted that her lips weren’t just overdrawn; they were in fact treated with fillers. Ever since then, dermal fillers have become extremely popular (especially on lips), but what exactly does the procedure entail? What is even in this “filler”? Let’s get into it.
So first things first: dermal fillers are not the same as Botox. Although both are injectable beauty treatments, Botox and fillers have completely different purposes. As we mentioned earlier, Botox freezes a muscle’s movement. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to “fill in” areas that you want to be plumper. Popular treatment areas include smile lines (to smoothen the deep lines), cheeks (to plump them up), jaws (to give them more definition), noses (fillers can give you the appearance of a straight nose), and of course lips (for pouty lips).
Most fillers these days, like Juvaderm or Restylane products, are made of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that our body produces naturally, so while the application is unnatural (injections), the substance is not foreign to our bodies. Hyaluronic acid is produced in our skin, connective tissues, and eyes with the goal of retaining water to keep everything nice and hydrated. It lasts a different amount of time for everyone, as it’s all dependent on your individual rate of metabolism. Your body can break down hyaluronic acid in as long as 12 months or as quickly as 6 months.
Cost and Side Effects
If you are looking to try fillers, remember that this treatment is not permanent, and it’s not cheap. Just like Botox, fillers have a lifespan. Once your body breaks it down, you will need to get the treatment again if you want to retain the appearance. There are lots of different types of fillers under Juvederm and Restylane product lines, and your aesthetician can walk you through which product would be best for the area you’re looking to treat. Note that the average cost per syringe is $500-$800. Depending on the area you are looking to treat, you may need more than one syringe.
This treatment is also administered as an injectable, so it’s important to keep in mind that you will likely see bruising or swelling upon application in areas with thinner skin, such as your lips. Infections are also possible, so if you start noticing a reaction, call your aesthetician immediately. Speaking from experience, one of our staff members did see a small bubble of filler appear on their lips. Their aesthetician was able to quickly remove it by using hyaluronidase, which immediately breaks down hyaluronic acid.
The riskier part of getting fillers is getting them too frequently. Over time, fillers can actually move upwards on your face. If you think about it, there’s only so much skin can be stretched, and if you keep plumping it, it’s likely to move. Fillers can gradually move upwards and lead to a look you are not going for. An extremely rare occurrence could also occur with fillers where they can cause lumps under your skin or block blood vessels.
Botox and fillers allow us to achieve a younger, more vibrant look, but they do come with their own risks. It’s important that you do your research and make a decision that you will be happy with. Both of these beauty treatments require very little down time, and your appointment will likely last less than 30 minutes. The best piece of advice we can give you is to pick a professional you can trust! We’ll leave you with a warning: once you start, it’s hard to stop. The decision is ultimately yours!