We're not big fans of the term "anti-aging" — it connotes that aging is bad, and you need to be young in order to be beautiful. Which is a fat load of crap. Beauty comes in all forms and all ages — it's about being confident in who you are. That said, confidence doesn't always mean acceptance. For many women, feeling good from within can sometimes mean opting for cosmetic procedures — like lasers, plastic surgery, or injectables — on the outside. And we're here to say there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, either. Every woman has the right to alter, or not alter, her appearance in the way she sees fit without being ostracized for her personal choices. Period.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about one of those procedures in particular: injectables. These are formulas that are injected — hence the name — into the skin to alter the appearance and, sometimes, the structure of the skin. They are divided into four main categories: neuromodulators (freezers), fillers, biostimulators (collagen-building), and fat modulators (dissolvers). According to The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 15.6 million cosmetic procedures, including both minimally invasive and surgical, were performed in the United States in 2014. Of those 15.6 million, injectable treatments made up 9 million. Which is a 4% increase from 2013. Meaning, injectables are not only becoming more commonplace, they are being also administered more frequently.
Part of this reason is because they are much safer and more minimally invasive than traditional plastic surgery. "Prior to the last decade or so, you only had surgery," says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of The 5th Avenue Dermatology Surgery and Laser Center. "The use of injectables has become the number-one form of cosmetic enhancement in the world because of its ease, safety, and immediacy."
With the variety of options out there, it can be confusing to know what each one is and what it does — which is where we come in to help break it all down. We spoke to a large sampling of derms and plastic surgeons to get all of the injectables intel. One thing all the doctors we spoke to said was important to note? All injectables are created equal. "There is no one injectable that is the best," says Dr. Frank. "It's what is the best treatment [for the patient]. I try not to sell my patients on a syringe of X — I try to sell them on a result."
Another common point brought up by our experts? Where you go and who you go to is the difference between a natural look and a "done" look. "Do your due diligence in making sure you are treated by a credentialed and expert injector, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon," says Vivian Bucay, MD, a dermatologist in San Antonio. "Having an MD is not enough. After all, would you want your gynecologist taking care of your heart or your cardiologist performing neurosurgery?"
Yannis Alexandrides, MD, a plastic surgeon and founder of 111Skin, adds, "It’s important to remember that just because these injectables can be administered quickly with low risk, this is still a medical procedure. Always choose a board-registered professional with extensive expertise before undergoing any treatment."
Whether you're interested in injectables or not, we think it's important to educate yourself on what's out there in order to make informed choices about if and how you want to alter your features. You do you.
Ahead, you'll find a detailed overview of each category, as well as information on each product that falls under it, and what it is best for — because the world of injectables is so much bigger than Botox alone.