Differences Between Types Of Injectables
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Differences Between Types Of Injectables

Injectable cosmetic treatments continue to see a rise in demand year over year. Based on the 2019 Plastic Surgery Report conducted by ASPS, Botox and soft tissue fillers, the two most popular types of injectables, top the list of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures with 7.7 million and 2.7 million treatments, respectively.

Yielding impressive results, no scarring, and virtually no downtime, it’s no wonder everyone’s choosing Botox or fillers as their go-to anti-aging treatment over invasive plastic surgery options such as facelifts. 

If you’re curious about cosmetic injections but are unsure about what sets them apart from each other, this article is for you. Let us break down the differences between the three main types of injectables to help you decide which one best fits your beauty needs. 

Continue reading to learn more! 

1. Neuromodulators

The first type of injectables are neuromodulators. These injectables give minute doses of botulinum toxin directly into the underlying muscle to weaken and relax the skin on the targeted treatment area. Commercially, neuromodulators are known as:

  • Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) 
  • Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA)
  • Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA)
  • Myobloc (imabotulinumtoxinB)

Botox was the first FDA approved drug to use botulinum toxin. Each brand has its differences in terms of the recommended dosage for treatment and is therefore not interchangeable. These type of injectables are primarily used for the cosmetic treatment of sagging skin and prominent fine lines and wrinkles in the facial area caused by aging, such as:

  • Crow’s feet (orbicularis oculi)
  • Frown lines (glabellar complex)
  • Bunny lines (nasalis)
  • Nasolabial folds (levator labii superioris alaeque nasi)
  • Marionette lines (depressor anguli oris)

Off-label, these types of injectables are also sometimes used to address excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), lazy eye, and migraines.

A woman getting a Botox injection on her crow’s feet

How Long Do Botox Results Last?

Generally, Botox treatments are expected to last between three to four months. If you’re happy with the results of your first cosmetic injection treatment, your doctor will recommend a follow-up treatment to maintain its youthful results. After that, you can expect Botox treatments to last significantly longer. 

2. Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers or soft-tissue fillers are types of injectables that address facial volume loss and sagging skin due to aging, rapid weight loss, or excessive sun damage. Like Botox, dermal fillers are injected into the skin to introduce volume and structural support in various areas of the face.

Fillers are an inexpensive way to fight visible signs of aging or achieve aesthetic enhancements without invasive surgery. The most common applications for these types of injectables include:

Woman getting lip fillers

Types of Dermal Fillers

There are several types of injectable dermal fillers available for cosmetic treatments. All of these cosmetic injectable products are made with a different active ingredient and therefore offer unique features. Here are some of the most popular dermal fillers:

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse)

Radiesse uses calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) microspheres, a naturally occurring mineral-like compound found in human teeth and bones, suspended in an aqueous gel carrier. Radiesse is the first FDA-approved dermal filler for anti-aging treatment of both face and hands. Beyond instant volumizing benefits, Radiesse is also a collagen stimulator, promising a more refreshed and radiant appearance several months post-treatment when the body’s collagen storehouses have been replenished. Results from this type of injectable filler can last up to 15 months.

Hyaluronic Acid (Juvederm, Restylane, Teosyal)

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the most common ingredients present in many anti-aging skincare products. It’s a naturally occurring sugar found in the skin that holds water, keeping it beautifully hydrated and plump. Like collagen and elastin, the amount of hyaluronic acid present in the body slows down as you age. The cosmetic results of HA-based types of injectables can last anywhere from six months up to a year. 

Polyalkylimide (Aquamid)

Polyalkylimide is a semi-permanent type of injectable filler, a synthetic but biocompatible, non-allergenic, and non-resorbable hydrogel injected subcutaneously. It is used for facial contouring, volume restoration, and soft tissue augmentation. Unlike temporary dermal fillers, Aquamid can last for five to 15 years. 

Poly-L-lactic Acid (Sculptra)

Poly-L-lactic acid is another synthetic type of injectable soft-tissue filler used for anti-aging cosmetic treatments. It has a long history of medical safety, having been used for more than 40 years in dissolvable sutures. Sculptra, the leading brand of facial injection fillers that uses this ingredient, is known for its natural-looking results in addressing fine lines and wrinkles in the lower part of the face; specifically for smile lines, marionette lines, and chin wrinkles. 

Unlike other types of injectables, the results of Sculptra appear gradually, taking three to four weeks post-treatment to see the full effects that can last up to two years. The treatment plan typically consists of three injections over three to four months. 

Polymethyl-methacrylate Microspheres (Bellafill)

Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA) is a semi-permanent type of injectable filler that has shown fantastic, long-term results in treating medium-to-deep wrinkles, filling out pitted scars, and enhancing the contours of the lips. PMMA has a proven track record of safety and efficacy as it’s been used for many years in permanent surgical implants. 

Some of the known disadvantages of this type of injectable are that it can take as long as three months to see the final results. At first, your aesthetic doctor will underfill and gradually build up to achieve the desired volume in the succeeding treatments to lower the risks of mishaps. It also has a chance of showing under the skin. It’s critical that you only work with a highly qualified cosmetic doctor with considerable experience in administering these types of injectables. 

3. Belkyra/Kybella

Belkyra, known as Kybella in the United States, is a deoxycholic acid currently approved to treat “double chins.” It’s a synthetic injectable cosmetic filler treatment that destroys stubborn fat deposits in the chin or neck area. Once the fat cells are broken down, they can no longer produce fat. Meaning, the chin-sculpting results are permanent and do not require further treatments once you’re happy with the final results. 

This type of injectable is the perfect treatment for both men and women looking to achieve a slim, contoured, and sculpted chin, jawline, and neck. A typical Belkyra treatment only takes 15 to 20 minutes and the number of injections depends on the amount of fat in the treatment area. It promises long-term results that can last up to four years.

Female patient receiving cosmetic injectable treatment on the chin

What to Expect and How to Prepare for Injectable Cosmetic Treatments

Dubbed as “lunchtime treatments,” cosmetic injections are quick in-office procedures that can be done in as little time as 15 to 30 minutes. There is very minimal discomfort if any. In most cases, the treatment area is prepped with a numbing cream to make the whole treatment experience more comfortable. No anesthesia is necessary.

Some patients may notice slight bruising or swelling on the injection site, although it’s rare and dissipates on its own after several hours. There is no downtime involved in most of these types of injectables – you can go back to the office or see your friends as soon as you step out of the clinic – although, avoiding exercise or any strenuous physical activities for the first 24 to 48 hours is advised. 

Which of These Types of Injectables Is the Right One for You?

With the wide variety of injectable cosmetic treatments currently available, it can be quite overwhelming to determine which one best fits your needs without the professional opinion of a medical aesthetics expert or plastic surgeon.

Dr. Hugh McLean is certified as a specialist in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, Inc. He has over decades of experience and knowledge in treating patients using the latest types of injectables.

Learn more about how cosmetic injections like Botox, Belkyra, or dermal fillers work and what they can do for you by scheduling an appointment with Dr. McLean. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, a friendly member of the McLean Clinic will be more than happy to assist you.

Contact us now!

January 29, 2021
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