American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Spring forward? How about turning back time with injectables?

turning back time with injectables

It's a sure sign that spring has sprung, the day you change the clock and then question what time it is all day. While springing forward and falling back are only legitimate forms of "time travel" we can experience in this day and age, turning the dial on a clock certainly can't transform your skin into the skin of your youth.

However, board-certified plastic surgeons have plenty of tools to help revitalize your face and help wipe away the appearance of time.

Injectables are one of the most potent nonsurgical tools that can help rewind the clock and give you a more youthful and radiant appearance. ASPS Member Surgeon Kristy Hamilton, MD, thinks injectables are a great place to start if you want to perk up your look.

"I tell patients when they're coming in and considering doing something for the first time, it's a really easy way to dip your toe into the aesthetic pond, so to speak," said Dr. Hamilton.

What are injectables?

There can be some confusion over the term "injectables." Injectables are a broad classification of cosmetic products that physicians can use to help fill, plump and smooth lines in specific facial areas. The type of injectable needed to achieve a youthful and glowing appearance depends on your unique aesthetic goals and can be customized to each individual.

Neuromodulators are a type of injectable that helps smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. You probably know neuromodulators by their brand names, such as Botox and Dysport.

"There is a reason that Botox and neuromodulators in general are so popular, and it's because they are so effective," said Dr. Hamilton when asked about softening the appearance of aging.

Neuromodulators block specific chemical signals from the nerves that cause muscles to contract. By "paralyzing" the muscle and preventing it from moving, surgeons can smooth and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. Dr. Hamilton said neuromodulators like Botox are highly effective for the upper third of the face, between the brows, the forehead and for crow's feet around the eyes.

Fillers are another popular injectable treatment that can help reduce the signs of aging. Like it or not, fat, to a certain degree, is our friend. Deep fat compartments give the face volume. As we age, we can lose facial fat, meaning areas of the face can lose fullness, leading to wrinkles and sagging.

Dermal fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane, which are hyaluronic acid-based fillers, add volume to the face, restoring a youthful plumpness and glow.

"Filler is a plumper," said Dr. Hamilton. "We lose volume in our faces over time. It is well-established that our fat pads shrink, our facial skeletons shrink and our connective tissue gets looser on top of it. Pop the balloon, and also, now the balloon is saggy. That's where filler comes in as shaping and sculpting."

Who wants to beat the clock?

Injectables are touted as the gold standard of nonsurgical treatments for achieving that youthful glow. These products are popular among a wide range of age groups. Patients of all ages are looking for ways to stall the march of time, and it is not uncommon to see a 20-year-old and a 45-year-old both request injectables.

"Injectables remain popular, and I see younger patients embracing them," said ASPS Member Surgeon Katerina Gallus, MD, FACS.

Statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show that 126,907 patients between 20 and 29 received neuromodulator treatments in 2022. Yet, other age groups are coming in looking to perk up their appearance too.

"This can vary from those in their 20s looking to prejuvenate to older women in their 60s and beyond, perhaps adding to the longevity of facial surgery or softening signs of aging," said Dr. Gallus.

However, not all patients are starting as early as their 20s with neuromodulators.

"Early 30s and 35, that's when a lot of patients come in for the first time because they've had about ten years of collagen breakdown," said Dr. Hamilton.

In 2022, 1,614,239 patients turned to neuromodulators like Botox to help them achieve a fresher appearance.

Younger patients turn to injectables to stall time, while older patients use them to help turn back the hands of the clock just a bit.

Results that hit the snooze button

Nonsurgical options like injectables can make a difference in the look of fine lines and wrinkles, plus plump and refresh the appearance of the face. Yet, what realistic results can a person expect from these time-turning treatments?

Dr. Hamilton put it best when she said it depends on your starting point.

"Think about how long it took to get these wrinkles," said Dr. Hamilton. "A 27-year-old with a hint of a line – one treatment and it'll be gone. If it's been 30 years of building these lines, I tell patients you'll see a nice improvement right away, but we're not doing to eliminate those deep lines in one session."

Always consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is an ASPS Member Surgeon for the best results. They'll be able to recommend which injectables are best to meet your goals.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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