I’ve been asked a lot lately if I get injectables. People are often a bit coy about the question, as if they’re asking me to reveal something illicit about my life. While treatments like anti-wrinkle injections and fillers are gaining momentum around the world, it seems here in Australia some women are still reluctant to talk openly about the subject – fearing judgement or derision...
But a recent study called Face Value has suggested this worry is largely unfounded. Last year Allergan commissioned a study of more than 2000 Aussie women and, while a whopping 71% of them were worried they would be judged if they had injectables, only 17% said they would actually discourage a friend from doing it. Nearly half (46%) of respondents said they would be supportive.
As we all know, many celebrities still boldly deny dabbling in injections even though they clearly look younger and fresher than they did a few years ago.
Well, I’ve had enough of all that. I think the celebrities should own it. And so should I – which is why I’m going to come right out and say it proudly. I have injectables a couple of times a year and believe they are highly effective treatments. In the hands of a great practitioner and in conjunction with great skincare and eating well, I think they’re a great way to retain a youthful, vibrant complexion.
Now, I know you’re curious about it – and this is why I launched the cosmetic section a few months ago. Since then, I’ve been busy listening, collating your emails and comments, and I thought I would enlist injectables guru and Cosmetic Physician Dr Cath Porter to help me to answer your queries.
Who do you go to? How can we know who’s good?
I’ve been going to Dr. Joseph Hkeik of All Saints Skin Clinic for a couple of years now. It’s a good idea to find a practitioner you really like, and go back to the same person over a number of years. It’s obviously a big investment so you need to be sure the doctor really understands the look you’re after.
Cath says one way to find a practitioner is to get a personal recommendation because you will get an idea of the look that that practitioner creates and if that’s going to be suited to you or not. “If you’re still unsure, when you meet your practitioner, you can ask them about their qualifications or ask what treatments they spend most of their time doing,” she says.
Another great tool is the myfacemyallergan.com.au clinic locator where you can find doctors who are registered and have appropriate training.
Does it hurt?
It doesn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. Fillers have a little local anaesthetic to numb the area. You hold ice on the area straight after to minimise bleeding and bruising and that helps. Sometimes you get a slight headache for a few hours afterwards, which can be alleviated with some paracetamol or ibuprofen.
How much does it cost?
For entry level anti-wrinkle injections Cath says you’re looking at around $300-$600 every four months and that’s dependent on how many units you’re using and how many areas you’re getting treated. Filler is generally around $500 – $750 per ml (at an entry level) and for most patients you can do quite a bit with 2mls of filler. Either way, you create a treatment plan with your practitioner and you work on that plan gradually according to budget.
“I often ask my patients what they spend on skincare” says Cath, “And a lot of them may have been using department store brands that are quite expensive, that are not cosmeceutical brands, per se, that won’t really be changing the biology of the skin. If you put that into perspective compared with spending a little on anti-wrinkle injections a couple times a year instead, it works out better in the end and gives a better result overall.”
I’m worried it’s going to look unnatural….
This is very common says Cath. “They say, ‘No, no, no, I’d never have [injectables], I’ve seen too many people looking weird.’ but the point is that there are a lot of people that have work that you would never know. It’s the more exaggerated overdone look that gets a lot of oxygen on the social media. The doctors that are putting up nice natural looks don’t get a lot of traction.”
I agree with Cath – you don’t hear about good work because it’s not newsworthy when someone has great cosmetic intervention. And I think the main reason we aren’t aware of good work at work or in our social groups is often because we don’t know it’s “work” in the first place!
When should I start?
The Face Value research found that the average age Aussie women surveyed thought women should start having injectables was 35, but Cath says it’s also feasible to start in your late twenties.
How long does it last?
Anti-wrinkle injections can last up to 4 months and fillers can last anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.
“At the end of that time it’s not like it’s all gone and your face falls apart, it stays around for a while” says Cath. “Skin with filler underneath tends to have a healthier glow and look more hydrated as well.”
Isn’t it a bit dangerous? Injecting toxins or poisons into your body?
“There is a lot of research behind these products” says Cath. “There are a lot of peer reviewed journal articles for fillers too, and a lot of research and hoops the products need to go through to get approved. As far as the muscle relaxants are concerned, I prefer to call it a purified protein rather than a toxin as that’s more easily understood by patients.”
What happens if your doctor makes a mistake with filler?
You should always go back to your treating doctor if you are unhappy with your results. Your doctor should schedule a 2 week follow up appointment post treatment and this is when you can ask any questions or bring up any concerns. Fillers can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyalase, although obviously you want to avoid that if you can. “From a psychological perspective people have got to be sure about really wanting to do the treatment,” adds Cath.
Will I look ten years younger?
“It’s more of a healthy look for one’s age,” she says. “I know people go, ‘What’s the point of looking good for our age, we want to look younger!’ But even someone who has had a facelift is never going to look like a 25-year-old. They will look like they are at the beginning of their decade. We can’t stop the clock but we can slow it down, we can maintain looking the way we feel. If you look the way you feel, then that’s a great thing.”
I couldn’t agree more, Cath. And that’s really the point. It’s about feeling good in your skin. No matter what your age and stage. That’s why I don’t judge anyone for making the decision to undergo any type of cosmetic treatment. These are just some of the tools that science has made available to us. If we have the means and the motivation to use them and it makes us feel better about ourselves, then I can’t see the harm in that. I love the fact that I don’t have deep furrows in my brow anymore and I find it hard to frown. In fact, I don’t want to frown, I want my face to look as positive as I feel.
Story by Sigourney Cantelo. In Association with Allergan.