Since 1997, Maxwell Aesthetics has provided a beautiful, private, and peaceful setting for cosmetic plastic surgery and medical spa services. Dr. Gwen Maxwell is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and well known for the beautiful and natural looking results she achieves for her patients. All surgical procedures are performed at the Surgery Center at River Road, which is adjacent to Maxwell Aesthetic which is certified by the AAAASF, the State of Arizona, and Medicare. Learn more: https://maxwell-aesthetics.com.
Injectables - What Are They, Exactly, and How Do They Work?
Injectables - What Are They, Exactly, and How Do They Work?
There are three general injectable categories, and they do different things:
- First, neurotoxins are injectables that include things like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin.
- Second, dermal fillers, which are gels.
- Third, biostimulants which actually help rebuild your own tissue.
Neurotoxins (Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin)
Neurotoxins like Botox and Dysport, just like they sound, are toxins. But we like to call them neuromodulators so they sound less scary. Because, really, they’re very safe. There are billions of these used every day.
What neuromodulators do is inhibit muscle movement. If you look in the mirror and make a frown and squeeze your eyebrows together, you might have some little lines show up between the brows, or if you raise your eyebrows up, you might have some horizontal lines there.
So, when we inject Botox or Dysport, it inhibits that movement from happening so that you’re not able to raise your eyebrows like that, or frown or crease as much. This doesn’t mean that your smile is going to be frozen. It just means that you won’t be expressing those muscles in certain ways. What that does is cut off the ability of those wrinkles to form or deepen.
Growing up, as children, we have all this beautiful collagen and other good stuff in our skin. We can make those expressions like frowning or smiling, and it just bounces back. And then in our early to mid-twenties, our collagen production decreases drastically. That’s why we start to see those lines when we make those expressions.
Botox and Dysport are very popular for a lot of upper face lines, around the eyes, forehead, and between the eyes. But then there are also some beautiful uses in the lower face: it can even help smooth out your chin. It can lift the corners of the mouth, and you can use it around the lips to soften lines or make them appear a little fuller.
Dermal Fillers (Gels)
Dermal fillers, or just “fillers,” are different. Fillers are good for creating contouring and shaping in very specific areas. In the lips, for example, or maybe a little bit in the cheeks, or giving someone a little more projection or structure in the chin or jawline.
Contrary to what their name would suggest, fillers do not go in the entire face and “fill it.” When it’s used artistically and judiciously, filler can look absolutely beautiful. Where people get into trouble with fillers sometimes is when they get their lips done once and they think, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. It looks so natural, my lips look soft and smooth and plump and beautiful.” So later they go back and they get more fillers, and think, “This is so amazing,” but they keep going back and getting more, and nobody ever tells them it’s time to stop.
There is a limited capacity in our lips, for example; if you keep adding more filler, there are only so many places it can go and that’s when it starts to get that weird, duck-lips kind of look. That’s from adding too much filler and from going to an injector who never tells their patient, “Hey, I don’t think this is a good idea.”
I always have that conversation with my patients. because there are times when adding more lip fillers will not make those lips look bigger — it’s going to make them look deformed, unusual, or abnormal. It’s hard a lot of times for people to realize that when they’re looking at their own faces, which is why you need a trusted injector to be able to look at you and tell you. That’s why we’re here!
The other thing to keep in mind with fillers is that, for the most part, they’re dissolvable. That is both for safety reasons, and, if something bad happens or someone does come to my office and they have too much and it’s migrated around the lips, which can happen, we can actually dissolve that down and get them back to that more natural look.
Another thing is with “perioral lines,” or those little, tiny lines around the lips, I have to find ways to address that artistically, because I’ve seen it done where some people will just pump a whole bunch of filler in that area. But then that makes them look like a monkey; it just puffs out your face (like your cheeks are full.) That’s not cute…we don’t do that here. But I have seen that done a lot.
Biostimulants (Sculptra and Restylane)
Biostimulants are in a different category, in that they stimulate your body to regrow collagen. Actually, lasers do this as well, as can good skincare. But what I do with biostimulant injectables is do it in a targeted way to help your body increase tissue mass. I use products like Sculptra, for example, which is an injectable that gets injected under the dermis and stimulates your body’s collagen growth response. It grows Type I collagen, and what that does is tighten the skin up. It helps to re-volumize it, but not in a big “puffy” sort of way. When I say volume, think about the plumpness your skin had when you were younger. So biostimulants bring back that suppleness.
This can be really good, especially for women over 40. When we age, we start to get lower face laxity because we lose bone, muscle, collagen, fat, and sometimes the will to live, because it all goes south as we get older!
With that lower face laxity, it gets droopy around the lip area near the sides of the mouth where it bulges out a little bit. I get that complaint a lot, and people a lot of times will want to put filler in there. Yes, sometimes filler’s appropriate, but it doesn’t get to the root cause, which is tissue laxity. So, that one is a big one (where biostimulants can help).
Products like Sculptra help to replace collagen, which can drastically tighten up that lower face and decrease the folds that you see between the nose and the mouth (we call that the nasolabial fold). Sculptra is a beautiful product because it’s very natural looking.
If you’re interested in coming to Maxwell Med Spa for injectables, please contact us online or call us at (520) 751-1225 to book your appointment today.