Botox & fillers
You can’t reverse the ageing process, but there are ways you can hide the inevitable signs.
BY: Esther Low
Crow’s feet (laugh lines), fine lines, sunken cheeks, droopy eyes … most of us would probably be able to relate to one or the other as we grow older. Still, if you don’t feel your age, and don’t want to look it either, there are things you can do.
Dr Wong Soon Tee, consultant dermatologist of Assurance Skin, Laser & Aesthetics, shares more on botox and fillers, two of the most common medical procedures targeted at treating such conditions:
What is the difference between botox and fillers?
Botox and fillers are common medical procedures carried out for appearance enhancement. Botox is a chemical/drug that blocks the signal transmission between the nerve ending and the muscle (or sweat glands). When injected into the appropriate muscle, it will render the muscle inactive. Therefore, it is useful in the following areas:
a) Wrinkles resulted from dynamic activity of facial muscles, e.g. forehead lines, crow’s feet and frown lines.
b) Facial slimming to reduce bulky jaw muscles from overuse.
c) To reduce excessive sweating as well.
Fillers’ main purpose is for volume replacement/augmentation, e.g. correcting furrows, depressed scars, sunken cheeks, or augmenting a flat nose or recessive chin. It also has hydrating- and collagen-stimulating activity.
Very often, you need both as they are complementary to each other given they each have their specific role and purpose.
How long does a treatment last on an average? Cost?
On average, just one treatment will last three to five months for botox and six to 18 months for fillers. Cost varies with the quantity required, the region of treatment as well as in the different clinics. It can start anywhere from $200 to $2,000.
What are the side effects?
As both are injection treatments, bruising may sometimes happen when a blood vessel is nicked.
Side effects specific to botox include drooping of eyelids (due to inappropriate placement of the injection) and asymmetry. Side effects specific to fillers include asymmetry, infection, product migration (fillers moving away from original position), bluish discolouration because of too superficial product placement, and blood vessel occlusion (this occurs when the product is accidentally injected into the blood vessel lumen, resulting in blockage of blood supply to the skin).
Thankfully, besides bruising and asymmetry, the rest of the side effects are uncommon.
How long does it take for the results to show? How short/long is the downtime for both treatments?
Results for fillers are immediate, with a downtime of half to two days. Results for botox start to show on the third to fourth day and reach their full effects after 10 to 12 days. There is no downtime.
Which are the more common areas/trend where the procedures are carried out on?
Upper face dynamic wrinkles are the most common area for botox treatments, e.g. forehead lines, frown lines and crow’s feet. Others include chemical brow lifting, correction of bunny lines (wrinkles beside the nose) and gummy smiles (show gum tissue when smiling), perioral wrinkles (around the lips), neck bands, etc.
Common request for filler treatment include skin-plumping and volumisation, skin-hydration, augmentation of cheeks, lips, nose and chin, and scar correction.
Are there any age limits to having these procedures? At which ages are people (men and women) more likely to go for treatments?
Usually people tend to be between 35 to 50s but there is no age limits set. In fact, botox is being used by paediatricians to treat children with muscle problems.
Which types of botox and fillers are safer and what should people who want these treatments watch out for? Any cautionary tales, etc?
In good hands, the treatments are safe. If I had to give a piece of advice, it would be to choose a good doctor – one with experience, good credentials, good experience and if possible, recommended by friends!