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As someone who’s worked in the beauty industry for the greater part of a decade, it’s not crazy for me to receive fancy skincare samples, new high-tech treatments or even offers for in-office treatments for coverage. Over time, my scope of coverage widened from new product lines, releases and ingredients to include minimally invasive procedures like injectables. I started experimenting with both filler and Botox when I was 27, and now that I’m closing in on 35, it’s become something I do fairly regularly to maintain a smooth but natural-looking complexion. But not everyone is a beauty editor with enough experience to go into a dermatologist appointment with little fear and even fewer questions; here are the seven major things you should always ask before you get filler, Botox or any other injectable.
First, am I a good candidate for Botox or filler?
Generally speaking, healthy adults between the ages of 25-50 who seek a temporary solution to fine lines and wrinkles with minimal downtime are good candidates for Botox injections. Similarly, the ideal candidates for dermal fillers are healthy non-smokers who understand that dermal fillers are a temporary solution to smooth a wrinkle or increase volume on the face.
Of course, anatomical structure, medical history, unrealistic expectations or certain allergies can make you a non-ideal candidate, which is why it’s important to speak with your doctor before committing to injectables.
How do I find a qualified injector?
It’s best to leave injectables or other minimally invasive treatments to board-certified dermatologists.
They often receive additional product-related training or may participate in clinical trials for new injectables. Many nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants are qualified to inject, but if you’re unsure who will administer your treatment, ask when you make the appointment.
Either way, look at numerous before and after pictures on the practice’s social media accounts or website. Look for patients similar to you in their “before” photos, as results can vary by facial structure, type of filler used, and the treated area. I chose Dr. Lara Devgan as my injector in NYC because of how extensively she covers her work on her social media. She’s also a top-ranked, board-certified dermatologist. (I’ve also gone to Dr. Joshua Zeichner and Dr. Elyse Love in NYC — both of whom I can’t recommend enough. In Los Angeles, Dr. Ava Shamban is my go-to.)
What product is right for me?
First, know that filler and Botox are non-interchangeable. Botox (also sometimes known as Dysport, Xeomin and Jeuveau, which are other products that have a similar effect) is a neurotoxin injection designed to temporarily relax muscles that form expression lines and wrinkles, typically around the forehead, eyes, mouth or masseter muscle. Alternatively, filler (also called Juvéderm, Radiesse, Restylane and Sculptra, among other brands) can correct moderate-to-severe facial wrinkles and skin folds and increase the volume of lips, cheeks, chin, under-eye hollows and jawline, among other areas.
Your doctor may use a mix of products based on your desired results.
What will the actual appointment be like?
Again, this varies by practice and doctor, but most professionals will ask what parts of your face you’re considering treating so they can apply a topical anesthetic. While this is common for filler, which tends to be more painful, it’s less so with Botox, which is usually quicker and less painful. Either way, your doctor should leave enough time for you to ask questions — not just to answer them but also to see how your face moves when you speak. They may also ask you to make certain expressions for this reason. (For example, not everybody’s forehead wrinkles in the same way, and other people may be more prone to volume loss on one side of the face.)
Your doctor can also walk you through which products they plan to use, how much and why.
How much does it cost?
Each practice prices treatments differently. Some do it by volume of product, others by anatomical region and others calculate costs using some mix of the two. While it’s sometimes hard for a doctor to guarantee a specific price until they see your particular facial structure, you can let them know you’re looking to stay within a specific budget before injecting — that way, they can be realistic with you about your results, as well as what they may be able to do within that range. That said, most of my Botox appointments are around the $300 mark, and most of my filler appointments vary between $750-$1,500 depending on the amount of product used and where it’s applied. (Tear troughs, for example, are generally more costly than the cheeks.)
What kind of result can I expect?
If you have moderate to severe wrinkles and it’s your first time, your doctor may suggest administering a smaller amount first, then booking a follow-up appointment to see how the product settled. Otherwise, you can typically see filler results within two days after swelling goes down and Botox within two weeks, when the neurotoxin starts freezing the muscle. But generally, you can expect results to last about three to four months for Botox, and six to nine months for filler, depending on the type of product and your metabolism.
What does aftercare look like?
While some can experience irritation at the injection site, Botox is typically a zero-downtime procedure. Bruising and swelling are more common with filler, so it’s important to clear your calendar for a few days afterward. (I like to take Arnica capsules in the days leading up to my filler appointments to reduce the chance of bruising.)
For both types of injectables, make sure you don’t touch or rub the injected site for 2-4 hours following treatment, and you’ll want to abstain from exercising, sweating, taking a hot shower or laying face-down for the next 24 hours.
As always, ask your doctor for any additional precautions you should take after treatment.
Not sure if you’re ready to take the plunge into injectables? Know that they’re not suitable for everyone — and you can choose to smooth fine lines and wrinkles the old-fashioned way: with the right skincare products. Here are a few dermatologist-loved products I swear by to protect the skin, slough away fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten my complexion between treatments.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, $28.99
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