Once available only to the rich and famous, non-surgical cosmetic procedures like Botox and Restylane injections are today being used by people from all walks of life.
Everyone from housewives to male executives, even people in their early 20s, are signing up for the procedures in a bid to banish wrinkles and look years younger.
The two most popular procedures at the moment seem to be the muscle relaxant Botox and the wrinkle filler Restylane. Botox is injected into facial muscles to relax them and stop them from wrinkling the skin. Restylane, on the other hand, fills the tissue to plump up facial lines.
Star Cosmetic Medicine in Pyrmont specialises in muscle relaxants. Cosmetic physician Mariusz Gajewski has been administering Botox cosmetically for three years and in intensive care for eight years.
He explained it is often used for medical purposes, such as to stop muscle spasms in children with cerebral palsy.
Botox was originally used to stop eye muscle spasms. By sheer coincidence people who had it done had beautiful skin texture afterwards, Gajewski explained. And the rest is cosmetic history.
The product is a formulation of the bacterium botulinum type A, which produces a protein which relaxes muscles. Its effects last between three months and 12 months, depending on where it is used and how much of it is injected.
Cosmetically it is used mostly for lines around the eyes, between the eyebrows and around the forehead. It causes different effects depending on which muscles are relaxed.
For instance, a hot Botox procedure at the moment is eyebrow re-sculpting. It’s been very popular with ladies who want a higher arched eyebrow or eyebrow flares like Kylie Minogue, Gajewski said. It’s all done with Botox.
Knowing the facial anatomy of muscles is quite amazing. It’s something I still get excited about.
Around 20 percent of his clients are male, some of whom have Botox in places like the underarms or hands to prevent excessive sweating.
Side effects can include slight bruising or bleeding after the injections. There have been cases of eyelid droop after injections around the eye but it is rare. Only experienced cosmetic physicians should be trusted to administer Botox.
Gajewski charges $12.50 per unit of Botox, with between 20 and 24 units needed for most facial procedures. That’s around $250 to $300. However, the cost depends on which procedures are done.
When it comes to wrinkle fillers, Restylane has replaced collagen injections as the product of choice because it lasts much longer -“ collagen lasted around three months while Restylane can last from six to 12 months.
Restylane is a gel made from hyaluronic acid which comes in a number of different thicknesses, with the thinnest form used for small lines while the thicker forms are used for deeper lines, like those around the mouth.
According to Dr Joseph Ajaka, director of Cosmos Cosmetic Medicine in the CBD, Restylane is usually used around the mouth, nose and cheeks.
Like Botox injections Restylane can result in slight bruising or swelling, but most people find they can leave the surgery and get straight back to work without anyone noticing, unless the injections were in the lips -“ they usually swell for a couple of days.
The great thing about Restylane, Ajaka said, was that if there were any problems it can be dissolved using another special product injected into the same area. You can’t do that with any other fillers like collagen, he said.
Restylane costs from $300 to $880 depending on the type used and how much is used.
When it comes to things you can do at home to keep your skin looking more youthful, Ajaka said there are three things people should do.
Use a sun cream each day containing lots of zinc oxide (four to five percent minimum), use a form of vitamin A cream, which should help with pigmentation, wrinkles and capillaries, and thirdly he said to use anti-oxidant cream to help mop up the oxidants produced by the body.