Cosmetic Injectables Are Hugely Popular – But They’re Not Without Risk
Because you want to look beautiful - but you want to stay safe too.
Image: Supplied by Duquessa Clinic.
Cosmetic injectables. It was maybe 15 years ago when I first heard the expression. I was the Beauty Director of the country’s most famed magazine the Australian Women’s Weekly at the time and was regularly offered treatments of all types and when I heard about cosmetic injectables I was instantly intrigued.
The injectables I was offered were muscle freezers – Botox to be exact. To be brutally honest I didn’t have a line on my face (sshhh – it was 15 years ago). But I was intrigued by this incredible-sounding injection which promised to not just vanquish the wrinkles I did not have, but prevent any from developing in the future. Hello! Count me in, I said. This cosmetic injectable caper sounded like magic to me.
And frankly it was. And I’ve been hooked ever since. If and when I am offered a cosmetic injectable I do not hesitate. Heck! Sometimes I even pay for the stuff. And I love the results. I really do. But, and this is a big but, that’s because I ALWAYS get my injectables from highly-qualified, well-respected doctors with impressive backgrounds and reputations to boot.
And that’s important. So very important I can’t even begin to put it into words really. But I need to, particularly with the massive surge in the number of cosmetic injectable procedures being performed. And I’m not the only one who is wanting to get this message across.
The Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia is also concerned. Firstly, the College is worried that there still remains a great deal of confusion among patients as to the differences between these non-surgical procedures as well as the unrealistic expectations many people have.
Accordingly, the group has come out with a handy guide to ensure that we not only know exactly what to expect when we book in for cosmetic injectables, but also, how to ascertain we get our injectables from a reliable, trustworthy and even talented practitioner.
And this is what the group recommends. Firstly, we learn exactly what each treatment involves and what it’s designed to achieve. So here goes.
Cosmetic injectable is a broad term used to cover any treatment that involves injecting a product into or under the skin for cosmetic enhancement. Currently the two most popular procedures are anti-wrinkle injections, probably the biggest player in the field of cosmetic enhancement, followed closely by dermal fillers. However, it’s important to understand that both work by an entirely different mechanism.
Anti-wrinkle injections work by blocking nerve stimulation to wrinkle-causing muscles, which prevents the muscle from contracting and significantly reduces wrinkles and fine lines. As a muscle relaxant, it is commonly used to treat crow’s feet, frown lines between the eyebrows and worry lines across the forehead. (The Botox I sampled all those years ago falls into this category).
These anti-wrinkle injections are used by thousands of women and an increasing number of men to help rejuvenate the appearance of the face by softening dynamic facial lines and to help prevent the formation of new ones.
Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are used to counter the loss of collagen and elastin in the skin by plumping out lines, restoring volume to areas where tissue commonly degenerates with age, fill in pockmarks and acne scars, contour or reshape facial features and add volume to the lips. Fillers are gel-like in consistency, and the type of filler, the area of injection and the depth of injection all influence the final result, and how long they last.
Over the years, there have been significant improvements made in the technology of injectables, which has contributed to their increase in popularity. But – and pay close attention here – while they may have come to be considered commonplace, the CPCA warns it is important for patients to understand these procedures are still medical procedures and, as such, carry inherent risk of side effects and complications.
Further, there has been an increase in the number of unregistered, unqualified people administering cosmetic injectables, resulting in unsafe practice.
“As per recent media reports, the influx of non-approved Schedule 4 drugs into Australia is a huge issue regarding patient safety and therefore is a major concern for the CPCA. The illegal importation of these Schedule 4 drugs for cosmetic use is happening now all ￼over Australia, with potentially dire consequences,” says Dr Michael Molton, President of the CPCA.
So how does a patient safeguard themselves against these unsafe and high-risk practices?
“The most important consideration is to ask about the qualification of the person performing the injecting. It is vital to know what experience they have, how long they have been doing this for and do they have the knowledge and skills to firstly prevent or secondly manage any complications,” explains Dr Michael Molton.
Dr Molton also advises against using health practitioners who implement high-pressure sales techniques, cut-price offers, pay-later schemes and who may use altered imagery to promote their services.
“It is imperative that there is an adequate cooling-off period to ensure the patient is given enough time to ascertain that the procedure is right for them and to assess any associated risk,” he says.
The CPCA also stresses the importance of confirming with your health professional which brand of product is being used and to ensure it is an Australian-distributed product, not one that has been purchased from an overseas website or illegally imported as illegal imports carry a much higher risk of serious and permanent injury.
“It is important to remember, while non-surgical, this is still a cosmetic medical procedure and the final decision should not be based on price, so avoid clinics that exercise aggressive marketing tactics to attract patients,” says Dr Molton.
The competence of the injector should always remain the primary concern, as is the product they are using. It is also vitally important that a patient has a face-to-face consultation with a medical practitioner to discuss potential side effects as well as post-treatment follow-up and any other questions they may have.
“I highly recommend that someone seeking an injectable procedure visit a member of the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia. These doctors focus on non-surgical cosmetic medical procedures. Our physicians put patient safety first at all time and members must follow our code of conduct, ensuring that a high standard of care is provided to the patient to deliver the best outcome,” said Dr Molton.
After all, if you’re going to utilise cosmetic injectables, and hell, I am all for that, you want to get the beautiful results you deserve.
The CPCA is a leading representative body for medical practitioners practicing non- or minimally-invasive cosmetic medical treatments in Australasia. The College, which evolved from the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia, provides education, training and ethical practice standards for its Fellows and Members who are required to have relevant training and experience as prerequisites for admission to the College. The key role of the CPCA is to develop and maintain the highest standards in cosmetic medicine.