As the popularity of cosmetic procedures, like Botox and fillers, steadily continues to rise, many are questioning whether it’s the right choice for them.
Paragons of cosmetic procedures and beauty treatments — from taut faces to plump lips, and flawless skin — are often on display in our social media feeds and in the glossy pages of magazines.
For many, the accessibility of these procedures, which were once reserved mainly for celebrities or the ultra-wealthy, is an exciting evolution that means just about anyone can feel like their best selves.
Curious to answer your biggest questions surrounding the topic (and a few of our own) we turned to world-renowned expert Dr. Jean Carruthers, who first pioneered the cosmetic use of Botox 30 years ago and continues to drive its advances through clinical research and education.
Having recently opened a new cosmetic practice in the city, Carruthers Cosmetic, she was happy to shine some light on our biggest queries.
In celebration of the recent opening, she’s offering free virtual consultations (a big deal since in-office consults are usually $300). So, if you’re left with any lingering questions, you can always book a video session with the award-winning cosmetic pioneer.
In your experience, what are the biggest driving forces that make people want to get cosmetic procedures?
Self-esteem, quality of life, happiness, and confidence are common driving forces. Our faces are our calling cards and we want to make the best first and continuing impressions possible! When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What do others see? Perhaps your frown lines are giving the wrong impression of who you are? If smoothing some wrinkles or fading some dark spots can give you the happiness, confidence, and self-esteem to be your best self, then why not?
What’s the difference between Botox and fillers?
Botox works by relaxing facial muscles so that unwanted facial expressions, such as the frown, can be treated. Botox can also be used to shape the face, raise the eyebrows and mouth corners, and slim the lower half of the face.
Fillers are injected to recontour the face, for example, to elevate the hollow cheeks or temples, or to plump the lips. The commonest filler in use today is made of hyaluronic acid, which is a natural building block in our skin, but it’s made in a lab so it’s pure and sterile for injection.
What are some of the after-effects of Botox and fillers?
The most common side effect is transient bruising. On rare occasions, a transient droop of one eyelid or eyebrow can occur after a Botox treatment. Transient bruising can also be seen after filler injections. In addition, rarely there can be small filler lumps or asymmetry, which needs subsequent adjustment.
Is there anything you should avoid doing after getting Botox or fillers?
We prefer people to carry on with their day, being active and upright after a Botox treatment. We like people to repeatedly frown for a couple of hours after injection for frown lines because it improves the binding of the Botox, and thus the result.
Patients should avoid heavy exercise right after filler injections (such as head down yoga positions) and use an extra pillow that night to raise their head higher than their heart to prevent overnight bruising. Patients should also avoid red wine for 24 hours after filler injections.
When is the “right” time to start getting Botox?
When it becomes clear that there’s a facial change that impacts your self-esteem, confidence, and happiness.
Is preventative Botox a good idea? Does it mean you’ll have to keep doing it forever?
First, we must define what preventative Botox is. Many patients observe their parents’ faces and see severe wrinkles and frown lines that are present and want to avoid this. Preventative Botox is using Botox treatments to keep the skin from getting to that level.
Prevention is the new normal: we can both treat and prevent facial changes but preventing a negative change is always the better choice. Self-esteem has no age and it’s a personal choice to continue with maintenance treatments — my oldest patient is in her 90s.
How long does Botox last? How long do lip fillers last? Is either painful?
Botox lasts three to four months at usual clinical doses. Fillers generally last about six to eight months in the face, however, lip fillers usually last four to six months because of the continued mobility of our lips in speech, sipping, tasting, and kissing! We use topical anesthetic creams and ice to numb the lips before treatment and also use a medical massager as a distraction.
For both treatments, we use very fine needles and a very gentle technique to minimize any possible discomfort.
Can you have cosmetic procedures done in a way that looks natural?
Absolutely! The hallmark of a successful aesthetic treatment is that it appears natural and also a little underdone, which is something I’ve advocated throughout my career and maintain at Carruthers Cosmetic. Overblown lips and cheeks are making us a caricature of ourselves and not something we do at our clinic!
Has covid-19 impacted the kinds of cosmetic procedures people are seeking out?
Most definitely! The two main changes revolve around Zoom calls and masks. We are all spending more time on video calls being forced to look at our own faces at an unprecedented level. This has led to an upswing in gentle Botox treatments and fillers to help smooth some of the flaws that we perceive to be present.
Masks are doing double-duty in protecting us all, but also in covering up our faces. Many of our patients at Carruthers Cosmetic are taking advantage of this by doing slightly more involved procedures, such as skin tightening or microneedling, which provide better results because they can hide the fact that they have had them done. When the masks come off, they will look fresh and rejuvenated.
What new and exciting treatments are being offered in your practice? Which new treatments are becoming more popular?
We recently added two new and exciting treatments at Carruthers Cosmetic: the Morpheus 8 and Evoke. Both treatments use radiofrequency (RF) technology, which allows non-invasive skin tightening in a way that’s more efficient, less wasteful, and with minimal downtime (especially compared to a traditional facelift!).
Essentially, the RF technology helps melt fat and tighten the skin around the area, promoting a more youthful appearance. These treatments are ideal for tightening and improving the appearance of a double chin, “mummy tummy,” underarms, jowls, under eyes, and inner thighs.
Designed with safety in mind, Carruthers Cosmetic is taking tons of precautions to keep patients safe, including state of the art air filtration, no waiting room, and an optimized booking system.
The new patient experience also allows for more one-on-one time with Dr. Carruthers, who actually performs all treatments herself.