Wrinkle Relaxing Injections & Fillers: First Timer Experience and Tips
So you’ve been thinking about injectables, and are a bit concerned. You’d love the crow’s feet or forehead worry lines “erased” if possible (and what about those fine lines peering out over your upper lip – they never USED to be there)! But the thought of putting chemicals and needles into your skin concerns you. Here’s what you need to know (from my First time injectables experience in May 2016).
First, the background, followed by my tips for first timers.
Several months before my treatment:
I had been thinking about getting injections for very deepened “concentration lines” (I refused to call them worry lines) between my brows. My mid-brow crease seemed deep enough to drive a car along its channel – or at least a skateboard.
What prompted it:
I sometimes do work for the aesthetic industry. Not long ago, I started noticing I looked older than everyone else around me. Part of that was that I AM a bit older than most of my colleagues – but part of it was that they’d had work done and I hadn’t. It wasn’t obvious work – they just looked fresh well into their late 40s. Whereas I, at 52, started looking very much my bio-physical age in recent years (prior to that I felt I held my own in the anti-ageing department thanks to a great skin care regime and staying – mostly – out of the sun.
Scheduling my Appointment
A big birthday was fast approaching and I decided – the week before – to book in for my birthday. And yes, I had a dinner date that evening, so I needed to be sure the treatment didn’t leave much redness.
The day before my appointment
I was excited to think I could turn the clock back. AND I decided not just to get my forehead wrinkles reduced, but bigger lips (mine have always been on the thin side but tended to come out a bit when I wore lip liner). I heard that lip injections can give you great lips even without much makeup on) and I started wanting lips – not Angelina Jolie size but something that was a bit more voluminous.
Because I was nervous, I spoke briefly to my Injector, Sandra.
She’s a Senior Nurse Injector at Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing in Hawthorn.
She assured me she had over 20 years of injecting experience (I felt that meant I would be in good hands and I’d heard no less than 3 friends recommend her).
She told me I need not worry – that we would have a FULL discussion before the treatment so she could assess what I needed and tell me what to expect.
I sent her a PRE-treatment photo of myself when I scheduled my appointment. This was because I wanted an estimate of how much filler I might need and what she thought might look best for them (a bit more fullness with a bit of shaping, she said).
I also asked her what else she would recommend for a ‘face makeover.’ She delicately let me know that there WERE other areas we could enhance with injectables to give a more thorough rejuvenation effect, but that we’d discuss this in detail during an assessment where she could take a better look.
Half of me was hoping she’d say “you need nothing.” But that’s a delusion any of us that are ageing like to tell ourselves.
I had definitely noticed my jowls were sagging a bit – but didn’t realise injectables could help with that. And I had one eyelid that was really drooping far below the other one (it’d been like that for at least 10 years).
The way she spoke to me was honest yet gentle
I wasn’t offended in the least when she mentioned that injectables could do a lot more for the face than the brow-wrinkles and creating better lips.
I was just excited that injectables might be able to do something for me because otherwise I thought I was heading for an early facelift.
I was still a bit nervous though, and didn’t sleep well the night before my first injectables appointment.
I don’t mind medical practitioners at all – but I have never been a fan of needles. Plus, I had heard LIPS hurt (it wasn’t going to stop me though). The thought of being poked or prodded left me tired but I was STILL a bit more excited than I was nervous as I drove to my appointment.
I was tired of feeling like I looked so much older than I did just a few short years ago (why is it that ageing seems to suddenly accelerate after our 40’s)! Oh, I remembered. A combination of decreasing collagen and hormone changes. You can love the wisdom in getting older, but not so much the appearance of passing time on your facial skin.
The big day – My First time getting Injectables!
It’s Thursday, at noon. I drive to my appointment with plenty of time to do some work in the waiting room AND put my numbing cream on my lips. “Don’t eat it,” she advises, but that’s easier said than done.
Especially as I spoke briefly on the hands-free on the way (to a friend who’d had a lot of injectables experience). “Oh don’t get your lips done,” she said. “It’ll feel so fake and look too big for your face.” I was shocked to hear a bad experience – sure I see them all the time in the media, but this friend was a seasoned cosmetic procedure consumer. I later find out that it was likely because they used the wrong type of filler for her lips (Sandra uses a very soft one for natural feeling lips you won’t even feel have ever been injected). Sandra also told me that if someone’s unhappy with their lips, it’s typically due to an over-zealous injector, the wrong type of filler product for lips, or too much at once. I relax on hearing that.
The Pre-Treatment Facial Assessment!
We sit at a comfortable desk and it feels great to be able to chat with a seasoned professional about what can – and can’t – be done with my ageing facial skin and wrinkles.
As I hold the mirror up, she asks me to tell her everything about my face that I would like to change, if I could, to reduce the signs of ageing. I tell her the main two, but as I look in the mirror, I spot a lot more changes related to ageing over the past few years than I had recognised (fortunately the eyes go also, so you notice the ageing a bit less, until one day it screams out at you in the mirror).
The droopy eyelid on the right side – which always shows up looking uneven in photographs – can she fix that?
It seems that she MIGHT be able to but she doesn’t promise anything on that. That’s apparently because it’s been there a bit too long, and brows and eyelids respond best to surgery when they’re that far gone, she mentions that too much filler in the brow can also lead to undesirable results (read our other blog on “Filler Over-Use Syndrome“).
She tells me she can definitely reduce the forehead wrinkles, and get me a more youthful smile again.
Plus, the mid-cheek and jaw area skin which is sagging a bit (due to cheekbone atrophy – who knew?!) could be improved with dermal volumisers (FILLERS) along the cheeks.
Could she do anything for my sagging chin (which I have hated for about 15 years)? “Maybe,” she says. I like her honesty. She doesn’t promise what she can’t deliver. She also tells me that what she will do in the treatment will show up a bit today, but most of it in about 3 months when it integrates fully with the layers of the face (it’s still temporary however and will wear off in 9 to 12 months, sometimes as long as 18 months).
“Will I be able to go out to dinner tonight without anyone noticing?” I ask her. “You should be okay,” she says. “Nothing you can’t cover with makeup. And your lips will look stunning.” Turns out she’s an expert markswoman (my new term for a superbly-precise injector).
Apparently Sandra and her colleagues know how to minimise post-injection bruising or swelling. I hear that every patient is different, however, and some patients may react more strongly even to the best of injecting techniques. This is, however, one of the top treatments at Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing. “We do aim to reduce post-treatment redness and swelling, with strategic approaches,” Sandra affirms. “But a few patients will still have swelling or bruising if they have that type of skin or healing system.”
We decide on a treatment plan and she says to check in with her in a few months if I want a top-up or to further enhance my features. I am READY! And super-excited to see what can be done to ‘freshen up’ my facial skin.
Facelift or Injectables? An expert can tell you honestly what’s coming up in your future
Putting off a facelift for awhile longer – partially just to see what CAN be done with injectables – seems a very worthwhile investment (and I opted for a full-face rejuvenation treatment which cost a few thousand dollars but will likely last about 12 months or more). Therapy to deal with adapting to ageing changes might have cost just as much over that period of time – and I still wouldn’t like the way I looked in the mirror. I think it’s a bargain!
She starts on the forehead wrinkles and eyelid area and works her way down. I’m shocked that, despite a little pinch, I barely feel a thing. “The injection needle is about as thin as an eyelash” she mentions. It’s noticeable, but very quick – and only barely uncomfortable.
She then does my cheeks. She does a half face first so I can see the difference in the mirror.
“The trouble with injecting treatments,” says Sandra, “is that they are so natural looking – when done properly – you forget how much change they actually made. If you do half a face at one time, you can actually see what’s been done – clearly – and the difference between the two sides.” It’s very obvious that my cheeks look fuller, my eyes look better and my lips – my favourite – finally have shape!
The lips hurt – a lot! But it was brief.
Okay, the lips DID hurt. A lot. I had heard that, though- and was expecting it. We ended up using little ice block packs just before and just after the lip filler injections and that made it much more tolerable. That said, I would do it again in a heartbeat. And a friend of mine followed suit and had her lips done a few days later (with Sandra but at her Hawthorn location) – and she said it didn’t hurt AT ALL. (Lucky genes I guess – or a higher tolerance for pain). “I’ve had three kids and a tummy tuck,” this friend tells me. “So lip injections were a breeze.”
It’s all relative, I guess – but it IS true that some people have higher sensitivity to pain than others (something about genetic nerve endings and reactivity to different sensation). The entire process took less than about 45 minutes and I had several areas done: forehead wrinkles reduced, jawline restored, chin slightly augmented for balance, cheek enhancements and my lips. Reclining comfortably and feeling I was in a great Injector’s hands, it was actually an enjoyable experience. Not too much pain (only the lips hurt) – and a pleasant anticipation about looking better shortly afterwards.
No one can tell I’ve had something done. My lips look GREAT. I have a tiny bit of redness in one or two areas. I covered it up pretty easily with mineral makeup. But there was zero bruising.
Lip Filler Before Photo (L) and After Injections (R) – subtle, natural-looking yet greatly improved!
“Your lips won’t stay as full as they are now,” Sandra admits, “as the lips do swell after getting fillers. But if you want them fuller longer term, we can add volume in a few weeks or a few months’ time.”
First Time Injectables Results: The Liquid Facelift After Two Weeks
With the forehead wrinkle reduced, I look and feel much happier. The cheekbones I really love, and the lips are naturally enhanced. They look better and I think I can go a bit fuller the next time.
The cheekbone filler has also left the sagging facial skin (mid-cheek area) slightly less so. My chin and jaw area seem smoother. Although, I’d still consider a neck procedure to get a straighter, tighter jawline again.
And the drooping right eyelid? It evened up a bit with the injections, but remains uneven (only surgery will truly fix that drooping eyelid, and she told me that was likely to be the case). And I LOVED the look of slightly fuller lips!
Three days after:
Some of my friends visited me from out of town. I am running around telling everyone I had a “Liquid Facelift.” Suddenly at least half of my friends and colleagues are telling me they’ve had the same. I am a bit miffed that they didn’t tell me their anti-ageing secrets before – I might have gotten these injections earlier and had an even better result (you can stop wrinkles from deepening with anti-wrinkle injections). But I am THRILLED with the facial changes. The changes are subtle. No one can really tell, other than me. I look a bit younger (a few years worth) when I look in the mirror.
The past three years had seemed to age me more than any prior three-year time span. So, I am absolutely stoked.
Three months later:
The eyelid that she hoped to lift but didn’t promise she could, is a bit better but will likely still need surgery. The brow wrinkle is mostly gone. That’s one of the things that has made the biggest difference.
And my jawline is definitely not as saggy as it was before I started. My chin seems a bit tighter (I’d still like it a bit more so, and am looking into what liposuction of the neck or a neck lift might do).
My cheekbones now remind me again of what they used to look like in my 30’s. (They were once a key feature.) You can’t turn back the clock entirely. But you can give it a bit of a nudge -stall the passage of time for just a bit longer. It has been 3 months and whilst I love my new lips I would like a LITTLE bit more volume. I just felt it balanced out my face a bit. But I think the combination of the cheeks, brow, lips and jawline have given me the best result. The lips alone would have been nice. But I am definitely glad I chose to have a more thorough rejuvenation on my birthday.
I’m VERY happy with the end result. I feel better and more confident interacting with people. You wouldn’t think it matters, but it does. We’re social creatures, as I always say. People pay attention to things they see. Not to mention that we care how we look in photos – for some of us, a lot!
My Ratings of Injectables Treatments For Skin & Face Rejuvenation
Effectiveness for Rejuvenation: 4.5 stars
I should have done it sooner. I couldn’t really get my eyelids and neck skin back where I wanted them to be.
Beautification and Balance: 5 stars
Convenience (no down time): 5 stars
Cost: $$ to $$$$ per treatment or a combination of treatments
Injectables may not be the eternal fountain of youth we’d love to swim in. But it’s definitely worth a big long sip.
I’ll definitely be sipping again, as I have decided I want slightly plumper lips. (Sandra thought I might but didn’t want to risk me thinking they were too full on the first treatment. Sandra also warns me not to fall prey to the filler over-use syndrome which could result in me ending up looking ‘over done’ – that’s why having a conservative and seasoned Injecting professional is SO important!
My personal top tips for First Time Injectables Clients.
- Eat before you go and before you put on numbing cream. Especially if you’re using it on your lips. I forgot to eat lunch in my excitement. It’s more relaxing NOT to be hungry during your treatment).
- Try towel-wrapped ice packs rather than numbing cream (especially great before and right after a lip injection) – I’m holding one on my lips in the photo below
- If you are using numbing cream for your lips, ask your injector for the best tips.
- Get good sleep the night before.
- Have mineral makeup handy for yourself if you’re going back to the office afterwards.
- Know that injector skill AND filler product types can make a huge difference in outcomes. They also affect things like discomfort, swelling and bruising. But, each person is different and you may swell despite the best of Injectors.
Sandra is a Division 1 Registered Nurse who has spent over 2 decades in the cosmetic injections industry, working alongside some of Melbourne’s top Plastic Surgeons.
If you’d like to get YOUR face enhanced by Sandra Wallace or Kay Nuttall please phone (03) 8849 1400.