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The Injectable Revolution

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The state of the economy has greatly affected people’s spending habits. People have cut back on activities like eating out or going to the movies. They have also made changes in their buying habits, such as switching from brand name products to generics.  But despite economic concerns, people continue to spend large amounts of money on anti-aging strategies.

Due to many factors, people are retiring later in life. The generation of “Baby Boomers” (Americans born between 1946 and 1964) is “currently the largest the largest segment of the workforce in the public sector.” Because of the economy, people are less secure at their jobs. Long-time employees are having their jobs “downsized,” “consolidated,” “re-structured,” or “re-organized”—essentially taken away from them and given to an entry level person who will work for an entry level salary.

Members of the baby boomer generation are now finding themselves having to compete with younger employees to keep their own jobs; and if they are looking to be promoted or to find a completely new job, they will have to compete with younger job candidates, and will have a harder time getting the job, regardless of experience. According to the Newsweek poll, “How Much is Beauty Worth at Work?”, “Eighty-four percent of managers said they believe some bosses would hesitate before hiring a qualified job candidate who looked much older than his or her co-workers.”

A youthful image has become a job requirement in itself. In order to attain this youthful image, more and more men and women are turning to expensive anti-aging treatments. Baby boomers are frequenting salons and spas, skin care clinics, medical spas, and doctors’ offices (dermatologists, plastic surgeons, cosmetic doctors) in an attempt to turn back the hands of time. Plastic surgeries like eye lifts, brow lifts, and full facelifts have increased in popularity. Skin care products are now packed with anti-aging cosmeceutical ingredients such as anti-oxidants and peptides. In the middle of this spectrum are laser treatments, medium to deep chemical peels, and a variety of injectables.

Injectable treatments are hugely popular, because they offer fast results with little (if any) downtime, and are widely available. The effects are temporary, which is comforting to some people who are afraid to commit to a permanent surgery. They are performed quickly in a doctor’s office, with no need for anesthesia. Once reserved for the rich and famous, injectables like Botox®, Juvederm®, Restylane®, Sculptra®, and countless others are now accessible for everyday people who want to reduce lines and plump up their complexions.

While these treatments are less expensive than surgery, they are not cheap. Depending on the product used, and how much it is needed, a single treatment can cost hundreds of dollars. Botox®, which works by essentially paralyzing the muscles that make frowns, furrowed brows, etc. seems to be the least expensive.

Discounts are often offered in packages on Living Social and Groupon deals. Some doctors even have Botox® “parties”…instead of leaving the party with jewelry or food storage containers, you leave with fewer expression lines. You have to be careful of these “deals.” Remember that more often than not, you get what you pay for.

The dermal fillers containing collagen or hyaluronic acid are more expensive. These fillers are gels that are injected into the lines on the face, and are then smoothed out to fill in the line. This can drastically reduce the appearance of the lines.

It is important to mention that injectables, and fillers in particular, are not all created equal. They have different ingredients, different consistencies, and settle in the skin in different ways. They are very technique-sensitive. You have to find the right doctor, one who is experienced with the particular product you want to get. Just because a doctor has had success with collagen injectables, does not mean he or she is as adept at administering hyaluronic acid injectables.

Many of the newer injectables are marketed as being safer because they are synthetic, not animal- or plant-derived. Just because a product is synthetic does not mean it can’t cause a reaction or be rejected by the body. There is always a risk of the filler ending up somewhere it wasn’t intended to go and calcifying, or forming some other unsightly deposit that will not go away quickly.

If performed properly, results can be long-lasting and very natural-looking. On the contrary, if they are done incorrectly, by the wrong doctor on the wrong person, the results can be disastrous.

These treatments can be a very good investment in maintaining a youthful professional image, but there are many safety concerns to consider. It is important to do your research and arm yourself with a list of questions for your doctor. Ask to see un-retouched before and after pictures of his or her work, and ask for recommendations. Do not let a doctor perform any procedure or treatment on your face until you are sure all of your questions are answered and you are comfortable with the risks.

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About Rachael Pontillo