You never forget your first time and whether it’s a little wrinkle relaxer in the forehead or a syringe full of lip-plumping filler, the more you know the better it will go. Here, expert injectors share their top tips for first-timers on how to get the best results with the least amount of side effects.
The Two-Week Rule
Have an important event coming up? A birthday, vacation, graduation, or wedding that you want to look good for? According to Rochester, NY dermatologist Lesley Loss, MD you’re going to want to give yourself a minimum of two weeks so your results have time to settle. “If possible, two to four weeks prior to any event is ideal,” explains Dr. Loss. “With injectable fillers, there is usually some temporary swelling and occasionally bruising that can take time to resolve. With neurotoxins, it takes two weeks for the full effect of the treatment. Sometimes four weeks is best for fillers or toxin so there is time for a touchup if needed.”
If you have a history of cold sores, New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD says you should let your injector know ahead of time as you may need medication beforehand to prevent a cold sore. “I recommend taking Valtrex if you are prone to outbreaks, especially if you are getting fillers in the lips.”
Dr. Day also notes that if you’re planning on getting vaccinated, the best advice is to hold off for a little while before going in for injectables as they may weaken the immune system temporarily: “I usually avoid doing fillers for two weeks before or after any vaccines,” she says. “I have no issues with doing fillers the day after dental work though.”
Sun and Sleep
Miami dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, MD says to pay attention to how you sleep and the time spent in direct sunlight to avoid further skin aging. “I advise sleeping on your back, as sometimes your sleeping side may show earlier signs of sagging and create vertical creases on the forehead,” she says. “I also recommend wearing daily sunscreen, even on your drive to work, as we’ve all seen how the driving side can age more rapidly and have more sunspots and wrinkles.”
Skip Harsh Actives
“While every injectable procedure carries specific set of recommendations, there are certain recommendations that extend across the entire spectrum of injectable treatments,” adds New York oculoplastic surgeon Irene Gladstein, MD. “Those recommendations include skipping harsh peels and high concentration retinols at least several days before the injections and avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun.”
To prevent bruising, Charlotte, NC dermatologist Gilly Munavalli, MD says to stop taking multivitamins, fish oil, non-medical aspirin or NSAIDS a week before your injectable appointment and avoid alcohol 24 hours prior your appointment. “After treatment we can use pulse dye laser and arnica pads to greatly reduce post-treatment bruising and swelling,” he says. “Pulsed dye is done 48-hours after treatment if necessary, to hasten the disappearance of bruising,” he explains. “Some doctors will offer this to patients as part of their filler treatment.”
Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD says to avoid exercise after injections for at least the day of your treatment. “Sometimes, a small vessel is slightly traumatized, but not enough to cause a bruise at the time of the injections, but exercise can lead to a full-fledged bruise,” he explains. “It’s best to wait to do anything that involves bending, straining or excessive pressure until the next day.”
Dr. Schlessinger also advises to postpone any facial or body treatments that can interfere with results: “Hold off on any massages until a day or two after the procedure and absolutely avoid facials for a week or so after any fillers as they can displace areas where fillers were injected.”
See an Expert Injector
More important than any other tip says Dover, OH facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD, is the assurance that a trained and experienced professional is doing your treatment. “By far, the majority of problems encountered in use of neurotoxins and fillers occur at the hands of novice injectors who simply don’t have a working understanding of the underlying anatomy of the face and don’t have a working knowledge of the particular advantages or disadvantages of the various fillers and neurotoxins,” he explains.
“Even the minor potential problems such as bruising, swelling, pain, ‘brow heaviness,’ asymmetries, or over treatment are far less likely to occur when your injector is knowledgeable, highly-trained and experienced.”