I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume I’m not getting injectables any time soon. The taut skin that graces my forehead after a Botox injection is beginning to feel like a distant memory. I find myself singing “The Way We Were” wistfully while examining my face. “Can it be that it was all so simple then,” I wonder, “or has time rewritten every line?”
The answer is yes–and if it hasn’t yet, time will eventually rewrite every line. Naturally, I’m wondering how to make Botox and filler last longer when I’m at home singing Streisand and unable to hit up my derm’s office. It’s a question of immense privilege to have at a time like this, but for those of us blessed with unrelenting vanity, a question nonetheless. So I queried the top dermatologists in New York City, expecting them to balk at my naivete. Everyone with toner in their cabinet knows that a magical at-home treatment that yields injectable-comparable results doesn’t exist.
Needless to say, I didn’t expect to receive a near-tome of advice from eight whipsmart skin docs. Turns out, there are real, legitimate, science-backed hacks to prolonging your Botox and filler at home. From here, I’ll pass the mic to the medical professionals.
“When exercising, try not to squint or scowl. People that exercise a lot do go through their filler or toxin quicker, but there’s really no solution for that. Try meditation or yoga to reduce stress levels, because high-stress levels release cortisol and other hormones that accelerate the aging process and rapidly enhance unwanted signs of aging.”
“Some studies have shown that Botox efficacy is linked to zinc levels within the body. Also, many individuals tend to have a slight zinc deficiency. Regularly taking a zinc supplement after your Botox treatment may prolong the anti-aging effects. In terms of maximizing the results of your filler, stay away from processed and packaged foods, as well as limit the amount of sugar in your diet. Increased inflammation caused by these foods in your body can impact your overall skin health.
“Maintain your results for longer by wearing SPF, avoiding the outdoors during peak UV hours and wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outside. Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays can actually reverse the effects of your injectables.”
Dr. Michelle Henry, Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York
“Zinc supplements may prolong the effects of Botox. Some people report a successful outcome with the supplement Zytaze. According to the company, one may get 30 percent more longevity.”
Dr. Dendy Engelman, Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery
“The good news is Botox lasts about four months and hyaluronic acid filler lasts up to one year. Voluma lasts up to two years, so if you’ve recently seen me for Botox or fillers, chances are you should be fine for the next few months. I always tell my patients that the extent of your routine shouldn’t end at my office; there are plenty of things you can do to prolong the effects of your in-office treatment.”
“While a lot of the over-the-counter offerings provide a temporary fix, many can have lasting and significant effects over time. This is seen in the dermatology literature–vitamin A derivatives like retinol and retinoids promote collagen production and can help address fine line and wrinkles (SkinMedica Retinol Complex, Differin Gel, and SkinBetter AlphaRet). Products containing hyaluronic acid plump skin and can help address skin texture concerns. The plumping also mitigates the appearance of fine lines.”
“I also like at-home devices like Conture and NuFace to help address sagging, and micro-needling which helps your topical products penetrate deeper. In-office, we use microneedling therapy as a minimally invasive procedure to help promote collagen production. It involves the use of a device that contains fine needles, which puncture skin to create a controlled skin injury and healing. The slight injury stimulates the growth of collagen, the scaffolding under the skin, which then improves the appearance of some scars and wrinkles. At-home micro-needling devices won’t offer the same benefits, but they can help.”
“SiO Silicone Patches are a great way to address specific areas of concern like crow’s feet, neck and chest lines. They are designed to wear while sleeping, but if you’re working from home, you can wear them during the day for turbo-boosted results.”
“Injectables only last so long, but you can make them last longer by staying on top of a hydrating skincare routine. Look for products loaded with glycerin to give your skin that extra boost of hydration, enhancing the effects of fillers.
Additionally, collagen-boosting ingredients such as retinols or bakuchiol (a natural retinol alternative) help firm up your skin while your Botox is in full effect. Adhering to these ingredients while your Botox is in full effect not only helps promote collagen production, but also helps to minimize any residual fine lines that can’t get erased by Botox.
“Finally, sunscreen is always your best bet for both healthy skin and also to help avoid unnecessary loss of your skin’s elasticity and bounce.”
Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research, Mount Sinai Hospital
“Studies have shown that zinc supplements may enhance uptake of neurotoxins and give longer benefits. Taking a zinc supplement for the week before your appointment and continuing it for the week after may help.”
“There is some data suggesting that copper counteracts the effect of neurotoxins and shortens the length of their effect. While we need more information to fully understand this, you certainly can avoid eating copper-rich foods. Topical products that contain ingredients like retinol stimulate collagen and can help strengthen your skin’s foundation. The stronger the skin, the less it will experience folding and the development of lines.”
“As for fillers, some people genetically metabolize their fillers quicker than others. While it is important to exercise and stay healthy, I caution my patients against over-exercising. While completely anecdotal, I find that fillers tend not to last quite as long in my patients who engage in extreme exercise.”
“Any sort of manipulation or massage of fillers can theoretically promote early breakdown. I don’t recommend that my patients who have gotten facial fillers receive facial massages. Generally speaking, fillers tend to last longer in areas where there is less movement. For example, when injected under the eyes (in the tear troughs) or in the temples, I find that fillers can stick around for years. However, in areas such as the lips, where there is frequent movement, fillers typically do not have as much longevity.”
Dr. Robert Anolik, Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York
“At-home skin routines have become all the more important while in-office procedures including Botox and filler are not available. Past work will be better preserved with certain steps: Lean on antioxidants like vitamin E and green tea to counteract free radical damage on the skin. Moisturizers rich in ceramides and hyaluronic acid minimize the effects of dry indoor air. Dry air leads to dry skin and inflammation and rougher texture.”
“Be consistent with your retinols at night. As we are not going outside as much, cold and windy air is not exacerbating the dryness, so if you are consistent with moisturizer at home you’ll likely tolerate a nightly retinol routine if you couldn’t beforehand.”
“Consider at-home light and laser technologies, like those made by Neutrogena and Tria. While these are not as powerful as in-office lasers, consistent low energy use can be beneficial.”
“Still wear your sunscreen while indoors. Even though we are not out and about with direct sunlight, UVA still passes through windows and can cause sun damage if not wearing sunscreen.”
“Good skincare and sun protection are key while we don’t have access to more invasive procedures like injectables and laser. Alternatives for wrinkle reducers (like Botox, Xeomin, etc) are products that contain Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate–an ingredient developed to mimic a molecule found in snake venom. It works similarly to wrinkle relaxers like Botox or Dysport in that it blocks the message to the muscle to contract. Revision Skincare’s Revtox 7 Serum has it, and also contains other peptides that help stimulate collagen production.”
“The Ordinary’s Buffet serum also boasts DBD, plus hyaluronic acid (the same ingredient in fillers) and also peptides. Get more road life our of your filler topically with hyaluronic acid. HA works so well as a filler because it pulls 1,000 times its weight in water, so it hydrates and plumps the skin making it look fuller and more youthful temporarily. It still can’t beat injections, but for now, we have to take what we can get. Skinceuticals HA Intensifier Serum is great and also contains licorice which helps fade dark spots and sunspots on the skin.”
“Botox normally takes three to five days to start working, and then works for three to five months until the next treatment is needed. The results from dermal filler such as Juvederm are apparent immediately, with the full effect seen after two weeks. Filler lasts anywhere from six to 24 months depending on the type of filler: Juvederm is 12 months, Vollure is 18 months, and Voluma is 24 months. However, different fillers last different amounts of time for different people. For patients that recently had their Botox and Juvederm treatments, they should be good for at least four months.”
“Take this time to focus on skin health, hydrate, eat healthily, not smoke, relieve stress and use products such as the SkinMedica line from Allergan with free shipping. View it as a ‘skin holiday’ for rest and relaxation. There’s less stress from the environment as you’re likely not outside in the pollution, less sun damage and less need to wear makeup as less social interaction. Our office is also offering complimentary video skin consultations where our aestheticians can go through all of your home products via video conferencing and help you choose the best treatments for your skin.”
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