Cosmetic injections are incredibly popular amongst patients who want quick cosmetic enhancements without going under a knife. They’re also preferable amongst patients who don’t want to risk the complications associated with surgeries, such as infections or anesthesia risks. However, even though cosmetic injections are extremely simple procedures, some patients wonder about their possible risks or side-effects. One of the most common questions patients ask is, “are cosmetic injections safe?”
Yes, FDA-approved cosmetic injectables are extensively tested and found to be safe before being made available to the public. This doesn’t mean they are entirely without their side effects or potential risks, but more than 10 million Americans receive these treatments annually, and that a vast majority of patients are highly satisfied with their results.
Broadly speaking, there are two primary types of injectables—neurotoxin modulators (BOTOX, Dysport, XEOMIN, Jeuveau) and dermal fillers (Radiesse, Juvederm, Restylane). Each type of cosmetic injection is safety tested, but each also carries its own set of potential side effects and risks.
This article highlights the safety and potential side effects of both categories of cosmetic injections.
Are neurotoxin modulators, aka wrinkle relaxers, safe?
Botox has been FDA approved for nearly 30 years. Neurotoxin modulators, aka wrinkle relaxers, are botulinum-based cosmetic injections used to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles responsible for dynamic wrinkles, such as laugh lines and frown, and forehead lines. They block communication between the targeted facial muscles and nerve endings to prevent them from moving, leading to a reduction or relaxation of dynamic wrinkles. BOTOX is the most popular neurotoxin, but other popular neurotoxins are Dysport, XEOMIN, and Jeuveau.
Neurotoxins don’t lead to long-term complications, but do have potential risks and side effects:
- Bruising, swelling, or redness at injection sites
- Asymmetrical relaxation of wrinkles
- Facial muscle weakness or loss of muscle tone
- Drooping eyelids or double vision
- Respiratory problems, nausea or headache
The vast majority of any potential complications with Botox and other injectables are avoidable by only ever allowing a licensed and experienced esthetician or a board-certified plastic surgeon to operate on you. Avoid “discount doctors” and clinics that aren’t well-established.
Are dermal fillers safe?
All dermal fillers available on the open market have received one or more approval by the FDA. Dermal fillers are cosmetic injections that introduce external substances into your body to enhance cosmetic results, such as adding facial volume, minimizing wrinkles, and strengthening your skin. Different dermal fillers have different compositions, but the most popular fillers either inject hyaluronic acid into your facial skin or encourage your body to produce its own collagen.
Dermal fillers are also temporary fillers with no long-term complications. However, the following are the potential risks and side effects:
- Bruising around the injection site
- Swelling and redness around the injection site
- Possible scarring
- Asymmetrical results
- Rashes or itching
- Overcorrection of wrinkles
- Unnatural results
- Ulceration due to interrupted blood flow
It’s worth noting that most of the risks and side effects from cosmetic injections only occur in the hands of inexperienced or discount doctors. If the correct dose is administered in strategically-chosen locations, you should experience nothing more severe than mild swelling, bruising, or redness around injection sites.