When someone tells you they get fillers or Botox, you might judge them or think they’ll end up looking as ridiculous as some of the (anything but) Real Housewives do—especially if you’ve never gotten facial injections yourself. But what if the effects of injections weren’t as superficial as we thought?
While there will always be people who want lips like Kylie Jenner (who, let’s be honest, doesn’t even have lips like Kylie Jenner), the purpose of injections is really to make us feel like the best versions of ourselves. Fixing our self-perceived flaws, albeit temporarily can even improve how we feel about ourselves and live our lives. And while many people who get fillers end up looking fake, the industry itself is innovating their formulas so injections have a more natural look and serve their true purpose.
Looking and feeling your best
Despite what Instagram quote cards say, it’s normal to dislike some aspects of our appearance. According to Jennifer Tomko, LCSW, owner of Clarity Health Solutions in Jupiter, Florida, it’s okay to have a desire to change these things.
“I believe that people have a right to want to look the best that they can and this means different things to different people,” she tells me. “If you have a feature that makes you feel insecure and you can change it, then I support that change.”
Unlike exercise to build muscle or lose weight, there’s a stigma around changing your face. Maybe we can blame influencers or reality stars who change their faces seemingly every time they buy a new handbag. But for the average woman who hates the lines on her face, facial injections may be able to fix more than just the superficial.
“We need to respect that each person places a different value on appearances, so if you are feeling insecure about the facial lines or that it is a distraction to feeling comfortable on camera, then I would suggest eliminating the barriers to your success. This is all about moderation and healthy thinking,” Tomko explains.
After all, the physical changes that come with the aging process are often difficult to accept.
“Fillers and Botox allow for the slowing of the appearance of the aging process. Often, if you ask people how old they feel mentally, most people will say that they feel significantly younger than their biological age. Maintaining a youthful appearance to balance out how people feel mentally can be completely healthy. It can help us look like the person we feel like we are internally.”
Can injecting Botox and fillers be a radical act of self care? For some people, the answer is yes.
Be your own Kardashian
What does a healthy approach to procedures look like versus an unhealthy one? If you have a healthy approach, you probably accept and like your overall appearance, but the result of getting a procedure makes you look and feel like your best self. It gives you a boost.
But, if you’re headed to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for Kylie Jenner’s lips, it could be a sign that your lips are likely the least of your problems. Tomko says if you have “multiple parts of the body being altered; dissatisfaction after plastic surgery, Botox, or fillers, despite the work being quality; a deep loathing regarding appearance; or unrealistic expectations for what you will look like after a procedure,” these are red flags that none of this will actually make you feel good.
The RHA collection
Perhaps some of the reasons why we have unrealistic expectations are that social media has almost normalized facial changes that celebrities and influencers make. But for the average person who might spend a little too much time Photoshopping, or staring at their flaws in the mirror, the trend is actually heading in the opposite direction.
TEOXANE has even formulated an injection that makes the face look more natural called The RHA® Collection. Available in Europe since 2015, it recently launched in the US. This is a next-generation filler made with HA, or hyaluronic acid, that’s been FDA-approved for dynamic wrinkles and folds.
Hyaluronic acid is something we all naturally have in our bodies but lose as we age. It’s also an ingredient in skin care products you’ll find everywhere from Sephora to drug stores. It gives you that fresh, plump look.
RHA® stands for Resilient Hyaluronic Acid and according to Los Angeles dermatologist, Dr. Ava Shamban, it is formulated differently than the previous generation of fillers.
“[It] is in the greater family of fillers made of HA but stands apart by virtue of the length of the HA chains and the type and amount of cross-linking. These qualities give the filler more resilience with facial movement. [RHA] has a unique combination of stretch and strength, which make it resilient and allow it to adapt to the repetitive stress of facial movement.”
As for the fake look, Dr. Shamban says injectors are just as much to blame as social media.
“It’s important for the injector to have what I call aesthetic responsibility. And as the fillers have evolved, their newest physical properties allow for a more natural look.”
After all, if the lab that develops fillers is formulating something that makes you look more like yourself, it definitely makes a statement about the true purpose of these procedures.