What does injectable moisturiser do?
Imagine that you could place a layer of long-lasting moisturiser beneath your skin, so that it stayed there for months on end, delivering its benefits continuously. In a nutshell, that is what injectable moisturiser is doing. This extra dose of hydration has the effect of plumping up the skin and helping it look healthier and fresher.
Some brands of injectable moisturiser (see below) such as Profhilo and Sunekos are classed as ‘biostimulators’ because their presence in the skin has been proven to allow the skin to regenerate itself and grow more skin-supporting collagen and elastin.
Are injectable moisturisers safe?
Yes. Some brands of injectable moisturiser treatment such as Restylane Skin Boosters have been available for 15 years and none of the clinics I have asked can cite any significant problems with this type of tweakment. Patients are likely to experience short-lived redness after the treatment, particularly if it is one of the brands where the treatment requires hundreds of tiny injections, and there is always a risk of bruising with any treatment that involves needles.
Do injectable moisturisers work?
Yes, injectable moisturisers work remarkably well. They make the skin better hydrated and healthier which in turn makes the skin look better, too.
How long do injectable moisturisers take to work?
Most brands of injectable moisturiser don’t promise results until eight weeks after the first treatment, but most people I know who have tried these tweakments find they start seeing results after five weeks.
How do injectable moisturisers work?
In order for injectable moisturisers to work, they first have to be placed into the skin. ‘Placed’, that is, with a fine needle, to get the product beneath the skin’s surface. Once the product has settled, it will remain in the skin for around 30 days (depending on the brand, and the formulation). During that time, the hyaluronic acid molecules in the gel attract and retain water beneath the skin. Having this extra hyaluronic acid and the extra hydration that it delivers has been shown in studies to improve the ‘extracellular matrix’ of the skin. If you think of the skin cells being stacked like bricks in a wall, the extracellular matrix is the mortar or cement that surrounds all those bricks. And improving the extracellular matrix encourages the growth of new collagen and elastin within the skin, which in turn, over the next few months, makes the skin firmer and bouncier. Even though the original gel which is injected does not last beyond 30 days in the skin, the knock-on effects of the extra hydration and collagen and elastin stimulation that it provides last for several months.
What are the benefits of injectable moisturisers?
What most people notice after injectable moisturisers is the way that their skin feels very well hydrated – these treatments are not cheap but they give terrific results. Everyone I know who has tried them has been really delighted with the way the treatments make older, drier skin feel fresher, softer, and more springy. Because of the extra collagen and elastin that injectable moisturisers generate, they leave skin stronger and firmer. Also, having the extra hydration beneath the surface plumps up the skin cells. This makes the skin look smoother, and this smoothness reflects the light better, so the skin looks healthier and fresher. In this way, the treatments manage to give back to older, drier skin some of the radiance and glow that gets lost from the skin with age.
These treatments can also soften fine lines in the skin and improve acne scarring, while some types of injectable moisture treatment such as Profhilo have been shown to improve the firmness and tightness of the skin where it is injected.
Are injectable moisturisers a kind of filler?
No, even though injectable moisturisers are made of hyaluronic acid, which is what most facial fillers are made from, they do not give a plumping or filling effect in the face. For a start, they come in a very runny fluid gel, so they do not add any volume to the face. Also, they are injected only just beneath the surface of the skin whereas fillers are placed more deeply into the face, for example to add structure to the jaw or chin, or to replace lost volume in the cheeks, lips or temples. So injectable moisturisers are a different type of product, and are used differently and give a different effect, even though, like fillers, they are made from hyaluronic acid.
What are the different brands of injectable moisturisers?
There are several brands of injectable moisturisers, all of which work in slightly different ways, though they are in effect doing much the same thing. The one that is most talked about at the moment is Profhilo, which is made by the Italian company IBSA Farmaceutici, because it is the quickest procedure and involves the fewest injections. The injectable moisture treatment that has been around longest is Restylane’s Skin Boosters, while Juvederm’s Volite and Teosyal’s Redensity 1 are relatively recent launches. Newest in the UK is Sunekos, which combines hyaluronic acid with a mixture of amino acids.
What’s the difference between Profhilo, Volite, Skin Boosters, Rendensity and Sunekos?
All of these products are made from hyaluronic acid gel. The main differences between them are in the protocol for injecting them, the number of injections and treatments needed and the length of time that they last in the skin.
Skinboosters, from Restylane, requires three rounds of treatment, each of which involves around 200 tiny injections, and gives results that last for six months.
Volite, from Juvederm, needs only one round to treatment though again this involves some 200 pinprick injections, and the results last for nine months.
Profhilo, from IBSA Farmaceutici, is a quicker treatment since it takes only five injections on each side of the face to put the product in place. You’ll need two rounds of treatment, and then the results will last for six months. Also, the Profhilo formula is made without BDDE (butanediol diglycidyl ether), an ingredient used to ‘crosslink’ the hyaluronic acid molecules in more durable forms of hyaluronic acid gel, to stop it being broken down so quickly by the body. Is that an advantage? Possibly, in the eyes of people who like a ‘free from’ tag, though BDDE has been shown in plenty of tests to be completely safe and not problematic. (And before you ask — yes, the hyaluronic acid in Profhilo is crosslinked, but only lightly and via heat treatment.)
Every clinic I know that has taken on Profhilo in the past couple of years is hugely enthusiastic about it and finds it gives reliably impressive results. Why? It’s the most innovative of the new ‘injectable moisture’ treatments, and it has been shown in clinical tests to not just improve hydration in the skin but to boost the skin’s elasticity and collagen levels too, so it is now classed as a ‘biostimulator’, something that kickstarts significant renewal within the skin. Will we be seeing more of these biostimulators in the future? You bet.
Redensity 1 is a non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid combined with vitamins and minerals, which is injected into the skin with an injection gun with multiple needles (which sounds terrible, but actually it isn’t bad because each shot just feels like one jab). Treatment involves three treatments at three-week intervals.
The latest biostimulator to arrive in the UK is Sunekos, which is also made with hyaluronic acid, but with added amino acids which amplify the collagen and elastin-boosting effects of the hyaluronic acid. Treatment involves three or four weekly injection sessions, which should be repeated every six months. Other companies are already working on similar products.
That’s a lot to remember, so why not download my free injectable moisturisers factsheet so you can refer back later?
How long do injectable moisturisers last?
Depending on the brand of treatment you choose, injectable moisturiser treatment can last for up to nine months. Restylane Skin Boosters offers six months of hydration after three rounds of treatment, and Juvederm Volite lasts for nine months after just one round of treatment. Profhilo treatment offers six months of lasting benefit after two treatments one month apart – though some clinics prefer to offer patients repeated treatments every three months, to keep the results topped up. Sunkeos also lasts for six months, as does Redensity 1.
Are there any side effects to injectable moisturisers?
As with all procedures involving needles, there will be some redness around the injection sites. This is more noticeable the more injections you have in one sitting. There is also a less likely risk of bruising, although again the likelihood increases the more injections you have. With procedures involving fewer injections, you’ll likely experience some swelling around the injection sites, like a bite or sting.
Other than that, there are no associated side effects. However, you must make sure to find a skilled practitioner because a novice could inject the product incorrectly and, while the product is runny enough to be dissipated naturally by the body, you certainly won’t see the benefits.
Where can I get injectable moisturisers?
Most aesthetic clinics that offer a range of tweakments will now offer one or more types of injectable moisture treatment. You can find many clinics that offer these treatments through the practitioner finder on this website.
How much do injectable moisturisers cost?
Treatment with injectable moisturisers is not cheap. Expect to pay from £400 per treatment, depending on the product used and the amount of product needed for the treatment.
How long does it take to have injectable moisturisers?
As above, this depends on the brand of injectable moisturiser that you have chosen. While Profhilo treatment is very quick, taking less than 10 minutes, treatment that involves hundreds of injections takes rather longer.
Where can injectable moisturisers be used on the body?
Almost anywhere where you have dry skin and enough money to spend on it. Most people start by trying injectable moisturisers on the face. Other areas that respond well to treatment with injectable moisturisers include the neck, the décolletage and the hands. It is really good for those crepey areas where the skin often looks dry and where wrinkles and fine lines become more obvious. Some creative cosmetic practitioners also use these treatments to firm up sagging skin on the upper arms (the ‘bingo wings’, as we call them in the UK), or to treat dry skin on the tops of the feet.
What’s it like having injectable moisturisers?
Having treatment with injectable moisturisers is mostly a matter of tolerating the injections that are necessary to place the hyaluronic acid-based gel beneath the skin. How many injections, and how many rounds of treatment are needed varies from brand to brand. Treatment with Profhilo, for example, which needs only five injections on either side of the face, is a very quick procedure, whereas Juvederm Volite or Restylane SkinBoosters needs a couple of hundred injections, all over the face, which is clearly more of a challenge.
Does injectable moisturiser treatment hurt?
It varies, depending on the treatment you are having, your practitioner’s injecting skills, and how sharp their needle is. Profhilo treatment is very quick and I have never found I needed anaesthetic cream beforehand, but if I was going to have a whole face-full of tiny injections, as is required for Volite or Skinboosters, I would probably ask for some numbing cream! The needles used are very fine and if your practitioner changes the needle two or three times during treatment it will keep the discomfort to a minimum. Redensity 1 has lidocaine, a local anaesthetic, in the mix, to make it more comfortable.
Do you get immediate results from injectable moisturisers?
No, it takes up to eight weeks to see the results of injectable moisturiser treatment. Immediately afterwards, if you have had a full face of injections, your skin will look red and be covered in pinprick injection marks, which will calm down over the next 12 hours. If you have a quick treatment such as Profhilo, there are fewer injection marks but around each one there will be a fluid-filled swelling, like some alien wasp-sting. This fluid will disperse itself under the skin over the next six hours, but it’s not the sort of look you would want to take into a meeting or to show off at family dinner time.
Can you have injectable moisturisers if you have toxins and fillers?
Yes, injectable moisturisers work well alongside other tweakments because their focus is on skin conditioning rather than relaxing muscles or adding volume.
Can you have laser or radiofrequency treatment after injectable moisturisers?
I wouldn’t, just in case the heat of the laser (or high intensity focused ultrasound device, or radiofrequency device) manages to zap it and destroy it. Just do it the other way round. Have the laser, or radiofrequency, or HIFU and once that has settled down, go for the injectable moisturisers.