Woman uses cosmetic injectables

Cosmetic injectables & thread lifting explained

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

Many of us would like to tweak the effects of time on our faces. Yet, cosmetic surgery might be too radical – or not yet necessary. Thankfully, science in the field of facial rejuvenation has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, and cosmetic injectables have been developed into a fine art. The rate of product development has moved as rapidly as cellular technology.

Wrinkles and lines form as the years go by due to repetitive movements of the facial muscles when we squint, smile and frown. Coupled with volume loss that occurs as skin ages, and the force of gravity, our faces tend to give away our age.

There are various injectables available that act in different ways to give the face a more youthful and relaxed appearance. Done by medical doctors with experience in the field, these treatments can enhance and refresh your facial features without making you look unnatural. Cosmetic injectables are done with minimal discomfort and “downtime”.

Botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin temporarily relaxes nerves that control muscle movement and contraction. Minute doses are injected into the muscle, relaxing it. The effects are visible after a few days and usually last for three to six months. It may even last longer in the case of repeated treatments.

Contrary to popular belief, botulinum toxin injections do not give you a “frozen” appearance. Done correctly, it will leave you looking refreshed.

The options

There are currently only two legal, registered brands in South Africa. Ubiquitous Botox® is actually the brand name of the product manufactured by Allergan. Dysport® is manufactured by Ipsen Pharmaceuticals and distributed in South Africa by Litha Pharma.

How does it feel?

Botulinum toxin is administered via tiny needles. Your doctor may give you a topical anaesthetic or ice to numb the area beforehand (many people don’t need this). Some areas are more sensitive than others.


Fillers are another minimally invasive procedure. A little bit of filler goes a long way. They add volume underneath the facial lines and add plumpness to areas that have lost fat pads (such as the cheeks, under-eye area and temples).

Fillers are also used to restore lip volume and hollows under the eyes; to fill in deep lines like nasal labial folds and marionette lines (the creases around your mouth); and define a sagging jawline. A properly trained and experienced aesthetic practitioner won’t leave you with pouty “fish lips”, but will simply restore their youthful plumpness.

Depending on the area to be injected, different types of viscosity and thickness are used.

The most popular fillers are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), a substance occurring naturally in the body. HA has brilliant absorption properties, holding multiple times its own weight in water, and thus plumps and hydrates the skin to promote all-important softness and fullness.

The immediately visible treatment results are long-lasting but not permanent, as the body eventually breaks down HA over six to 12 months. However, the effects of fillers are prolonged due to collagen production in the treated area.

The options

Each filler manufacturer uses its own patented version of HA.

Galderma’s Restylane® dermal filler gels resemble your body’s own HA. Restylane® is specifically designed to restore facial volume as well as enhance shape and contour. The Restylane Range also offers Restylane Skinboosters, an innovative treatment that improves skin condition, refreshing the look for radiant, hydrated skin and improved skin quality of face, hands, neck and décolletage.

This is done using a micro-puncture technique and areas like a wrinkled neckline and hands can be smoothed out.

Each product in the JUVÉDERM® collection of fillers from Allergan is made from a modified form of HA.

CROMA-Pharma Princess®, from Austria, contains non-animal origin hyaluronic acid. The gels are absolutely pure, controlled and well accepted by the body. Their patented SMART technology results in a highly dense three-dimensional matrix that makes the product long-lasting.

How does it feel?

It’s surprisingly painless. Some fillers contain a local anaesthetic, so you feel very little when it is being injected.

Thread lifting

The thread lift is an exciting new technique used to lift and tighten sagging facial tissue. This non-surgical alternative is growing in popularity.

Specialised threads are inserted and attached into the deeper connective tissues of the skin and, if positioned properly, create a firming and tightening effect. An added benefit is that threads stimulate the formation of collagen.

Compared to conventional face lifting, thread lifting involves far less trauma. There are no visible scars. No skin is cut away. The procedure is quick (20 to 90 minutes depending on how many threads you are having inserted) and has a low risk of infection. The initial results are seen within four to six weeks, and results continue to improve for up to six months, as the collagen and elastin form and mature.

Firming and tightening threads are commonly used for horizontal and vertical forehead wrinkles and fine lines and wrinkles on the neck, décolleté and creased cheeks. A lifting effect can also be achieved for sagging eyebrows, nasolabial folds, bags under the eyes, cheeks, neck and the jawline.

Thread lifting can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months, but some people report effects for even longer.

How does it feel?

A local anaesthetic is first gently injected to make sure you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. Following that, you’ll feel a light tugging on the skin. After the procedure, you may have some mild bruising and swelling for two to three days which a ice packs will take care of.

The options

Thread lifting products include the Princess® LFL Lift using PDO (Polydioxanone) threads distributed by Tasosol. Silhouette Soft® is distributed by Genop. Both treatments offer a safe, quick and effective lifting procedure, which involves no downtime. The goal is not only lifting of sagging skin, but also a regenerative process that leads to the production of a patient’s own collagen, which rejuvenates the skin. The threads generally have a skin supporting, tightening and brightening function. Depending on the type of thread used, the result can also range to lifting and reshaping.

Genop’s Silhouette Soft® uses a unique suspension suture and is a minimally invasive technique. The 30-minute procedure produces an immediate lifting effect and a gradual and natural regenerating effect

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