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With the rise of social media, and more people sharing their experiences with plastic surgery and cosmetic injections, injectable procedures have become hands down the most popular of cosmetic procedures. They offer facial contouring, line erasing and plumping in minutes, and are often sought after because there is less risk involved (as opposed to going under the knife and general anaesthesia), sometimes with instant results, and minimal downtime.

When welded by a trained medical expert, and with the new and improved techniques, technology and materials, results are more realistic, with no one needing to know you’ve had some “refreshing” done. If you’ve been contemplating a filler jab to sharpen the chin, or a Botox injection to target those frown lines, make this your must read. We spoke to three doctors, Dr WS Heng from IDS Clinic, Dr Melvin Tan from Rexults Clinic, and Dr Joseph See from See Medical, and asked them to fill us in on what takes place.

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Which doctor should I pick?

With all medical procedures, it is always wise to go to a reputed professional. Dr Tan advises seeking out someone with good credentials with at least five years of experience with cosmetic injections. He adds, “Accreditation aside, the ideal doctor should also be patient and honest so that all concerns are addressed before treatment begins.”

What’s involved when I decide to go through with cosmetic injections?

BEFORE: Preparation for cosmetic injections comes a few days before the actual procedure. All three doctors advise patients to avoid health supplements like gingko biloba, St John’s wort and vitamin E as they thin out blood and increase the likelihood of bruising on the injection site.  Medication like aspirin also has the same blood-thinning effect.

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What’s involved when I decide to go through with cosmetic injections?

DURING: The doctor will take the time to go through your areas of concern and the treatment options available to treat it. Patients will then be ushered to a separate room to have numbing cream applied to the area where the botulinum toxin A or filler will be administered. This usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes before taking effect, making the procedure more comfortable to bear. The needles for botulinum toxin A are very fine and in many cases, you walk out of the clinic with barely noticeable prick points.

For botulinum toxin A injections to make the jawline less pronounced, about two or three points will be injected onto the mandibular (jaw) muscle to relax them. There may be slight bruising or redness, but the redness will subside in a few hours and bruising will usually go away in a few days.

The needles used for filler injections may be thicker due to the viscosity of the filler, as they are used to mold and shape the nose and chin. There will be some discomfort compared to botulinum toxin A injections. There may be some tugging or pressure during the process of shaping and molding, but numbing cream keeps the area anaesthesised. If you feel any pain, understand that you are still in control of the situation and should always voice your concerns to the doctor.

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What’s involved when I decide to go through with cosmetic injections?

AFTER: With Botox or botulinum toxin A, patients should “avoid rubbing the treated area for at least four hours and refrain from vigorous exercises on the same day”, says Dr Tan. Filler injections require a little more care as pressure would sometimes cause the fillers to migrate – this means sleeping on your back and also avoiding facials and massages for seven days following the treatment. Dr Tan adds, “Patients should also abstain from hot baths and saunas immediately after filler injections. This helps prevent against any further swelling and bruising, if any at all, post-filler injection”


How much do filler injections and Botox cost?

While cost is always a concern, it’s important to weigh other factors like the type of fillers used and also the amount of experience the doctor has. In this case, since your looks are at stake, cheaper is not necessarily better. Different clinics have varying pricing models, some going by treatment areas, while others going by units of materials used.

Typically, botulinum toxin A injections can cost between $200 and $500 for crow’s feet while fillers are cost from $850 to about $2,000. Dr Heng shares, “The important thing for the patient-customer will be to discuss the necessary cosmetic injections that will best address her aesthetic needs, at a reasonable and acceptable price point.”

How long do the effects of cosmetic injections last?

The effects of cosmetic injections are not permanent. Dr See comments that Botox injections normally last between three and six months, depending on the dosage and biochemical make-up of the patient. Fillers are able to last between six and 12 months before the effect wears off. Patients can choose to come in again for repeated injections but it is recommended for them to wait at least three months in between each treatment.

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Are there any risks involved?

Even though cosmetic injections are considered non-invasive, there can be side effects in rare cases. Bruising and swelling are common with injections but there is a possibility of allergic reactions and infection. In extremely rare cases, Dr See shares that fillers can get into the blood vessels and cause necrosis, blindness and even stroke.

What should you be injecting into your face? 

The most common types of cosmetic injections include botulinum toxin A and fillers. Consider your skin concerns before selecting one that is right for you.

Botulinum toxin A

The most commonly known brand of botulinum toxin A is Botox, which has been around for about 20 years. There’s also a newer brand of botulinum toxin A called Xeomin, which supposedly harbours less side effects due to its protein-free formula. “In terms of effect, they aim to do the same thing,” Dr Heng explains, “which is to reduce facial wrinkles by relaxing muscles of facial expressions.”

Botulinum toxin A can be used to target lines on the forehead and in between the brows, as well as reduce the size of the masseter muscle (the muscle that runs through the rear part of the cheek) for a more V-shaped feminine visage. Besides cosmetic uses, botulinum toxin A can also be used to treat migraines and excessive sweating. 


Most fillers are made with hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance which is known for its ability to hold a lot of moisture, hence plumping the skin. Common brands of fillers include FDA-approved Juvederm and Restylane and within each brand are a range of products that cater to different aesthetic needs. “These products have slight chemical differences in terms of concentration, gel hardness and cohesiveness, which allows them to play their role at certain areas,” shares Dr Heng. “Take for instance, for chin reshaping, a doctor will likely choose to employ [a filler with] high lifting capacity and superior staying power, allowing adequate contour enhancement. Meanwhile a patient looking to have fuller, luscious lips will have to be treated with a product that is easily moldable but cohesive at the same time.”

Fillers are most commonly used to give back volume to the skin which often depletes with age or sometimes extreme weight loss. They can also be administered to enhance facial features like the nose, chin and cheeks to enhance facial contours.

All readers should seek medical advice from a qualified doctor if they are considering any cosmetic procedure – this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

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