Thanks to the rise of the eternally youthful celebrities (think Elle Macpherson), women are spending more time and money than ever before chasing any beauty trend that claims to “lift, plump or get rid of wrinkles”. Perhaps that is why injecting our faces and lips has become so commonplace that some people now consider their twice yearly visit to the cosmetic doctors as normal as the dentist or hair salon. The Beauty Geeks have investigated the science behind this latest booming beauty trend…


Botox, which we’ve heard called the miracle poison, can be used for cosmetic purposes when injected into our ‘problem areas’ to smooth out any unwanted lines and wrinkles. Botulinum toxin paralyses muscles by binding irreversibly to receptors on our facial muscles. By doing so it prevents the neurotransmitter (a signalling molecules) called acetylcholine from binding to these muscle receptors, which would normally cause the muscle to contract, therefore paralyzing the muscles in our face. The toxin usually takes around 24-72 hours to take effect but can last for up to 12 weeks. The effect of the toxin eventually wears off because the body tries to reverse this paralysis by forming new connections, to try and encourage acetylcholine to bind and allow our muscles to get their mojo back. Clever, huh! Well, you might not agree if you have to pay for top up treatments ever 6 months.


Injection of dermal fillers is currently the second most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed in the US. Dermal fillers can create a smoother, plumper skin appearance by increasing tissue volume or they can be used to give us those luscious lips we’ve always dreamed of. Currently there are several dermal fillers that are approved by the FDA (US food and drug administration):

  • Bovine collagen
  • Human collagen
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Calcium Hydroxylanaitie
  • Polymethylmethacrylate
  • Liquid silicone

Hyaluronic acid is the favored dermal filler, so we will focus our attention there (we’re sure you Beauty Geeks are really clued up on this ingredient by now, but if not we have loads more information here). It works really well as a filler as it can bind and hold large quantities of water within the skin, giving that desired ‘plump’ look and its effect can last anywhere between 6 and 12 months. There are several different hyaluronic acid fillers available and the difference is in their concentration – the higher the mg/ml of hyaluronic acid in the filler, the more water it will be able to hold, so you should make your choice based on how much ‘filling’ you would like to achieve. The best property of the hyaluronic fillers, that makes them superior to others, is their reversibility – any unwanted or misplaced hyaluronic acid can be resolved by an injection with hyaluronidase (an enzyme that will dissolve hyaluronic acid), so you won’t have to worry about leaving the procedure with fish lips!

As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with fillers. Most of the side effects occur shortly after the injection and most clear up with in two weeks of the procedure. The list includes bruising, redness, swelling, pain and tenderness. However, if you experience any more serious side effects, we suggest seeking medical advice.

Important Note from the Geeks

We think its is really important to mention that you need to be careful when deciding where to go for this cosmetic procedure so make sure you do your research beforehand (especially if you are in the UK, as fillers and Botox are not regulated here)! Find a reputable place with an appropriately trained doctor or registered nurse. After all the person you choose to carry out this procedure will be injecting into your face! This is one of the rare situations where the Geeks would encourage you to splurge and make sure you get the best you can find!

Nurses must be registered with the Nursing & Midwifery Council.

Doctors and dermatologists must be registered with the General Medical Council.

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Soft Tissue Fillers – FDA

Dermal Fillers: An Update – The Journal of Clinical Dematology

Botox – Indian Jornal of Dermatology

Non-surgical Procedures – NHS

Thanks for the image!