One of the Most Popular Injectables Right Now Is Something You Probably Haven’t Even Heard of Yet

It’s not a neuromodulator, and it’s not a dermal filler. But it can plump and smooth skin and help minimize fine lines.

Usually, it’s us Canadians lusting after something our US neighbours have, as we wait for it to be approved by Health Canada (take certain trendy sunscreens, for example). But now, we have something making Americans jealous: skin boosters, a dermatological cosmetic treatment that Canadian doctors (and in-the-know patients) are really excited about.

Officially named “small particle hyaluronic acid filler” but colloquially called “skin boosters,” the treatment involves a trained professional injecting hyaluronic acid (HA) particles into the skin to smooth, plump and hydrate it. Sounds like dermal filler, right? It’s not. With dermal fillers, large molecules of HA are injected underneath the skin to plump and lift the face. With skin boosters, microdroplets of HA are injected into the skin to plump, smooth and hydrate it.

Approved by Health Canada in 2016, skin boosters have become a popular treatment for dermatologists to suggest to patients with concerns about skin texture, fine lines and dryness. “It’s one of the top injectables we’re using in my office,” says Dr. Irina Oroz, a dermatologist in Saskatoon.

Here, everything you need to know about skin boosters.

Skin Boosters vs. Skinboosters

There are three types of small particle HA filler (skin boosters) approved by Health Canada at this time. The most commonly used product is (conveniently) called Restylane Skinboosters(TM) by Galderma. There’s also Redensity 1 Beauty Booster by Clarion Medical, and Volite by Juvederm.

The Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid

HA is a popular skincare ingredient for parched skin, since its molecules grab onto water, draw it into the skin and hold onto it—and the same goes for when it’s injected. Skin boosters rejuvenate the skin by helping to replace the hyaluronic acid we’ve lost due to aging. “It’s like an internal moisturizer,” says Oroz. “Skin becomes plumper, too.” Plus, the HA used in skin boosters is an “extracellular matrix,” says Oroz, which means it not only hydrates skin but also stimulates new collagen, thereby generating smoother-looking skin.

The Procedure

There are two ways you can receive skin boosters. Your doctor may choose to use a classic syringe (like they’d use with dermal filler), in which a needle is used to create a port of entry in the skin, and a cannula, which has a dull end, is inserted to deposit the HA in the superficial layer of the skin. Alternatively, your doctor may use what Oroz calls the “click system,” which involves the same needle but with an extra function—a click—that portions out a precise amount of HA in a grid-like pattern. A skilled practitioner can determine which option is best for you.

How It Differs From Filler

While they can both plump skin, the treatments differ significantly. “Filler is a lot thicker and has a lifting capacity—it’s meant to fill a hollow space and lift,” says Oroz. Conversely, skin boosters don’t lift, but hydrate and smooth skin. They deposit HA into the skin (instead of underneath it) to deliver deep hydration directly to it, she says.

Where Skin Boosters Can Be Used

At the moment, skin boosters have been tested to use on the lower half of the face, the neck area and hands, says Oroz. They’re a perfect option for areas where filler is not recommended, like fine lines around the mouth (including smoker’s lines and crease lines) as well as necklace lines (the horizontal bands around the neck).

While they helps prevent skin flakiness and increase its overall bounciness, skin boosters haven’t actually been approved for the upper half of the face yet. “It’s really just a matter of the studies haven’t been done yet,” says Oroz. But she expects them to be approved for the whole face soon, including around the eyes and between the brows.

How Skin Boosters Differ From Botox

Basically, any neuromodulator concentrates on the facial muscles, specifically, relaxing them to limit movement that causes wrinkles, says Oroz. Skin boosters concentrate on the skin—smoothing out the texture to fade static facial lines. But a trained practitioner can tell you the best treatment for what you’re after.

The Best Candidates

“Any adult looking for rejuvenation, hydration, a glow, can benefit from skin boosters,” says Oroz, as well as anyone looking to improve the look of crepey skin, fine lines or signs of aging in hands.

If volume loss is a main concern, a better option may be dermal fillers, says Oroz. “But you absolutely can use both filler and skin boosters in one session as a combined treatment.”

Pregnant or breastfeeding people shouldn’t get skin boosters, and anyone with a bleeding disorder, tumour or infections should also avoid this treatment. “But it’s relatively safe,” says Oroz.

How Long It Lasts

Typically, three treatments are performed two to four weeks apart. Although results are immediate, Oroz says skin will look its best three to six months after the treatment has helped stimulate collagen production. Results last a year or longer.

The Cost

Just like Botox and filler, the cost per treatment depends on where you go. Oroz says it’s typically about $600-$750 per treatment/syringe, which would work out to $1,800-$2,250 for the recommended series of three. If skin is super dry and crepey, two syringes may be needed. In that case, clinics may have a special price so you’re not paying double.

Side Effects

The side effects of skin boosters are similar to what you’d see with traditional filler, like bruising and redness, says Oroz, and there may be some slight pain. “Obviously, you want an experienced injector for the job, as you would with any type of injection.”

When It’ll Be Available in the US

Skin boosters are currently approved and available in Canada and in countries all over Europe. “It will probably be approved pretty quickly in the US,” says Oroz. “My American colleagues are very excited to get their hands on it.”

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