A Guide to the Most Popular Injectables (and What They Do)



Once upon a time, cosmetic augmentation was seen as a taboo, unspoken topic. Now, however, Botox, lip fillers, and others are celebrated for their ability to create youthful-looking complexions and prevent the appearance of early-onset aging. As a result, injectables are welcome more now than ever before as an acceptable lifestyle choice. To learn more, we enlisted board-certified dermatologists Ava Shamban and Terrence Keaney to help provide a full run-down on the most popular injectables. Keep reading to get in-the-know. 

Meet the Expert

  • Ava Shamban, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist.
  • Terrence Keaney is a board-certified dermatologist, as well as the founder and director of SkinDC.

Injectables vs. Fillers

As Shamban points out, many people use the term "filler" to describe anything injected into the skin for anti-aging and cosmetic enhancement. While it’s a common identifier, Shamban says it’s not entirely accurate. Fillers are a specific category of substances approved by the FDA to address volume loss and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Injectables, however, refer to anything injectable. Therefore, referring to neuromodulators like Botox, which freeze the muscle and prevent fine lines and wrinkles but don’t actually fill them, injectables is the proper term. 

Botox (Neuromodulators)

What it is: A muscle relaxer designed to freeze specific wrinkle patterns on the face and neck

How long it lasts: Three to six months

How much it costs: $300 to $1200 approximately

“Botox essentially created the category of aesthetic injectables,” Keaney says, noting that it relaxes muscles that lead to wrinkles, presenting itself as an optimal anti-aging cosmetic treatment. Speaking of the treatment itself, Keaney says that mild discomfort during injections is to be expected. 

While Botox is easily the most popular injectable (let alone neuromodulator) on the market, Shamban points out that Jeuveau, Dysport, and Xeomin are the same strain. “These injectables are all used for the temporary relaxation of muscle movement to smooth skin,” she shares. 

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

What it is: A soft gel filler used to address the loss of volume

How long it lasts: Approximately one year

How much it costs: $600 to $1200 approximately

“Hyaluronic acid fillers are soft gel in varying densities and textures that are suitable for different areas of the face (or hands)—from temples and lips to under eyes or cheeks,” Shamban says. “These fillers 'mimic' the natural HA we produce in our body literally filling in areas of lines and wrinkles or replacing volume and fullness lost over time.”

Since there are various HA fillers on the market, check out two of the most popular below.

Juvederm Volbella

What it is: A type of hyaluronic acid dermal filler for lip augmentation

How long it lasts: One to two years

How much it costs: $600 to $1000 approximately

It’s no secret that lip augmentations have exploded in popularity over the past few years—especially in younger demographics. According to Keaney, Volbella is the go-to product for lips. “It plumps and volumizes the lips without making them too large,” he says. “It’s perfect for younger patients or patients who want to improve the shape of their lips without overdoing it.” 

The treatment itself takes around 45 minutes, though 30 of those are dedicated to the numbing process. The injections themselves can be a bit painful, but the results make it worth it. And, like Botox, the complete result of Volbella isn’t immediate. Instead, it takes one to two weeks to fully settle. That said, you will notice an immediate difference post-treatment, and swelling and redness are completely normal in the following one-to-two days.

Juvederm Voluma

What it is: A hyaluronic acid dermal filler used for addressing volume loss in cheeks and chins

How long it lasts: Approximately two years

How much it costs: $1000 to $1500 approximately

“Juvederm Voluma is an amazing versatile filler that is the go-to product for augmenting your cheeks and chins, two of the most popular areas for injectable treatments,” Keaney says. 

The treatment has a manageable pain score thanks to numbing before injections. While results are slightly noticeable immediately post-injection, full results will settle into place over one to two weeks following treatment. 


What it is: A filler that also acts as a collagen stimulator

How long it lasts: Approximately two years

How much it costs: $1000 to $1500 approximately

Keaney says that this dual-purpose filler is incredible for the jawline and helps with sagging in non-facial regions. Shamban adds that it also works wonders for marionette lines and nasolabial folds. Since it’s made with calcium, it deposits a naturally-occurring substance back into the body, which helps to rejuvenate the skin's appearance. 

As for pain, you can expect lidocaine ahead of any injections, so it’s pretty manageable. 


What it is: A fat-destroying injectable

How long it lasts: Forever

How much it costs: $1200 to $1800 approximately

Kybella has exploded into popularity over the past few years—throughout 2020 especially—thanks to its ability to address tech neck and double chins, something we’re all more aware of in this Zoom-centric culture. Unlike other injectables, Kybella causes a chemical reaction that permanently destroys fat cells. 

“While indicated for under the chin, it is also used for bra straps and bat wings (AKA saggy triceps), excess fat in the underarm area, and for some other adipose tissue deposits,” Shamban says. While the results are long-lasting, she admits that some patients find it more painful than other injectables, and the recovery time takes longer, as swelling can last for several weeks. That said, in five to six weeks, the full effect sets in and reveals a slim, toned area, making it worthwhile to many. 


What it is: A biostimulator that boosts your skin’s natural collagen production

How long it lasts: Up to two years

How much it costs: $600 to $1000 approximately

Sculptra is an intriguing injectable, thanks to its ability to trigger your body’s own natural production processes. Instead of volumizing the injection area immediately, Shamban says the liquid is absorbed into the skin and dissipates over 48 hours. “Over time, it stimulates the body's natural ability to generate collagen, which improves lines and wrinkles,” she explains.

As with all injectables, Sculptra is prefaced with a topical numbing agent and is relatively manageable in the pain department. It’s best used for tear troughs and addressing under-eye bags.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

What it is: An injection of your own plasma

How long it lasts: A few months

How much it costs: $600 to $2000 approximately

Remember Kim Kardashian’s vampire facial? She got PRP injections. Unlike all the other injectables, PRP injections are unique to your own body, as they’re created from drawing your own blood and spinning out the plasma. 

“PRP allows us to harvest our own regenerative properties to grow hair and stimulate collagen production,” Keaney says, noting that the treatments have seen an uptick in popularity over the past three to five years. As for pain, think: mild-to-moderate.

The Takeaway

As shown, many injectables address the signs of aging. For this reason, Shamban says that they’re all quite interchangeable, as long as you’re working with a board-certified dermatologist who has a firm grasp on what they’re doing. That said, the more experienced your practitioner, the pricier you can expect the treatment of your choice to be.

Related Stories