Nothing beats that feeling when friends and colleagues comment on how rested you look after a holiday, but booking enough trips to maintain that feedback would translate to living on a plane – hardly practical in these strange times. But what if we told you there was an injectable treatment that acts as an internal hydrator, flooding skin with moisture to stimulate collagen and resulting in plumper, smoother skin? Essentially an injectable post-vacation glow.
It might sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what profhilo promises. It has fast become one of the most popular ‘tweakments’ in the beauty world and is the secret behind the flawless complexions of countless A-listers. Naturally, we had to know more, so we tapped leading cosmetic doctor Dr. Sophie Shotter for everything worth knowing about this skincare game-changer. Here’s what she had to say.
What is profhilo?
Profhilo is made of thermally stabilized hyaluronic acid, which is your skin’s natural moisturizer. It’s also what fillers are made of, but fillers are turned into a gel. The hyaluronic acid found in your skin is a watery liquid, so profhilo is the texture of runny honey. We inject into five areas of the face, and it spreads out through the skin to switch back on your collagen and elastin production. It actually only stays in the skin for 20 to 30 days, and the result comes from making your body produce more collagen and elastin!
Why was it originally developed?
It’s all about skin and glow. Fillers have been around in some form since the late 1800s, when people injected paraffin wax into their faces! But in terms of modern, safe things, we had collagen in the 90s and hyaluronic acid in the noughties. At some point, people switched onto the fact that collagen degradation is what makes us age, and we lose 1-1.5 percent every month from the age of 25.
So, what can we do to combat that? That’s really where this generation of skin-quality injectables came about. Profhilo has been around for a few years now. It started with a slow trickle and not that much uptake, but then people just loved it because it’s safe and easy, and a lot of other injectables need so many injections, which puts people off. Profhilo is much more straightforward.
Is it safe?
Yes, very safe. It has been manufactured in a very pure way in a laboratory in Italy, which has a very good safety record and pedigree. Remember, fillers are also safe when in the right hands. Problems can happen from fillers, even months down the line, as they’re in your body for a long time – whereas with profhilo, it’s gone within a month.
How long does it take, and where are the five points you inject it into?
Each injection takes five seconds. The five points are: around the cheekbone (it shouldn’t be too close to the eye), in front of the ear, just above the angle of your jaw, in the central part of your cheek, and one in your chin. From there, the profhilo spreads out through the skin, so you can imagine all those points joining up as it works. You can treat foreheads, necks, and décolletages with it, too, but if someone has multiple areas of concern, we’ll use a different syringe for each area.
How is profhilo different from regular fillers?
Profhilo is a non-crosslinking filler. Crosslinking turns something into a gel that lifts, which profhilo doesn’t do. Instead, it’s all about plumpness, skin health, and a dewy glow. There’s no added volume. It’s brilliant because it’s suitable for everyone – from people in their late 20s who want to be proactive about anti-aging to people in their 50s or 60s. I notice that people suddenly say to me, “Your skin’s looking really good.” My makeup goes on better, too. It’s such simple things that you’ll notice, rather than structural change or ‘volume’.
Is there anything you should or shouldn’t do in the run-up to having profhilo done?
Not particularly. If you are very prone to bruising, I recommend avoiding alcohol, ibuprofen, and aspirin the night before, but that’s about it really!
People suddenly say to me, “Your skin’s looking really good.”
What about after the treatment?
I advise to just let it be and let it do its thing. Don’t play with it, don’t touch your skin. That night, avoid strong skincare products like retinols and AHAs, and I recommend avoiding intense exercise for 48 hours post-treatment. Anything that’s going to make you red in the face – exercise, steam rooms, the sun – will make you more prone to bruising and swelling.
Does it hurt?
It stings a little bit, but it’s really very manageable. It’s also very quick. If someone is worried about pain, they can take paracetamol before the treatment, and I offer numbing cream as it’s definitely more comfortable that way.
How often should you have it done?
As an initial treatment, we do two sessions one month apart for most people. So, you’d have a session today, and then another one in four to six weeks. Then you have options. You can either repeat it every six months, or you can do what I do, which is have one treatment every three months. Then I’m just in the swing of maintenance, and it works really nicely that way.
How long does it last?
If you were to let it wear off completely, then approximately six months. But if you do it the way I do – every three months – you won’t get the troughs. So it won’t completely wear off, but you won’t see the biggest change. You will keep your skin nice and steady.
Is it okay to have it with other injectables?
Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t necessarily do them all in the same session, but that’s in an ideal world.
Who can’t or shouldn’t use profhilo?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, and anyone with an infection in the area we are going to inject. Also, anyone who has been allergic to a product, which is very, very rare. What’s important is to discuss your medical history in full with your doctor so they can assess whether or not it’s the right treatment for you.
Are there any risks?
Anytime a needle goes through the skin, a bruise or infection is possible. With profhilo, you do look a little bit like a bee has stung you geometrically across your face, but that goes down quickly – mostly by the time you wake up the next day.
Do you think profhilo will end up as popular as Botox?
I already think it is, and I think all of these treatments are heading that way. It’s going to be the same as having a facial 20 years ago because you get the results. The thing with profhilo is your expectations need to be realistic, that’s the key thing. If someone believes it’s going to miraculously lift their face, then they’re wrong – that’s when fillers, threads, or surgery come into the mix. If you’re purely thinking about skin quality, skin glow, and skin hydration, then it’s brilliant because it’s an injectable moisturizer!
To book an appointment with Dr. Sophie Shotter, click here.