Dermal fillers are gel-like substances that are injected beneath the skin to restore lost volume, smooth lines and soften creases, or enhance facial contours. More than 1 million men and women annually have chosen this popular facial rejuvenation treatment, which can be a cost-effective way to look younger without surgery or downtime.
While dermal fillers are casually known as “wrinkle fillers,” they can do much more than just smooth out wrinkles, although they are excellent at this too! Here are a few of the common issues dermal fillers can help address:
There are a variety of FDA approved filler products that cosmetic surgeons use. In general, fillers are categorized by the substance they are made from. A note for your safety: always make sure that you are receiving FDA approved, brand name fillers, which are only available through a licensed physician, such as a board certified cosmetic surgeon.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that is already found in your skin. It helps keep skin plump and hydrated. HA fillers are typically soft and gel-like. The results are temporary, lasting 6 to 12 months or longer before the body gradually and naturally absorbs the particles. Most HA fillers are infused with lidocaine to help minimize discomfort during and after treatment. FDA approved HA fillers include:
Ravanesse Products: Versa
Juvéderm products: Juvéderm XC, VOLUMA, VOLBELLA, VOLLURE
Restylane products: Restylane, Restylane Silk, Restylane Lyft, Restylane Refyne, Restylane Kysse and Restylane Defyne
Calcium hydroxylapatite is also a naturally occurring substance, found primarily in our bones. When used in a filler, the calcium particles are nearly microscopic and suspended in a smooth gel. The consistency of a CaHA filler is typically thicker than that of a hyaluronic acid filler and typically last longer as well, about 12 months for most patients. Calcium hydroxylapatite is also reported to help stimulate natural collagen production, and it is typically used for deeper lines and wrinkles. FDA approved CaHA fillers include Radiesse®.
Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a synthetic, biocompatible substance that has been used in medicine for much of the last century. In dermal fillers, PMMA takes the form of a “microsphere” or tiny ball, that remains beneath the skin indefinitely to provide continued support. PMMA fillers will also contain collagen, a naturally occurring substance in the skin that provides structure and firmness. FDA approved PMMA fillers include Bellafill® (formerly known as Artefill).
Autologous fat injections are the only injectable filler treatment that requires surgery, but results can last for many years. Your own fat is harvested from another area (autologous means “from the same person”), typically using liposuction. The fat is then purified and injected into the face to help restore volume to the cheeks, temples, lower eyelids, or other areas. Fat injections require specialized training to perform safely and achieve great results, and should only be performed by an experienced, board certified cosmetic surgeon.
When selecting a provider for injectable treatments, give your decision the same level of care and scrutiny that you would for a surgical procedure. Non-surgical filler treatment is still a medical procedure that requires specific training, knowledge and skill to ensure safe treatment and natural-looking results. Choose a provider with an extensive knowledge of facial anatomy, a well-developed aesthetic eye, and a surgeon’s skill and precision.
Whomever you choose, make sure your provider has a proven background in cosmetic medicine as well as training and substantial experience performing filler injections. Ask to see before & after photos of a potential provider’s patients.
With so many dermal filler products on the market, it can be difficult to know which option is best for you without an experienced cosmetic injector’s guidance. Each product is uniquely formulated to have a certain texture, density, and injection depth, which means that certain fillers work better for certain areas of concern. Your provider will determine what product is best for you based on your specific needs and desired outcomes.
Dermal filler injections are non-surgical and typically completed during an office visit. Your initial treatment will begin with a consultation, during which you will meet with your Aesthetics Injector to discuss your concerns and goals.
During your consultation, your Aesthetics Injector will evaluate your area of concern and review your medical history. While the risks associated with dermal fillers are minimal, you need to fully disclose your medical history prior to treatment, as certain allergies, skin and neurological conditions, or medications can jeopardize your safety or results. For instance, you need to tell your Aesthetics Injector if you have been taking NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) or blood thinners, as these increase the likelihood of bruising.
Just before the actual treatment, the area will be cleaned, and you may be given a topical anesthetic to numb the area prior to injection. Many filler products also contain lidocaine, a mild anesthetic, which is intended to help minimize discomfort during and after your treatment. Your provider will then inject a precise amount of filler strategically beneath the skin.
Depending on the product and the areas treated, you should be able to notice results immediately after receiving filler injections. Some patients experience mild bruising and swelling, but these are temporary and should subside over the days following treatment. You will be able to go back to your normal activities right after treatment, but your Aesthetics Injector may ask you to take the day off from exercise or other strenuous activity.
How long the effects of dermal fillers will last depends on the product, the area of treatment, and the patient. Generally speaking, the denser the product is and the more deeply it is injected, the longer it will last, although this is not a hard and fast rule. To maintain your results, your Aesthetics Injector will simply repeat treatment, adjusting the amount and techniques as necessary to ensure optimal results every time.
Hyaluronic acid fillers tend to be the most temporary, reversible option, and therefore are often recommended for first-time filler patients. These will typically last from 6 to 18 months. Injections to the lips will wear out a little faster than those to the nasolabial folds. Certain HA fillers, such as VOLUMA, are formulated to last longer but are usually limited to certain areas, such as the cheeks.
Synthetic fillers tend to last longer, as they are not absorbed by the body. They can be a great option for the right patient, but you’ll want to be ready to commit to results that will be there for several years—and choose an experienced, qualified provider whose aesthetic style you like.