One of the most popular non-invasive cosmetics treatments available today, dermal fillers are a tried-and-true way of adding volume to the skin. With a long track record, they’ve been around for more than 15 years yet are becoming more popular year after year as more celebs come clean about using fillers and injectables. Dermal fillers help recontour flat features, smooth out stubborn wrinkles and give the face a plump, youthful appearance.
With age, the skin naturally loses fat (volume), collagen, and elastin, which gives way to a weathered, aged appearance laden with lines, wrinkles, hollowness, and saggy skin. Short of surgery, dermal fillers are the next best option.
Each filler is unique with its properties and reasons for use. For example, while some dermal fillers are better for adding more lift and volume, others are effective for filling in bothersome lines and wrinkles. Yet, regardless of the filler used, the goal is to restore the face to a youthful, rejuvenated, plump appearance.
Dermal fillers are a specific category of injectable substances that the FDA has approved to restore lost facial volume and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dermal fillers do just what they sound like: they fill in an area where deficiencies exist to add volume where it’s been lost.
Regardless of the type of dermal filler injected into the skin, they all have a common thread: target lines and wrinkles and add volume. And unlike neurotoxins, which relax the muscles to improve fine lines and wrinkles, dermal fillers work by drawing water to the area to plump it. Within the dermal filler, category are different types of fillers depending on the active ingredient and formulation of the filler that causes a plumping effect. There are a handful of different dermal fillers in the aesthetic world, and the most commonly used brands include:
HA (Hyaluronic Acid) fillers are among the more popular and widely used types simply because they’re most like the natural substance found within the body and reversible (not all fillers are). It’s also a widely used ingredient in topical moisturizing skincare products. In addition, HA in fillers helps the skin retain moisture for added fullness. While some dermal fillers are FDA-approved to treat specific areas, like the lips, others are used off-label and can still provide excellent results when used safely and appropriately.
Dermal fillers add volume to the skin by injecting a synthetic filler (often a gel-like HA substance, but other formulas are available) under the skin. Once the dermal filler agent is placed under the skin, it gives an immediate volumizing effect which smooths out flat and volume-deficient features and fills in hollows, lines, and wrinkles. In addition, placing HA under the skin attracts water to the area to give a plumping effect. HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, giving the skin a nice, natural effect.
All dermal fillers are injected under the skin with a needle or a cannula (it’s up to the injector to choose which method). All fillers contain lidocaine so that the area instantly becomes numb as soon as the first needle prick is made. Still, many patients double up on topical numbing cream before their injections to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. The entire injection process is quick and can be completed in 30 minutes or less with instant results. You’ll be able to see restored volume and smoothed-out lines and wrinkles by the time you leave your appointment.
Different dermal fillers are used depending on the area to be treated and the skin’s current state. Some are better suited for lifting, while others work wonders for plumping and filling in. During your consultation, your injector will discuss the different options and determine your best treatment plan.
There are numerous benefits to using dermal fillers besides adding volume and achieving a more youthful, restored appearance. Most dermal fillers are praised for enhancing a specific facial feature, like the lips, or sculpting and balancing the face while treating the common signs of aging. Other benefits of dermal fillers include:
Fillers can also be used in various areas of the face (some areas are considered off-label, meaning they do not hold FDA approval but are widely used), such as:
Unlike neurotoxins, the results of dermal fillers are immediate. You’ll notice a more youthful and refreshed appearance with more volume in the face and a smoothing effect of wrinkles before you leave your appointment. Some patients need more than one treatment session to build upon their results and achieve their desired results; others can accomplish their goals in one session. There’s also no downtime or recovery with most dermal fillers, so you can resume your normal activities immediately.
Even if you don’t opt for a collagen-stimulating filler, you may still reap the benefits of added collagen with HA fillers. That’s because injecting the product stimulates fibroblast activity to create new collagen. So although it won’t be nearly as much collagen as with a collagen-stimulating filler, there is still some benefit.
On average, the results of dermal fillers last six months or longer, depending on what is injected and the area treated. You may need touch-ups after the initial appointment to round out the effects to achieve optimal results. A good skincare routine and a healthy lifestyle will help improve the results and longevity. Different fillers have different compositions, giving way to longer-lasting results. For example, Juvéderm Voluma and Sculptra can last up to two years. Others, like Restylane, can last about six months.
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