A dermal filler is used to provide fullness and contouring to various areas of the face to create a more youthful appearance. They can be used to lift eyebrows, increase the contour of cheekbones, plump up deep creases between the nose and mouth, add volume to thin lips, eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce under eye hollowing caused by decreased skin elasticity and loss of firmness. A facial filler is a different type of dermatological treatment than wrinkle relaxers like Botox® or Dysport®, which prevent wrinkles by paralyzing the muscles.
Types of Facial Fillers
Hyaluronic acid is a commonly used facial filler. Examples of fillers that use hyaluronic acid include Juvederm®, Perlane®, and Restylane®. These fillers work by absorbing water to plump the underlying skin. Each of these products contains different size particles, which make them appropriate for wrinkles and creases of different depths. Since the skin’s natural connective tissue contains hyaluronic acid, these fillers are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Perlane and Restylane are both manufactured by the same company. Perlane has a thicker consistency and is better suited to more prominent and deeper creases and folds.
Restylaneis typically used under the eye to fill creases and folds. Restylane Silk® is an increasingly popular facial filler used to enhance the volume of the lips and smooth out wrinkles on the skin.
Radiesse® is another popular dermal filler that uses calcium hydroxylapatite. It works by stimulating the production of new collagen. Radiesse is appropriate for deeper wrinkles and creases and can also be used for contouring. Radiesse cannot be used to add volume to the lips.
Sculptra® uses poly-l-lactic acid to stimulate collagen formation to fill in hollow areas as well as folds and lines in the face. Though now approved as a cosmetic dermatological treatment, Sculptra was originally used in HIV patients who had lost facial fat because of taking antiviral medications. Sculptra works gradually and requires a series of treatments approximately a month apart.
Things to Consider
Facial fillers are injected under the skin. This can be mildly uncomfortable, but most doctors use a local anesthetic, so most patients tolerate the procedure well. The process typically takes less than an hour, and there is virtually no downtime. Side-effects are rare and typically include redness, bruising, swelling, and tenderness at the injection site. These effects usually go away within a week. The cost of dermal fillers varies. The results of injectable fillers are temporary. Depending on the type of filler used, the procedure must be repeated every 4 to 18 months to maintain the results. It is important to consult with a dermatology provider or dermatologist who will consider both budget and your skin’s characteristics to determine the most appropriate facial filler.