Pump it Up: Understanding Dermal Fillers for Treating Wrinkles and Signs of Aging
While plastic surgery is a great option for those who would like to beat Father Time at his own game, understandably, the thought of surgery can be down right scary. One of the most popular non-invasive procedures to rejuvenate your skin without going under the knife is with dermal fillers, also known as wrinkle fillers or facial soft tissue fillers. Here’s how dermal fillers work to treat wrinkles the skin and bring that youthful appearance back into your face.
Aging thins the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis), preventing the skin from retaining water. In addition to this, skin’s collagen production begins to slow and existing collagen becomes less effective as we age. Over time, we naturally lose subcutaneous fat that provide us the plumpness and fullness in our faces. Our facial muscles sit closer to the surface of our skin, making those smile lines and crow’s feet become more apparent.
What Do Dermal Fillers Treat?
Dermal fillers are minimally invasive procedures that can plump thin lips, enhance shallow contours and soften those hard creases visible on the face. Dermal fillers can be extremely helpful in filling in early stages of aging, when you’re starting to notice changes in your face and body. Dermal fillers cannot completely resolve issues such as facelifts, brow lifts, and eye lifts. Fillers will only delay the time until a consideration of a face lift, for example, becomes appropriate.
Types of Dermal Fillers
These are the most popular category of wrinkle fillers and each one works differently to achieve varying results. Two examples of hyaluronic acid wrinkles fillers Juvederm and Restylane. HA is a natural sugar found in skin. They do not contain any animal or human DNA, which makes them one of the safest types of fillers and are approved by the FDA. HA fillers work best to replenish the collagen and elastin fibers that are lost that create the natural volume in the face because it helps bind water to the skin. Some HA fillers are thicker than others to add different amounts of volume and texture. HA fillers work best to treat nasolabial folds, marionette lines, moderate to severe facial wrinkles, fine lip lines, and sunken cheeks and temples.
Botulinum Toxin (Botox, Botox Cosmetic)
Botulinum Toxin fillers are actually not wrinkle fillers! These are injected into the facial muscle to immobilize causes of those lines and wrinkles. While regular wrinkle fillers that simply smooth out the skin for a more youthful appearance, Botox works deeper to impair muscles that may be tense and causes those wrinkles. Botox works best to improve the look of eyebrow furrows, crow’s feet, and forehead creases.
Calcium Hydroxyapatite (Radiesse)
This type of wrinkle filler that comes in an aqueous-gel form, which makes it last longer than Botox or Juvaderm. This type of filler is FDA approved and not only works to improve virtually any wrinkle on the face, it encourages the growth of the body’s own collagen to reduce those lines and wrinkles. Over time, the biocompatible substace that’s found in this type of filler is naturally metabolized and eliminated from your body. Radiesse works best to treat moderate to severe facial wrinkles, including marionette lines, nasolabial folds, depressed scars, and sunken cheeks.
Poly-L-Lactic Acid (Sculptra)
This is a type of filler that is used to replace facial fat in the skin. This is synthetic filler that is a completely biodegradable and biocompatible polymer that is naturally absorbed into the body. It’s used to counteract the collagen depletion in the skin and to gradually stimulate collagen production. Unlike the fillers above, this type works deep within your skin to provide a more refined, youthful appearance that lasts up to two years. Sculptra works best to treat lost facial volume around eyes and cheeks, facial depressions or contour deficiencies, smile lines, chin wrinkles, and marionette lines.
What are the Side Effects of Dermal Fillers?
The side effects vary from patient to patient and from filler to filler. Most side effects include some redness and swelling in the injection areas that will only last a few days.
How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last?
Typically, treatment can vary among patients; a good filler will usually last for six months up to one year. Botox will last around four months. To achieve the best results from wrinkle fillers, fillers should only be injected into the skin by a board-certified dermatologist who can determine the right fillers for the right wrinkles.
Sources: American Society of Plastic Surgeons, WebMD, Integrated Aesthetics