It can be hard enough for us to pick the right household filler at our local D.I.Y store, so imagine how hard it is to pick the right facial filler! The choice of fillers on the market today seems endless. Wrinkles and facial lines can be a thing of the past and those plumped up rosy cheeks and voluptuous pouts, a thing of the present. But which dermal filler is the right one for you?
No matter what a facial cream claims, topical creams cannot actually penetrate the skin’s dermis layer. Creams work on the surface of the skin only, they can help keep skin supple and slow the rate of water loss but they cannot go beneath the skin’s surface. Only invasive treatments, such as dermal fillers, can do this. Dermal fillers do work, they are not as expensive as a face lift and they do not involve surgery. However, dermal fillers are not a new treatment; fat transfer has been administered for more than a hundred years, collagen injected for over thirty and hyaluronic acid (non-animal based fillers) for the past six years.
Minimally invasive facial fillers are made up of either temporary or permanent materials. There are two distinct types of fillers: replacement fillers that replace lost fat in the skin and stimulatory fillers, those that aid the growth of collagen. Facial fillers are used for ‘filling-in’ lines and wrinkles on the face and as volumizers for cheeks, lips and hands. The overall result is healthier, softer, rejuvenated and more youthful looking skin. They are relatively quick to administer (in the right hands, of course), cause minimal discomfort and result in little, if any, recovery time.
The majority of dermal fillers are only temporary and are gradually absorbed by the body itself. Temporary fillers are made from natural, synthetic and man-made materials, including hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid and calcium hydroxyapatite.
Hyaluronic acid filler – This is the most popular type of filler on the market (statistics show that over 30 million people have benefitted from hyaluronic acid fillers). Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body, and when synthetically reproduced and formulated into a gel substance for dermal fillers, it plumps-up tissue in the face that has lost elasticity and volume. Hyaluronic acid also draws water to the skin’s surface, keeping it both youthful and fresh looking. This type of filler produces immediate results. Juvederm and Restylane are hyaluronic acid based fillers.
Poly-L-lactic acid filler – Poly-L-lactic acid, a synthetic polymer, has been used successfully in surgical pro- cedures, such as dissolvable sutures and bone plates for more than 40 years now. Used as dermal filler, it adds volume and improves skin texture and thickness. When we are young the collagen framework of our skin is strong and supple but as we naturally age, coupled with environmental factors such as sun damage and smoking, this collagen support weakens, resulting in the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Poly-L-lactic acid fillers help to replace this lost collagen, gradually restoring the look of fullness to shallow and deep facial wrinkles and folds. Due to encouraging collagen growth, results are longer lasting. Effects can last up to three years in some patients. Due to its longevity, it is generally more expensive than other types of fillers. Celebrities are drawn to this filler, as the gradual rejuvenating effect doesn’t give the appearance of having had ‘instant’ cosmetic work done. Sculptra is the most popular Poly-L-lactic acid filler on the market.
Calcium hydroxyapatite filler – In 2006 the FDA approved calcium hydroxyapatite for cosmetic injection. It is biosynthetically produced; replicating a natural mineral found in human bones and teeth and has safely been used in the medical and dental fields for many years. It is 100% biodegradable and biocompatible. It is a heavy volumizer, injected deep in to the dermis and is successful in reducing severe wrinkles and lines, such as nasolabial folds (from nose to mouth) and giving the upper cheek and cheekbones more definition. It lasts for approximately one year. Radiesse falls in to this category of calcium hydroxyapatite fillers.
If you are seriously considering having one of the temporary fillers above then you must think realistically about your expectations of results. Dermal fillers may not remove every line on your face, and is this really what you would want, anyway? Once you have discussed your preferred treatment with a registered doctor, who is trained in dermal filler injection (dermal filling is a medical procedure not a cosmetic procedure), then the treatment itself is fairly quick. It generally takes up to half an hour per session. At treatment, a local anaesthetic cream will be applied to the surface of your face; the doctor will then inject the solution in to selected location points. With temporary dermal filler treatment there is little, if any, downtime, with minimal side-effects, such as slight bruising at injection point, redness and tenderness. More severe side-effects are very rare. The only downside to temporary fillers is just that, they are only temporary, meaning they have to be repeated over time to maintain the desired effect.
Author bio: Dr Ayham Al-Ayoubi of The London Medical and Aesthetic Clinic is a Facial Plastic and Laser Surgeon, specialising in the field of laser assisted liposuction and is the world’s leading Sculptra surgeon.