Dermal Fillers: What to Expect

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The four major structural components of your face are muscle, skin, fat, and bone. As you age, volume loss in these structures contributes to many of the visible signs of aging. Dermal fillers are the best solution. 

Surprisingly more than 1 million men and women annually have opted for this popular facial rejuvenation treatment. It is a cost-effective way to look younger without surgery or downtime. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it is  the most common cosmetic procedures today.

Age-related bone loss in your face can lead to descent of your nose, loss of high cheekbones, and retraction of your jawline. Your facial muscles decrease in volume and elasticity, and there is deflation of the facial muscles. In addition, the movement of facial fat further highlights the signs of aging. 

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Finally, your skin stretches and loses elasticity. You are compounded by the loss of your face structure provided by fat, bone, and muscle – leading to wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging.

What are Dermal Fillers?

Dermal fillers are gel-like, soft substances that are injected under your skin. They can address several common issues, including lifting cheekbones, smoothing deep under-eye circles, volumizing your lips, smoothing of lip lines, and rejuvenating your hands.

Dermal fillers help to restore volume and fullness in the face. They can also diminish facial lines providing smoother facial skin. As you age, your face naturally loses subcutaneous fat. As a result, your facial muscles then work closer to the skin surface. This effect makes your smile lines and crow’s feet more apparent.

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As your facial skin stretches a bit, it adds to the loss of facial volume. Other factors that might affect your facial skin include sun exposure, heredity, and lifestyle habits.

Dermal fillers are an injectable filler treatment performed in your doctor’s clinic. The procedure can help smooth lines and replenish lost volume – that restores a more youthful appearance.

Dermal fillers should not be confused with Botox, injectable drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Botox injections help to smooth lines and wrinkles. The latter actually ‘freezes’ your muscles to reduce wrinkles. On the other hand, dermal fillers are injectable implants that FDA has approved. Dermal fillers help to smooth skin and wrinkles. As the name implies, they are injected just beneath your skin using a needle.

What Dermal Fillers Can Do

  • Plump thin lips.
  • Enhance shallow contours.
  • The filler softens your facial wrinkles and creases. 
  • Dermal fillers improve the appearance of recessed scars.
  • It reconstructs contour deformities in your face.
  • The procedure decreases or removes the shadow of your lower lids.
  • People who have early signs of aging can opt for dermal fillers. You can also choose it as a value-added part of your facial rejuvenation surgery.

Types of Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers can be composed of a variety of substances. Some of these are naturally occurring, and some are synthetic.

According to the FDA, there are primarily four categories of fillers. Each is named after the type of material they are made with:

1 Hyaluronic acid (HA) 

It is a substance that is naturally produced by your body and already found in your skin. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most common compounds used in dermal fillers. HA plays a major role in keeping your skin hydrated and volumized. 

Generally, fillers made with hyaluronic acid last between six to twelve months. 

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Depending on their specific chemical composition, these fillers can even last much longer before being gradually absorbed by the body. Most HA fillers are infused with lidocaine, a numbing agent, as it helps to minimize discomfort during and after the procedure. 

FDA approved HA fillers include Juvéderm products, Restylane products, and Belotero Balance.

2 Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA)

It is also a mineral that is found in your bones. When the mineral is used in a filler, the calcium particles are microscopic in size and suspended in a smooth gel. The consistency of a CaHA filler is thicker than that of a HA filler and typically lasts longer. Fillers made with calcium hydroxylapatite material last up to eighteen months.

The mineral helps to stimulate natural collagen production. Hence beneficial for deeper lines and wrinkles. 

FDA approved CaHA filler is Radiesse.

3 Poly-L-lactic acid 

It is a biodegradable synthetic material. Meaning it is safe to use in the body. Many medical products are made with the material like dissolvable stitches. These fillers might last up to two years. This filler is different from the others because its results are gradual; volumization that happens over several months as it stimulates your body to produce collagen.

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Poly-L-lactic acid products – medically classified as ‘collagen stimulators’. The synthetic material can smooth your fine lines as your skin starts to rebuild natural collagen. The filler gel will dissipate a few days after treatment. The filler treats deep facial wrinkles, and results can last longer. 

FDA approved Poly-L-lactic acid fillers include Sculptra Aesthetic.

4 Polymethylmethacrylate beads (PMMA)

Unlike the others, these beads are the only fillers that your body cannot absorb. Meaning the results are permanent. Hence your plastic surgeon will only use them around your mouth.

PMMA is a synthetic, biocompatible substance – used for more then a century. In dermal fillers, PMMA is present in the form of a “microsphere” or tiny ball. PMMA remains beneath your skin indefinitely to provide continued support. 

As these fillers contain collagen, hence they provide structure and firmness. It is more durable compared to the others. But you could have complications as there are chances of forming lumps under your skin.

FDA-approved PMMA fillers include Bellafill. 

Each of these substances has its pros and cons and a unique texture, density, and longevity. This makes them suitable for an area of the face or hands for desired results. 

Choosing the right type of dermal filler needs the guidance of your dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon. A person who has a thorough understanding of facial anatomy and is familiar with the variety of available fillers in the market.

Your doctor will thoroughly evaluate any specific areas of concern, understand what your expectations are out of the procedure, and review what you should expect after the treatment. Your surgeon will follow these steps to achieve the best cosmetic outcome.

How Do You Know Which Dermal Filler to Try?

With so many dermal filler products visible in the market, it can be difficult to know which option is suitable for you without an experienced cosmetic surgeon’s guidance. These filler products have an uniquely formula and come with a certain density, texture, and injection depth. 

Meaning certain fillers work better for certain areas of concern on your body. While your cosmetic surgeon will determine what filler is best for your area of treatment. 

Your dermatologist will explain the ideal treatment plan for you. So that you can get the most natural-looking results. As you have seen there are many different fillers within each category, and each of the products is different from the other. 

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Dermal Fillers?

Even non-surgical procedures have their risks. The most common side effects you might notice include swelling, bruising, redness, or pain. All these should go away within two weeks. However, after the procedure raised bumps might occur under your skin. Your doctor will treat them with injections, medications, or might even remove them surgically.

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You might ask about the risks of dermal fillers? At times the fillers is injected into your blood vessel that might lead to complications. If they are severe you can seek medical advice at the earliest. Again, this is why you should see an experienced doctor. A doctor who has the skills to perform these procedures.

How Long Do the Results Last?

How long does the effects of dermal fillers last? Many have this question before they start thinking about getting the treatment. It solely depends on the product your doctor uses, the area of treatment, and the patient. 

Technically speaking, if your doctor uses a denser product, it will be injected deeper and will last longer. Your surgeon will repeat treatment to maintain your results, adjusting the amount and techniques as necessary to ensure optimal results.

Hyaluronic acid fillers are the most temporary option, and therefore your board-certified dermatologist or surgeon will recommend them for first-time filler patients. These typically last for about a year. Injections to your lips (like lip fillers)will wear out a little faster than those to the nasolabial folds or other parts of the face. HA fillers, like VOLUMA, are specially formulated to last longer but are limited to certain areas, such as the cheeks.

On the contrary, synthetic fillers last longer, as your body does not absorb them. They can be an excellent option if you are looking for long-term effects.

Your doctor will use fat injections if you want the treatment to last indefinitely. Initially, your cosmetic surgeon may overfill your treatment area, which initially gives a fuller look. But it will gradually settle into a more natural appearance with time.

With the help of a qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon, dermal fillers can provide natural-looking enhancements. Helping you feel more confident in your appearance.  If you are ready to learn more and explore the options, the next step is to meet our team for a consultation.

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