Dermal fillers (injectable fillers) are most commonly used to replace lost volume and add more definition to the face. They can also help enhance the appearance of the face by improving skin’s overall quality.
How do dermal fillers work?
There are a few types of dermal fillers, that each work in different ways. The most common are:
Hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers: HA is a naturally occurring substance in the body that helps maintain hydration and volume. HA fillers are made from a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid and, when injected, can attract and hold water.
Result: The HA adds volume to the treatment area, while the hydrating effects improve the appearance of the skin. The effects of HA fillers are instant and generally last six to 18 months, depending on the extent of your concern and product used.
Calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) fillers: CaHA is a substance that is naturally found in bones. The synthetic form is used in these types of fillers and, when injected, can stimulate collagen production.
Result: Patients treated with CaHA fillers will see an improvement to skin’s texture and firmness over the next three months, which usually last 12 to 18 months.
Hybrid HA and CaHA fillers: there are now fillers available that use both hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyapatite.
Result: The combination of HA and CaHA means patients’ skin can be lifted and volumised for an instant improvement, while collagen is also stimulated for gradual skin quality improvement over time.
Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) fillers: PLLA fillers are another type of filler that stimulates collagen production when injected into the treatment area.
Result: Again, these fillers can improve skin’s texture and firmness. Like CaHA fillers, improvement is not instant but becomes noticeable after approximately three months. Research has suggested results can last up to two years.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) fillers: the microspheres used in PMMA fillers are able to provide structural support while stimulating collagen production.
Result: The effects of PMMA fillers are long-lasting, as the microspheres are not absorbed by the body, so can last several years. As such, they’re most commonly used when a more permanent solution is required.
What can dermal fillers treat?
Dermal fillers can be used to improve:
- Facial lines and wrinkles
- Areas lacking volume such as the cheeks, tear troughs (under eyes), temples and chin
- Sagging around the chin and jawline
- Deep ‘smile lines’ which run from the side of the nose to the corners of the mouth
- ‘Smokers’ lines’ which are vertical lines on the top lip
- ‘Marionette lines’ that run from the corners of the mouth to either side of the chin
- The definition of the lip border
- Lip volume and unevenness
- The shape of the nose (non-surgical rhinoplasty or nose job)
- Acne scars
- Depressions or pockmarks in the skin due to injury or disease, for example chickenpox marks
- Unevenness in the skin after surgery or skin grafting
Who is suitable for treatment?
Dermal fillers are suitable for most people seeking natural-looking improvement to volume loss and poor skin quality. It’s important that the choice of filler and the specific injection technique is tailored to your individual needs and desired outcome to get the best result.
Dermal fillers should not be used in those with active infections such as acne and cold sores, or in those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, have certain medical conditions or allergies. Always consult a medical professional to determine if they are right for you.
Does the procedure hurt?
A dermal filler procedure will require multiple injections, so can be slightly uncomfortable. Most leading brands of filler contain a local anaesthetic to reduce any pain. Additionally, anaesthetic cream or ice can be applied prior to treatment to help numb the area.
Are there any risks associated with dermal fillers?
Following treatment, it’s normal for your skin to be red and swollen, while you may also have some bruising or itchiness which will settle after a few days.
More serious complications from a dermal filler procedure include infection, lumps, nodules, and blocked arteries. Your practitioner should tell you about the signs to look out for and give you emergency contact details to use if you have any concerns.
An appropriately trained practitioner will know how to successfully prevent and manage complications. Don’t be afraid to ask them about their processes in advance of treatment.