Did you know that one of the most common signs of aging is volume loss? When facial tissues start to thin out, the lines around the mouth, nose, and cheeks become hollow. Dermal fillers are used to restore the lost volume so that lines and wrinkles disappear, and the lips look plump, giving you a youthful appearance.

So what are injectable fillers?

These are a type of gel-like substance that is injected under the skin to smooth aging lines and to enhance facial features. Dermal fillers is a popular facial treatment mainly because it is cost-effective and requires no surgery and no downtime.

Can dermal fillers enhance my appearance?

Dermal fillers are known for their effect on wrinkles but they do much more than eliminate lines and wrinkles. This is what injectable dermal fillers can do for you:

– Smooth out aging lines around the mouth and nose

– Restore volume to temples and sunken cheeks

– Reduce vertical lips lines

– Plump out your lips

– Enhance facial symmetry

What do fillers contain?

There are different types of fillers (all approved by the FDA) and each type is categorized by the substance it is made from. Here are the main substances used on injectable fillers:

Hyaluronic Acid

This is an acid that helps keep the skin soft and hydrated. It occurs naturally in the body in minute amounts but over time it gets depleted. Hyaluronic acid fillers are gel-like, soft substances that reduce wrinkles for a short period (between 6 and 12 months) before the body naturally absorbs the substance. Most of these fillers are combined with lidocaine to make the treatment more comfortable for patients. Fillers that contain hyaluronic acid include Juvederm, Restylane and Belotero Balance.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite

This substance is formed naturally in our bones but it’s also used to create dermal fillers. When used as the main ingredient, the tiny, calcium particles are suspended in a gel that has more consistency and is thicker than a typical hyaluronic filler. It lasts longer as well, with results lasting over 12 months for most patients. One common FDA approved product in this category is Radiesse.

Poly-L-lactic Acid

Poly-L-lactic acid is a synthetic substance that is biodegradable and biocompatible – meaning it can be used safely in the body. It is found in a variety of medical devices like dissolvable stitches and most products that contain poly-L-lactic acid are known as “collagen stimulators” due to their effect of stimulating collagen production. Poly-L-lactic acid is very effective when used on deeper facial wrinkles and results last up to 2 years, sometimes more. Sculptra Aesthetic is a FDA approved dermal filler.

Autologous fat injection

This is a more aggressive procedure that requires surgery and involves harvesting fat from one part of your body to use on your face. When fat is removed from your butt, thighs, or other parts of your body, it is first purified and then injected into the face to restore lost volume in the temple, cheeks, lower eyelids, etc. This procedure is done by a qualified surgeon with specialized training in order to maintain safety.

What type of filler do I need?

Each type of filler has a unique formulation that gives it texture, injection depth, and density. This is why some fillers work better for specific areas of concern. Your provider will explain the differences in detail and recommend the best filler for you.

What to expect before and after treatment

Filler injections are non-surgical treatments and are easily completed when you make an office visit. Treatment begins with a consultation during which the doctor discusses your goals and concerns. Before injecting the substance, the provider will clean the area and use a topical anesthetic to numb the skin (although it’s not always necessary). A very precise amount of filler will then be injected under your skin and depending on the product used, you may be able to see effects right away. Mild bruising is common but it’s temporary and will not interfere with your daily activities.

Facial fat injections

This procedure doesn’t follow the same treatment protocol but usually, fat grafting is an outpatient procedure that requires local or general anesthesia. Recovery takes around 2 weeks depending on how much fat was moved. Your surgeon will explain in detail the treatment and results.

How long do results last?

You have to take into account the type of substance used, the areas treated, and the patient. When one of the thicker products is injected deep into the skin, results tend to last longer – but this isn’t always the case. The provider will only have to repeat the treatment and perhaps adjust the techniques and the amount in order to maintain good results.

Get a qualified, experienced provider to inject the fillers; that way you can get a natural-looking enhancement that improves your appearance and makes you feel more self-assured. Check the provider’s aesthetic style to get a sense of what to expect after treatment.

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