Fillers 101: Everything You Need to Know About America’s Favorite Age-Fighting Treatments
Dermal fillers have been used for years to reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as to restore volume. The areas that are commonly treated are the face, lips and hands. There are many different fillers and the options continue to increase.
What is in your fillers? The most widely used dermal fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a natural component in the skin. It can be used for fine lines or filling in wrinkles and folds and for volume restoration. HA attracts water, which helps to maintain fullness in the treated area. The areas that are popularly treated with HA fillers include lips and nasolabial folds. However, as the filler options increase, other areas are being treated with longer-lasting results. The nasolabial folds and corners of the mouth are still widely treated, but the idea of global volume restoration has been “changing the face” of treatment.
Which fillers treat what?
Fillers such as Juvéderm Voluma and Restylane Lyft are used to add volume to areas that typically lose collagen as we age—including the temples and cheeks. As volume is restored to these areas and the cheeks are lifted up, the skin nasolabial folds and oral commissure will naturally become less prominent due to the lifting effect in the cheeks. The newer fillers like Restylane Silk and Juvedérm Volbella allow more options for lip definition and enhancement, and along with Belotero, can also be used to treat fine lines around the mouth.
Tear troughs are also treated with HA fillers. Tear trough hollowing can become more prominent with time, however, it can be significant in young people as well due to genetic tendencies. Restylane and Volbella can be used for tear troughs, and are also widely used for filling nasolabial folds and oral commissures. HA fillers can also be used to restore volume in the dorsal hands. The duration of HA fillers varies by site of injection and type of filler used.
Calcium hydroxylapatite, also known as Radiesse has been used for many years for wrinkle reduction. Calcium hydroxylapatite is made of the type of mineral found in teeth and bones. This filler is used to restore volume in the cheeks and the dorsal hands, and also helps to reduce the nasolabial folds and oral commissures. It can last approximately 12-18 months.
Sculptra, or poly-L-lactic acid, is an injectable that helps replace collagen over time. It is made of a biodegradable synthetic polymer and involves a series of injections over months, typically 2-3 injections spaced 1-2 months apart. With each injection cycle, more collagen is stimulated, which allows for the filling of wrinkles and folds gradually over time. The poly-L-lactic acid slowly gets broken down in the skin over time, however, due to the collagen stimulation that Sculptra induces, the results can last for up to 2 years.
Do filler injections hurt?
There is generally minimal discomfort with injections since the fillers are mixed with a small amount of the anesthetic lidocaine. Topical numbing cream is often used as well.
What can I do to prepare for treatment?
Because filler injections can cause bruising, it is best to stop blood thinners aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) for one week prior to treatment if approved with your primary doctor. Avoid fish oil supplements, vitamin E and herbal supplements for a few days prior to the procedure.
What should I expect after treatment?
There will be mild redness and swelling at the treatment site. This can be covered by make-up after treatment. Results can be seen right away however will be optimal within a few days after treatment once swelling resolves. Bruising can also develop soon after treatment which can be minimized by the bruising protocol that we use at Suddenly Slimmer Day and Med Spa. This includes using oral and topical Arnika and Vitamin K, as well as returning to our office within 24-72 hours of bruise development for laser treatment that will hasten the resolution of the bruise.
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