Dermal fillers have revolutionised the world of beauty, simplifying anti-ageing treatments and making them more affordable. Injectable dermal fillers have replaced a number of surgical procedures, providing patients with a safer, less invasive approach to beauty. In this article, we are going to answer the question what is a dermal filler so you understand the science behind one of the most enduring beauty trends of the moment.
What Is A Dermal Filler?
A dermal filler is a gel-like substance that is injected into the skin. Its purpose is to provide facial volume as it fills out facial contours such as fine lines, wrinkles and reshapes areas of the face. The most popular dermal fillers today are made out of hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a substance that occurs naturally in the skin, providing it with plumpness and moisture. Other types of injectable fillers include Calcium hydroxylapatite, poly-L-lactic and autologous fat injections, whereby fat is removed from another area of the body and injected into the face.
Different thicknesses have different uses and functions. Thinner fillers are used in areas that have thinner, more delicate skin, such as under the eyes. Harder fillers would be used to make structural differences such as to enhance jaw and cheekbone structures.
How Do Dermal Fillers Work?
Many of the aesthetic signs of premature ageing can be traced back to loss of volume in the face. As the tissues in the face become thinner, the lines and contours of the face become more pronounced. A loss of facial volume can make the face appear sunken and hollow as we get older, especially in spaces like under the eyes and in the cheekbones.
What Can Dermal Fillers Be Used For?
Facial fillers have become popular for addressing skin concerns from the eye area downwards. This includes
- Enhancing and plumping the tissues around the mouth out
- Ironing out and smoothing vertical lines that develop around the lips
- Smoothing out the nasio-labial folds
- Smoothing the crease in the chin
- Ironing out smile and laugh lines such as marionette lines and parentheses
- Creating facial symmetry in the facial features
Typically neurotoxic injectables such as BOTOX® are best used on areas like crows feet and frown lines.
How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last?
Fillers last for a long time but they are not permanent. Most of the reputable brands work for around 12 to 24 months before they are reabsorbed by the body. The length of time the filler will last also depends on your fitness levels. Very fit people will absorb the filler much faster than those who aren’t.
Another factor worth considering is that the areas of your face that are used most often in expression are likely to wear fillers down faster.
Comparatively, fillers placed in the cheeks to provide facial volume are likely to outlast those that are placed around the lips, because the lips are used more often.
Lip fillers will usually last for four to six months while cheek fillers can last up to 18 months on average.
It is often recommended to have a second or top up treatment done six to 12 months after your initial treatment, in order to help the fillers last for longer.
Are Dermal Fillers Painful?
Everyone has a different pain response, but most patients report a sharp pinching or stinging sensation when the dermal fillers are injected. Some practitioners will use a numbing agent on the skin to make the experience more pleasant.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Side effects are mild and may include some degree of redness, swelling or tenderness at the site of the fillers. A well experienced practitioner will perform the work gently and to minimise any potential discomfort and pain.
Understanding Safety Matters
Generally dermal fillers are considered safe when they are performed by a suitably experienced and qualified practitioner. They are only available on prescription and may only be used by a certified medical practitioner. Different brands may not advertise themselves to consumers, but the merits of the different brands may be discussed directly with your practitioner, once you have been approved as a candidate for treatment.
What Can You Expect From The Dermal Filler Procedure?
Having injectable dermal fillers is a relatively quick procedure that can be done in an office environment. You will discuss your needs and options with your surgeon, who will brief you on what to expect. He or she will also take a full medical history, and you should disclose any medication that you are taking, as this could interfere with the effects of the filler.
Once you are ready for your procedure, the area to be worked on will be sterilised and numbed. Some products are recommended to be used with Lidocaine, which is a numbing agent that combines very well with dermal fillers. Most patients find the side effects manageable and can drive themselves home after the procedure.
If you are having fat injections, you will be having an outpatient procedure that requires anaesthesia or local anaesthesia and sedation. Fat injections are generally better tolerated by the body and last for longer but you can expect to have a longer recovery which may last around two weeks.
Not sure which approach to take or need more information on what is a dermal filler? We would love to discuss your injectable options in person. Please contact our practice for a convenient appointment: (02) 8599 7161