Dermal Fillers – Frequently Asked Questions
Dermal fillers have truly revolutionized dermatology and medical aesthetics. A single treatment can give instant results and can be quite long lasting. Many of my patients have questions about fillers, and I have compiled this list below of some of the most frequently asked questions.
What are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are biocompatible, injectable substances that create lift, add volume, and restore a more youthful appearance to certain areas of the face that show signs of aging.
What is in the filler?
The most common fillers are made of a soft gel consisting of non-animal hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that naturally occurs in the human body, and it is found in our skin. It helps hydrate and adds volume to the skin. It is naturally broken down by our own bodies. Dermal fillers consisting of hyaluronic acid include Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma, and Belotero.
Other fillers, such as Radiesse, consist of synthetic calcium hydroxylapatite microspheres suspended in an aqueous gel. Calcium hydroxylapatite is a natural mineral component found in bone. These microspheres stimulate your own collagen. Over time, the body degrades the calcium hydroxylapatite and gel, leaving behind your natural collagen.
Sculptra is made of a synthetic of lactic acid, called poly-l-lactic acid or PLLA. Lactic acid is also naturally occurring in our muscles after exercise. PLLA contains no animal products, and it is naturally degraded by our body’s own enzymes. It stimulates growth of the body’s natural collagen, and the results can be long lasting.
What are the benefits of fillers?
As we age, we lose volume in key areas of the face. This contributes to folds, wrinkles, hollow temples, thinning lips, sunken eyes, and an older appearance to the face. Fillers can be used to restore this volume loss, smooth out folds and wrinkles, and improve contours to achieve natural results without altering facial expression. Certain fillers can also be used to correct scars.
How long do the results last?
The effects are long lasting but not permanent. They last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on a number of factors including the patient’s age, area treated, type of filler used, quantity of filler used, and lifestyle.
Does it hurt?
Most patients experience only mild discomfort. A local anesthetic cream can be applied to the skin prior to the treatment for a more comfortable experience. Many of our fillers are also formulated with lidocaine to help minimize discomfort.
Is there any downtime?
No! You can go right back to your normal routine. However, I always advise my patients that they may have some bruising or swelling, so it is best not to schedule a filler appointment right before any important event.
What are the risks and side effects?
In general, dermal fillers are considered very safe. The most common reactions are redness, swelling, bruising, itching, and tenderness. These are typically mild and resolve spontaneously in 1-7 days for most patients. Other side effects are very rare.
Will I look natural?
When fillers are used in the appropriate amount and placed in the right location, the result is a beautiful, natural, youthful outcome. Fillers are not meant to create totally different features. In the hands of an experienced provider that has extensive knowledge of facial anatomy, the outcome simply enhances one’s own facial features.
Which filler do I need?
The choice of filler depends on the individual patient, their treatment goals, and personal facial anatomy. I recommend booking a consultation to discuss these things with your provider.