Dermal Fillers 101: Cosmetic Dermatologist Explains

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In cosmetic dermatology, dermal fillers can help smooth away fine lines and wrinkles, improve the appearance of sunken scars, and restore lost volume in the face. But with so many fillers to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. If you’re having trouble picking a filler, this rundown of the most common options and which areas of the face they work best for may come in handy:

Hyaluronic Acid Fillers

As their names imply, hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm™ or Restalyne™ are made from hyaluronic acid, which is a substance found naturally in the body. In cosmetic dermatology, they’re often used to improve the appearance of nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and tear troughs. They can also be used to plump the lips. Results can last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. The exact filler used depends upon the site being treated.

Fillers such as Belotero and Restalyne SIlk are thin enough to be used for fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Medium thickness hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restalyne and Juvederm are suitable for nasolabial folds, lips and tear troughs. Thicker fillers such as Juvederm Voluma are excellent for volumizing the cheeks.

Synthetic Wrinkle Fillers

Synthetic wrinkle fillers such as Radiesse™ and Sculptra™ use substances made in a laboratory and not found naturally in the body to smooth wrinkles and add volume to the face. They tend to provide the longest-lasting results and are sometimes considered semi-permanent. However, because they’re not natural, they tend to have the most side effects of all the fillers used in cosmetic dermatology. Synthetic fillers work best for improving deep smile lines, adding volume to the cheeks and hollow temples, and helping to lift a sagging jawline.

Collagen Wrinkle Fillers

Collagen is probably the oldest dermal filler used in cosmetic dermatology. You can opt for bovine collagen injections, which tend to be less expensive but require allergy testing. There’s also human collagen injections, which are more costly but cause fewer allergic reactions. Collagen injections such as Cosmoderm™ or Zyderm™ are often used as a touch-up measure following procedures. They’re typically used on the forehead and around the mouth, as well as in the lips to plump them up. You typically need to repeat collagen injections every three months. Because of this short duration, most people prefer hyaluronic fillers.

Autologous Fillers

In cosmetic dermatology, autologous fillers use material drawn from your own body to add volume and fullness back to your face. In some cases, fat is extracted from your thighs, stomach, or buttocks and used for the injections. It’s usually used to add fullness to the face and restore volume to shallow contours. Results may be semi-permanent but usually require more than one injection.

In other cases, blood is drawn from the arm and injected into the face. This is known as platelet-rich plasma injection, and it can help smooth wrinkles and add volume. Results can last anywhere from a year to a year and a half.

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