Believe it or not, dermal fillers first came into use after production of the first syringe, back in the 1800s. Of course, facial augmentation has undergone significant changes over time – and for good reason – as the first injectable fillers were actually made out of paraffin, which caused a range of complications. This was later replaced by silicone, which was also banned by the FDA, and then by collagen. Today’s dermal fillers have been improved tremendously and offer patients a safe and predictable treatment option when performed by a suitably trained and experienced professional. We’ve decided to take a closer look at what is a dermal filler and debunk some of the myths that exist about them.
But First – What Is A Dermal Filler?
Dermal fillers or soft tissue fillers are injectable gels that are injected to add volume and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. We all lose elastin and collagen in our skin as we get older, making lines and wrinkles more noticeable. You can expect this decline to start happening from your mid- to late-20’s and it continues to decline at a rate of about 2% per year.
Dermal fillers are used most commonly to
- Create volume or plump areas of the face that are shallow
- Plump up thin lips
- Build volume in scarred or depressed parts of the face
- Remove wrinkles and shadows under the eyes
- Soften static wrinkles in the face, (especially in the lower part of the face. Static wrinkles are those that appear along your cheeks and around your mouth.
A Good Filler Isn’t Noticeable
Despite what social channels might advertise, good fillers should not produce over plumped lips and obviously enhanced cheeks. The most effective fillers are subtle, and shouldn’t make other people look twice when they see you. The idea is to enhance and not alter your appearance. In fact the people around you shouldn’t be able to tell what you have had done.
A Dermal Filler Isn’t Botulinum Toxin
Botulinum toxin and neurotoxins actually freeze the muscles in your face while a dermal filler will smooth out lines and wrinkles. Botulinum toxin effectively stops your facial muscles from moving so that they can’t create wrinkles.
One of the most popular dermal fillers right now is made from hyaluronic acid, because of its ability to plump and hydrate the skin.
You’ll notice that hyaluronic acid is also a common ingredient in facial creams and serums too but it needs to be injected into the skin in order to replenish volume loss.
Furthermore, depending on where they are injected, hyaluronic acid dermal fillers last for six to 18 months until they are reabsorbed. Hyaluronic acid can also stimulate your natural collagen production, making it a firm favourite for surgeons, aestheticians and patients alike. By contrast, Botulinum toxin may only last for three to four months.
Dermal Fillers Don’t Really Hurt
If you aren’t a fan of needles, you’ll be pleased to know that the process is more uncomfortable than painful. We make use of anaesthetic cream to numb the area and minimise the discomfort as much as possible.
Side effects are quite normal but adverse reactions are not common. The most common side effects include swelling, tenderness and redness at the site of the injection. Adverse reactions occur after injection and may include itching, bruising and pain. They also include being able to feel and see the filler under the skin, or creating an asymmetrical or uneven appearance. In the case of adverse reactions around the eyes, vision problems and blindness can occur if the filler is injected incorrectly.
Different Types Of Dermal Fillers Are Used For Different Purposes
A dermal filler with small particles is best for smoothing out creases, fine lines and wrinkles, while those with larger particle sizes are best for restoring facial volume or plumping up depressions in the skin. If you have more than one skin concern it is quite likely that more than one type of filler will be used to achieve your desired look.
While hyaluronic acid fillers are currently some of the most popular, polylactic acid is commonly used to enhance collagen production, Polyalkylimide is well tolerated by the body and PMMA offers a semi-permanent effect.
Fillers Aren’t For Everyone, All The Time
There are some instances where a dermal filler would not be a good idea. This includes just before a dental treatment (as it involved the stretching of your facial muscles), while you are pregnant and breastfeeding.
It Matters Who Provides Your Filler Treatment
It isn’t worth taking the risk of working with someone inexperienced, and certainly you should not entertain the idea of having fillers in a beauty salon or spa environment. As you may already have seen, bad fillers are a reality and can best be avoided when working with a professional. In the event that you do overdo it with filler, when you are consulting with an experienced plastic surgeon, it is possible to inject an enzyme into the area to dissolve the dermal filler.
Your face contains a complex system of vessels and nerves, and the risk of having your dermal filler done by someone unprofessional, inexperienced or unqualified includes infection, damage and artery occlusion, which can result in scarring.
Do you still have questions about what is a dermal filler and whether it could be a suitable treatment for you? It’s always best to get a professional and experienced opinion. Please contact us for a confidential appointment: (02) 9158 6375