Understanding Dermal Fillers: Types and Benefits

Dermal fillers are injectables used in minimally invasive procedures to rejuvenate and correct the contour. Injected into lips, cheeks, jawline, etc., they add volume and fill in wrinkles. Fillers are one of the most demanding treatment types as they offer non-surgical and relatively affordable solutions.

What are dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers are soft substances used in non-surgical (minimally invasive) procedures to restore the skin's lost volume. Areas affected by aging or certain conditions are the main target of the injections. They can smooth out fine lines and restore plumpness. In other words, they reverse the aging signs appearing on the face and hands.

Depending on the targeted area, the injections treat under-eye circles, add volume to the lips, lift cheeks, correct asymmetry, and smooth wrinkles around the mouth and on the hands. 

How do dermal fillers work?

Dermal fillers show immediate effect after the injection of the substance under the skin (into the mid-layer of the skin).The volume they add fills fine lines, wrinkles, and areas that have suffered volume loss. Depending on the type, fillers have different mechanisms of action. Primarily, they target the two main causes of aging signs: the decrease in skin moisture and collagen production. For instance, hyaluronic acid-based fillers add volume by drawing water to the treated area and maintaining the skin's moisture. In contrast, fillers such as poly-L-lactic acid stimulate collagen production and increase elasticity.
Dermal fillers can be applied to various parts of the face and, in some cases, to body parts. Common areas include:

  • Lips: Performing lip augmentation and treating perioral lines.
  • Cheeks: Restoring lost volume and creating symmetry.
  • Nasolabial folds: Reducing the severity of the lines that run from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth.
  • Marionette lines: Treating lines that run downward from the corners of the mouth.
  • Jawline and chin: Reshaping and creating defined contoure.
  • Under the eyes (tear troughs): Reducing hollowness and dark circles.
  • Back of the hands: Restoring lost volume and reducing the appearance of veins and tendons.

What are the benefits of dermal fillers?

The demand for dermal fillers is continuously rising, and the customer satisfaction rate is relatively high because of their advantages. To mention some: 

  • The procedures are minimally invasive with minimal downtime. 
  • Injectables are affordable compared to surgical procedures.
  • The results are visible immediately.
  • Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are dissolvable, and the effect they leave is reversible by some means.
  • When applied by certified specialists, high-quality fillers produce natural results while improving the face contour. 

What are the risks or complications of dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers are generally considered safe but can trigger side effects just like any other treatment or procedure. Nonetheless, serious complications are rare cases when it comes to these injectables. 
Some of the potential risks and side effects are: 

  • Asymmetry
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding, bruising, redness, and pain
  • Lumps 
  • Skin damage and scars
  • Infection, followed by necrosis (death of the infected skin) in severe cases
  • Numbness
  • Inflamed acne-like spots
  • Rash

Besides depending on the individual's health status, the safety of a procedure lies in the product quality and the aesthetic practitioner. Avoid the products sold in the black market and any suspicious items that might be fake or of bad quality. Similarly, a board-certified professional can minimize the risk of complications.  

What are the different types of dermal fillers?

The duration of the effects varies depending on the type of filler used. The synthetic off-the-shelf fillers are the following: 

  • Hyaluronic acid (HA): a naturally occurring substance, HA is the most common filler used in the procedures. It smoothes fine lines and wrinkles by retaining moisture in the applied area. The effect that HA leaves lasts six to twelve months. 
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA): used for deep lines and wrinkles, CaHA consists of minerals naturally found in bones and teeth. It corrects the face contour when applied to the jawline and cheeks. The results from CaHA last up to one year. 
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA): addressing severe aging signs, it boosts collagen production and treats deep wrinkles around the nose and smile lines. It's an absorbable substance considered semi-permanent treatment. 
  • Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA): A composition of PMMA microspheres and collagen gel, PMMA fillers are semi-permanent treatments for medium-to-deep facial lines, especially nasolabial folds. The collagen gel dissolves over months, prompting natural collagen production to give the skin the desired volume.

Here are some of the most famous dermal filler brands that include the ingredients above in their formula:

Who is a good candidate for dermal fillers?

Before undergoing any procedure, a consultation with a healthcare professional is mandatory. An individual's medical history plays a key role in the effectiveness of dermal fillers and the complications they may cause. Nevertheless, an ideal candid should be:

  • In a good health
  • Non-smoker
  • With realistic expectations
  • With NO autoimmune or allergic disorders

The procedure of dermal filler treatment

Consultation and Planning

Before starting the treatment, thorough research on the types of treatment and their effect helps form realistic expectations. Patients deciding to undergo a procedure must discuss their goals with their practitioner and provide a complete medical history. The consultation allows the professional to understand the patient's needs and prescribe the right treatment considering the health status, potential risks, and complications. 

The injection process

After the consultation, patients undergo an examination to spot the areas that need treatment and have them marked. The procedure might also require a picture of the individual's face for a more precise evaluation.
The healthcare provider applies a local anesthetic to the targeted area to make the procedure more comfortable. During the injections, the patient might feel a sting or a mild sensation of pain, but the procedure is not painful in general. 

Post-treatment care and follow-up

After the treatment, minor swelling and bruising are common, but these side effects usually disappear within a few days. Results are visible immediately yet vary depending on the individual and treatment type. Typically, strenuous activities are not advisable 48 hours following the treatment as they might worsen the swelling. Cool compresses or ice packs can also be helpful in reducing swelling. 

Since the experience can be unique for each patient, following the health provider's aftercare advice is essential for speedy recovery.

Conclusion 

Dermal fillers offer an effective solution for those looking for a way to rejuvenate their appearance without undergoing invasive surgical procedures. They are quick and easy beauty boosts that smooth out wrinkles and bring back volume to the face with little downtime. These injectables reshape facial contours by addressing issues like aging signs and volume loss. While the benefits of dermal fillers are considerable, individuals must approach these treatments cautiously with realistic expectations. Choosing board-certified professionals, as well as quality products, is the rule number one to reduce potential risks and have the best possible outcomes.

FAQs about dermal fillers

Generally, the procedure is not considered painful when it’s performed under local anesthesia. However, mild sensations such as stinging and minor pain are common during the injections. 

The results are visible right after the procedure ends, making dermal fillers known as a treatment that shows results immediately. 

They smooth out fine lines and wrinkles and add volume to areas that have become hollow as part of an aging process or under different circumstances. Fillers can also treat dark circles appearing under the eyes and rejuvenate the back of the hands. 

Dermal fillers can be compounds of substances, either naturally occurring or synthetic. Hyaluronic acid, Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA), Poly-lactic acid (PLLA), and Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) are the main substances found in these injectables.