Dermal fillers are increasing in popularity as a way to plump cheeks and lips, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and even out folds in the skin. There are many dermal fillers recommended by dermatologists, so how do you choose which one is best for you? Discover the different categories of dermal fillers, the areas certain fillers benefit, and the results you can expect.
Dermal fillers are injectable substances that bring greater fullness to certain facial features (like the cheeks and lips), fill in the hollows beneath your eyes (or “tear troughs”), ease wrinkles (like frown lines between your eyebrows), fill in creases on your face (like the nasolabial folds that run from your nose to the corners of your mouth) and revitalize the backs of your hands. Most dermal fillers are absorbed by your body after a certain amount of time. Some are naturally occurring substances that your body produces, while others are made of synthetic materials. Deciding which dermal filler to use is a matter of choosing a filler that works in the area of your face that you are wanting to treat (popular uses are for dermal filler lips, dermal filler cheeks and dermal filler eyes), choosing a natural versus a synthetic substance, knowing how long you want results to last and being comfortable with the pricing of the filler.
Hyaluronic acid fillers use a naturally occurring substance in your body. Your body produces hyaluronic acid, which binds to water, to keep your skin hydrated and moist. HA also promotes wound healing in your body and helps to lubricate your joints. Dermal fillers with hyaluronic acid are usually in the form of a gel, often including lidocaine to help minimize discomfort during and after the injections. Juvederm and Restylane are two commonly used HA fillers. Both are intended to reduce wrinkles and add volume to various parts of the face. Each filler has different products intended to target particular parts of the body, including the hands for a product of Restylane. Both of these HA Fillers require a short outpatient procedure that only lasts minutes and provides quick results. Juvederm dermal filler results last a bit longer than Restylane, and so comes at a bit of a higher price. Juvederm results last 1-2 years, costing around $600 per treatment. Restylane dermal filler treatments last 6-18 months with a cost of $300-$600. Belotero is a third type of HA filler, and is used to treat sensitive areas, such as around the eyes. Results from Belotero last around 6 months.
Like hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite is produced by your body and is primarily located in your bones. CaHA promotes the production of collagen in your body, the primary structural protein found in your skin and connective tissues. In the filler CaHA, the calcium particles are dispersed in a gel that is usually thicker than an HA filler gel. As it is thicker, the results are usually longer lasting than an HA filler. CaHA fillers are also a bit more expensive, with a cost of around $650-$800 per treatment. Radiesse is a type of CaHA filler. It treats the same areas on the face and hands as HA fillers, but is often used to treat deeper wrinkles and folds. Radiesse shows immediate results (within a week of treatment), similar to HA fillers.
Poly-L-lactic acid is a synthetic substance, but is biocompatible (safe to use in the body) and biodegradable. It’s been used for a variety of medical devices, including dissolvable stitches. Your body absorbs Poly-L-lactic acid more quickly than other fillers-- within a few days of being injected. Similar to CaHA, Poly-L-lactic acid works to stimulate your body’s production of collagen. Sculptra Aesthetic is an FDA approved Poly-L-lactic acid filler. It’s used to restore volume to areas of your face affected by aging or illness (such as loss of facial fat in people living with HIV), also being particularly helpful in smoothing out deep facial folds and wrinkles. However, it is not recommended for your lips or eyes. Typically, you will need to get a few treatments over the period of a few months, with results lasting longer than HA fillers-- as long as 2-3 years. The longer-lasting effects do come with a heftier price tag, with treatments costing around $1,000.
Like Poly-L-lactic acid, Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is a synthetic, biocompatible substance. It contains collagen and microspheres (small beads), which remain under the skin for an unlimited amount of time. Bellafill (formerly called Artefill) is a type of PMMA filler and is used to treat folds on the face, like smile lines and moderate to severe scarring from acne. Bellafill lasts longer than any other dermal filler-- up to 5 years. Usually, 1 syringe of Bellafill is $800-$1,000 with treatments needing a varying amount of injections.
Facial fat grafting (or facial fat transfer) is the only dermal filler that involves surgery. Fat is taken from another part of your body, usually through liposuction. It is then refined and injected into parts of your face as droplets. Fat grafting can add volume to various parts of your face and reduce the appearance of scarring from acne. A facial fat transfer requires more healing time than other dermal fillers-- about 10 days. It is also more costly, being $3,000-$5,000 per treatment. The length of time you can enjoy results is hard to predict, as your body may re-absorb some of the fat and your body’s aging process may minimize some of the procedure’s results. However, much of the fat should remain in the injected areas.
Regardless of which dermal filler you choose, it is very important that you use a board-certified and experienced dermatologist. Vanguard Dermatology has multiple practitioners that are qualified to counsel you and perform a dermal filler treatment. Call Vanguard in the greater New York City area today to schedule your appointment.