Sometimes known as “liquid facelifts,” dermal fillers restore youthful fullness to your face, plump your lips, enhance shallow contours, and soften facial creases and wrinkles. Unlike surgical procedures, dermal fillers are noninvasive. They work fast, too; most of them fill lines and wrinkles in less than 30 minutes. And the results can last from four months to more than a year.
That said, dermal fillers have their limitations. They can’t help with certain dermatological issues, such as excess sagging skin. But they can add more volume to the face and reduce the appearance of wrinkles — all at a significantly lower cost than more invasive treatments.
5 types of dermal filler
Today’s dermal fillers are either temporary or semi-permanent. Bear in mind that not just any dermal filler is right for any kind of wrinkle. You must choose the right one if you want the least risk and the best results.
1. Hyaluronic acid
A naturally occurring substance found in the body, hyaluronic acid diminishes the appearance of wrinkles when it’s introduced under your skin. It acts to bind and absorb water, creating volume in your face. As you age, the hyaluronic acid naturally in your body diminishes. And with its disappearance come lines and folds. Such dermal fillers as Juvéderm and Restylane correct signs of age by restoring hyaluronic acid. They also improve your skin’s contour and reduce depressions owing to scars, injury, or lines.
A naturally occurring protein in your body, collagen connects and supports skin, cartilage, muscle, and other tissue. As your skin ages and collagen breaks down, wrinkles, frown lines and fine lines start to appear. Although collagen injections will not prevent skin from aging, they can soften the signs. They also fill scars and add volume, enhancing your face’s youthful appearance.
3. Polylactic acid
A synthetic substance that stimulates the production of collagen, nontoxic, biodegradable polylactic acid fills facial lines. It works particularly well in the lower half of the face, filling laugh lines, augmenting thin lips, and raising deep nasolabial folds. But you must be patient with it; unlike other dermal fillers, polylactic acid’s results appear over a few months.
4. Calcium hydroxylapatite
A mineral-like compound in human bones, calcium hydroxylapatite is the heaviest facial dermal filler. It fills such moderate-to-severe creases as nasolabial folds, marionette lines, and frown lines. It also plumps cheeks and other facial contours. Calcium hydroxylapatite–based dermal fillers are semi-permanent and produce very natural looking results.
5. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)
Semi-permanent dermal filler PMMA
Expect the extraordinary
Dermal fillers produce results that often amaze, but the actual procedure is quite simple. Here’s how a treatment goes:
- Before your treatment, you’ll have an evaluation of your facial appearance, skin tone, and the desired treatment sites
- The treatment sites will be cleaned with an antibacterial agent and numbed with a topical anesthetic
- The desired sites are treated (this lasts only a few minutes)
- Any treatment marks are cleansed away, and an ice pack is applied to the treatment sites
You must not press on the treated areas; doing so could displace the newly introduced dermal filler. You may see some minor swelling or
Rare complications include:
- Allergic reactions
- Filler migration
- Temporary paralysis
- Asymmetric results
The right dermal filler for you
Dermal fillers are a wonderful way to rejuvenate your appearance. But they can’t stop the aging process altogether. Dermal fillers are intended to be only temporary cosmetic enhancements, and usually only last between four months to two years after a single treatment. Yet they are an effective and affordable alternative to invasive surgical procedures. In fact, many people find they offer impressive changes and improvements in their appearance, such as a reduction of forehead wrinkles. Dermal fillers are a great choice for people who want to gently halt the aging process until they’re ready to take a step in the direction of a more permanent surgical option.
- "5 Things to Know About Choosing a Dermal Filler," SheKnows, February 5, 2017.
- "Dermal Fillers: Minimally Invasive Procedures,"American Society of Plastic Surgeons, [Date unknown].
- "Facial Fillers for Wrinkles Mayo Clinic, June 11, 2015.
- "What You Should Know About Wrinkle Fillers," WebMD, May 10, 2017.