Dermal fillers have emerged as an important landmark in anti-ageing treatments of the 21st century. Treatments are simple and effective and can knock off a few years of a person’s appearance in just a short while. Cosmetic surgery and treatments as a whole have advanced tremendously in recent years, with treatments such as Botox® and dermal fillers occupying the tops spots as anti-ageing treatments of choice.
But why is it that dermal fillers are so popular? What are the available treatments? And do dermal filler really ‘turn back the clock’? Here we take a closer look at these aspects.
What are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are a treatment that is used to smooth out lines and wrinkles on the face and is utilized for conditions such as forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, frown furrows and many more. Newer uses include their application as lip fullness enhancers and smoothening the contour of the nose bridge.
Dermal fillers are composed of hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring component in skin and cartilaginous tissues in the body. Newer dermal fillers contain Calcium hydroxylapatite which is often used for nose jobs and not for lips.
Why are they so popular?
Dermal fillers have a number of benefits making them sought after cosmetic treatment. Benefits include –
- Natural results following treatment of frown lines and wrinkles
- Treatments can be tailor-made to individual patients
- The procedure only takes a short while to perform and is relatively non-invasive
- Shaves off years of one’s external appearance, making them look younger in a matter of minutes!
Dermal fillers have advanced tremendously these days. The common used ones are Restylane and Perlane and patients have been shown to tolerate treatments well without experiencing any side effects or untoward allergic reactions. To be on the safe side though, many centers carry out allergy skin tests to ensure that the patients do not develop any allergic reactions to the components in the dermal filler injections.
The available treatments
Dermal filler treatments are available for the following –
- Frown lines
- Crow’s feet (around the eyes)
- Lip enhancement
- Nose bridge correction
- Nose to mouth furrows (nasolabial lines)
- Skin pitting from acne
- Sunken eyes
All the above conditions that are treated are changes that are seen with ageing. In some individuals, these changes start to occur at a younger age, while in most it occurs naturally with ageing. By correcting these, dermal fillers can help the skin look smoother, healthier and a lot younger. It ‘turns back the clock’ on skin ageing, so to speak.
Available Dermal Fillers (in the US)
In recent years, the cosmetic world has advanced to a great extent; with new treatments that are now available that bring out youthful skin and young looks with just a few minutes of treatment. While these treatments have been popularized by the never-ending coverage in tabloid newspapers regarding the next best celebrities’ looks, it’s actual meaning extends well beyond what is just on the surface. Too many, cosmetic treatments are about increasing their confidence and to some, it is about getting rid of unsightly scars and lines.
Dermal fillers have received a great amount of attention as well. With a range of uses from lip enhancement to scar reduction, it is popular and often sought after treatment. Different types of dermal fillers are now available on the market, and as a patient (or a future patient), it is worthwhile having an idea of what is available.
An article in the reputed journal Nature listed out the currently approved dermal fillers in the United States. It may be surprising to know that until fairly recently, only one dermal filler – collagen – was approved for use by the FDA. Let’s take a closer look at some of the new ones that are currently being used. The IAPAM educates physicians on all the FDA approved dermal fillers.
1. Collagen (Zyderm, Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast)
This has been around for years and is popular as it is, in fact, a natural component of skin. Initially, collagen derived from bovine (cow) sources (Zyderm) was being used, though this has now been abandoned by some. These days, human bioengineered collagen dermal fillers are now manufactured, which bears the advantage of not requiring allergy testing before use (as allergic reactions are so rare). Popular brands include Cosmoderm I and II and Cosmoplast.
2. Hyaluronic acid (Juvederm, Voluma, Restylane, Perlane, Belotero Balance)
Hyaluronic acid is a popular dermal filler that is used due to certain specific properties. It is a natural component of skin and binds to water when injected, thus plumping up the skin. It can also help keep skin well hydrated and stimulates skin cell growth. Products like Belotero balance is particularly useful in smoothing out nasolabial folds and vertical lip lines effectively.
3. Poly – L – Lactic Acid (Sculptra)
Also called Sculptra (on the market), this FDA approved filler differs slightly from others in that it stimulates the formation of new collagen under the skin by cells called fibroblasts, rather than actually participating as a filler in itself.
4. Polymethylmethacrylate (Artefill)
This FDA approved specialized dermal filler consists of tiny spheres combined with water in the form of a gel. In addition, it contains a local anesthetic agent called lignocaine, making the injection of this filler a lot less painful when compared to others. Patients may develop allergic reactions as this compound is derived from bovine sources, so prior allergy testing may be needed.
5. Hydroxyl-apatite calcium microspheres (Radiesse)
As is in the name, this dermal filler contains micro-spheres of calcium hydroxyl-apatite which is suspended in a water-based gel. Just like Sculptra, this also stimulates the formation of new collagen, and hence is not a ‘true filler’. Injections can be painful and often need a local anesthetic injection prior to the procedure.
6. Autologous stem cell therapy (Azficel-T, laViv)
While this phrase might sound rather complicated, this procedure basically involves injecting one’s own cells which have been grown into areas that need filling. The technology is advanced, patented and FDA approved. Cells are obtained from behind the patient’s ear, sent to a lab and grown for 90 days before being injected back into the patient where required. Specialist training is required to perform this procedure.
Dermal filler treatments have advanced tremendously in recent years. FDA approval only adds to the already available knowledge regarding its safety and efficacy. Dermal fillers have emerged as a ‘go-to’ treatment when it comes to fulfilling the desire to have younger-looking skin. It can treat a variety of age-related skin changes easily (though temporarily), shaving off years and giving people the look they desire. At the IAPAM, we aim to offer both physicians the required training and prospective patients the required advice regarding dermal fillers
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