What are dermal fillers and how do they work?

What are dermal fillers and how do they work?

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Over time changes in our facial structure create the signs we associate with age. Shrinking bones significantly change our appearance. The jaw, eye orbits, and cheek bones are an integral part of facial structure, and as the bone volume decreases, there is less support for the face and neck tissue. Fat is redistributed and lost, contributing to contour deficiencies and accumulation in the lower face. The reduction of collagen thins the skin and reduces its elasticity only serving to exacerbate these issues.

In order to combat this, fillers are used to rebuild structure and smooth wrinkles by filling in the gaps aging produces. A practitioner can use a variety of dermal fillers and injectables at various depths to restore volume and create a more youthful appearance. Fillers stimulate the growth of or replace collagen in the facial structure and can drastically reverse the effects of aging.

Most dermal fillers in the United States are hyaluronic acid-based and are what you will find in Restylane®, Juvéderm™, and Belotero®. Hyaluronic acid is made naturally by your body as one of the building blocks of collagen. Flexible hyaluronic acid gel particles that range in size can easily smooth shallow to deep wrinkles in the face and provide youthful skin without sacrificing facial expression unlike other treatments such as BOTOX®. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are versatile be used to fill cheeks, lips, and other areas where fat or collagen loss occurs. Most HA-based fillers last six to twelve months.

Another dermal filler a practitioner may offer is RADIESSE®, a biocompatible gel and calcium hydroxyapatite-based implant that has been used for more than twenty years. This filler can provide a lasting aesthetic outcome and can not only treat wrinkles, but facial fat loss, acne scars, and can provide cheek, chin, and jaw support. The immediate effect of RADIESSE® lifts and rejuvenates the skin, but RADIESSE® also provides a structure within the skin for natural collagen production to lengthen the duration of the fill (https://radiesse.com/how-it-works/) for up to eighteen months after injection.

Other, non-filler injections can provide the same effects as dermal fillers. Sculptra®, for example, stimulates collagen production in skin cells. The collagen creates a scaffolding within the skin– increasing its elasticity and filling the voids left by age (https://healthcare.utah.edu/aesthetics/facial-injections-fillers/dermal-skin.php). This isn’t an instantaneous procedure and usually requires multiple injections, but the effects can last for more than two years.

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