Dr Nishel Patel Sept 2020
Are fillers a good idea for you?!
From injectable hyaluronic acid to Restylayne, fillers have taken off in the brave new world of social media. No longer reserved for under eyes and wrinkles, collagen fillers have well and truly evolved past their anti-ageing properties – but they’re still your best bet in turning back the clock, and in some cases, even stop the second hand in its tracks.
As we age, we start to lose volume in certain areas of the face which can make us look tired and sunken. This is caused by the body’s decreased ability to produce collagen and elastin. Are you looking for a treatment that can instantly plump skin and reduce wrinkles? If so, read this section to find out more about who can use dermal fillers, when to use them and how you can book a consultation. Dermal fillers have skyrocketed in popularity, but they are unregulated in the UK, so seek out an experienced medical practitioner.
Firstly I want to explain the difference between fillers and Botox. The line between Botox vs fillers can sometimes seem a bit blurred, so if you’re just starting to look into injectables, it might feel confusing working out which is best for you.
Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a relatively painless treatment used to temporarily relax the facial muscles, thereby reducing lines and wrinkles. It’s usually injected into frowns, laughter and forehead lines, with few side effects – though, in rare instances, it can affect a muscle it wasn’t intended to, causing heaviness and drooping.
Unlike wrinkles which require muscle relaxants to soften them, facial volume and folds require a dermal filler to help re-volumise and hydrate the area. Fillers are designed to add volume, lift and symmetry to your face, giving you a refreshed and natural appearance. Most popularly used to plump lips and enhance the cheek bones, dermal fillers are a versatile treatment that can also be used to correct fine lines, smooth deep creases, restore volume and even reshape the chin and jawline. One of the most popular advantages to dermal fillers is that the results are instant – in just 30 minutes, you will be on your way to looking like the best possible version of you. While relatively painless and speedy, if complications arise, they can be much more serious than those from Botox – in exceptional cases, infection and blood-flow complications can occur. While the effects of Botox can take two weeks to show, fillers produce immediate results.
How to choose before you use?
Dermal Fillers contain hyaluronic acid which is a natural substance found in the body. The most popular dermal filler is made from hyaluronic acid, which acts like sponge, holding vast amounts of water and plumping the skin. As you age, your body’s natural hyaluronic acid levels deplete – along with elastin and collagen – resulting in fine lines wrinkles and sagging. Most practitioners favour hyaluronic-acid based fillers for natural results, avoiding the dreaded frozen face. They can also be dissolved by an enzyme called hyaluronidase should any problems, such as infection, occur. Hyaluronic acid fillers tend to last for about four to six months.
Very light hyaluronic acid fillers use the thinnest, most spreadable gel and provide a hydrating boost to the skin’s texture. I use the analogy of a raisin and a grape to explain their benefit. Imagine your skin is a raisin; a number of small microdroplet injections help to replace its water content, so it becomes plum like a grape again. It’s great for crepey lines and skin that needs a lift, as well as crow’s feet treatments, because it’s easy to get it into these areas and provide smooth results. In the long run, these fillers can stimulate your skin’s own collagen production too. Try products like Juvéderm Volite or Profhilo.
Thicker hyaluronic acid fillers can be used to replace lost volume, contour or shape in the face. They use a stronger gel, which is ideal for deep injections. The ageing process affects the face in different ways; everything from the bones, muscles, fat and skin are affected. So these fillers can help with bone resorption (when facial bones deteriorate, resorption (when facial bones deteriorate, their ability to support the overlying tissue is reduced), muscle ptosis (weakness), fat loss and skin sagging, helping to improve mid-face in the cheeks. They can be used to anchor the chin and jawline and lift and replace volume in the upper face. Juvéderm Volite or Voluma offer contouring and lift. Often, treating issues higher up corrects a wrinkle or a line further down, so your practitioner should view your face as a whole.
Other types of fillers are made from a calcium hydroxyapatite and polylactic acid. These are available from brands such as Radiesse or Sculptra and can last upto 18 months, so I don’t recommend them for anyone using a filler for the first time.
Remember, an experience practitioner can manage any bad reactions, so do your research and you’ll avoid any ‘what have you done?’ gasps. Used well, fillers can beautify the face and restore what you probably hadn’t even realised was lost.