When it comes to reducing wrinkles and creating smoother, younger-looking skin, there’s only so much over-the-counter skincare products can do. That’s why some people turn to dermal fillers.
If you’re considering fillers, but want to know more about how long they’ll last, which one to choose, and any potential risks, this article can help answer those questions.
As you get older, your skin begins to lose elasticity. The muscles and fat on your face start thinning, too. These changes can lead to the appearance of wrinkles and skin that’s not as smooth or full as it used to be.
Dermal fillers, or “wrinkle fillers” as they’re sometimes called, can help address these age-related issues by:
- smoothing out lines
- restoring lost volume
- plumping up the skin
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, dermal fillers consist of gel-like substances, such as hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, and poly-L-lactic acid, that your doctor injects beneath the skin.
Dermal filler injections are considered a minimally invasive procedure that require minimal downtime.
Just like any other skincare procedure, individual results will vary.
“Some dermal fillers can last for 6 to 12 months, while other dermal fillers can last 2 to 5 years,” says Dr. Sapna Palep of Spring Street Dermatology.
The most commonly used dermal fillers contain hyaluronic acid, a natural compound that aids in the production of collagen and elastin.
Consequently, it also gives your skin structure and plumpness, as well as a more hydrated look.
To give you a better idea of what you can expect in terms of results, Palep shares these longevity timelines for some of the most popular brands of dermal fillers, including Juvaderm, Restylane, Radiesse, and Sculptra.
Besides the type of filler product that’s used, several other factors can influence dermal filler longevity, explains Palep. This includes:
- where the filler is used on your face
- how much is injected
- the speed at which your body metabolizes the filler material
Palep explains that during the first few months after being injected, fillers will begin to slowly degrade. But the visible results remain the same because fillers have the ability to absorb water.
However, around the midpoint of the expected duration of the filler, you’ll start to notice decreased volume.
“So, doing a touch-up filler treatment at this point can be extremely beneficial since it can sustain your results much longer,” says Palep.
Finding the right dermal filler is a decision you should make with your doctor. That said, it’s worth your time to do some research and write down any questions you may have before your appointment.
It’s also a good idea to check the approved list of dermal fillers that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides. The agency also lists the unapproved versions sold online.
Palep says the most important decision to make when choosing a filler is whether it’s reversible or not. In other words, how permanent do you want your filler to be?
Once you determine what’s best for you, the next consideration is the location of the injection and the look you’re going for.
Do you want a subtle or more dramatic look? These factors will help you narrow down your choices.
For best results, find a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They can help you decide which filler will best fit your needs.
They can also help you understand the differences between the types of fillers and how each one targets specific areas and issues.
For example, certain fillers are better suited to smooth the skin under the eyes, while others are better for plumping lips or cheeks.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the most common side effects of a dermal filler include:
These side effects usually go away in about 1 to 2 weeks.
To help aid healing and reduce swelling and bruising, Palep recommends using Arnica topically and orally.
More serious side effects may include:
- an allergic reaction
- skin discoloration
- severe swelling
- skin necrosis or wounds if injected into a blood vessel
To reduce your risk of serious side effects, choose a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. These practitioners have years of medical training and know how to avoid or minimize negative effects.
Is there anything you can do to reverse the effects of the filler?
According to Palep, if you have a hyaluronic acid filler and want to reverse the results, your doctor can use hyaluronidase to help dissolve it.
That’s why she recommends this type of filler if you haven’t had a dermal filler before and aren’t sure what to expect.
Unfortunately, with some types of dermal fillers, like Sculptra and Radiesse, Palep says you have to wait until the results wear off.
Dermal fillers are a popular option for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and making your skin look fuller, firmer, and younger.
Results can vary, and the longevity of the filler will depend on:
- the type of product you choose
- how much is injected
- where it’s used
- how quickly your body metabolizes the filler material
Although the downtime and recovery are minimal, there are still risks associated with the procedure. To minimize complications, choose an experienced board-certified dermatologist.
If you’re unsure of which filler is right for you, your doctor can help answer your questions and guide you in selecting the filler that’s best suited to the results you want.