Dermal fillers have grown in popularity over the last few years due to their ability as both volume enhancers and wrinkle fillers. They’re usually used on the lips, cheeks and under the eyes, often with amazing, age-defying results. If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a dermal filler treatment, we’ve put together a complete guide to help you decide if fillers are the right choice for you.
What are Dermal Fillers?
At around the age of 25, the body stops producing collagen and elastin. These two proteins work together to keep tissue firm and skin elastic. Without them, the body isn’t able to keep tissue strong and skin supple. It’s this that causes the typical signs of aging to start appearing, including lines and wrinkles, sunken cheeks and a loss of elasticity in the skin.
Dermal fillers are injectable gels that are usually made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule that attracts and binds water in the skin. A treatment will fill in wrinkles and provide volume to the soft tissues, helping to give your skin a more full and youthful appearance well after your body stops producing collagen.
How do they work?
Generally, injecting dermal fillers into the skin causes plumping of that area which helps smooth wrinkles, enhance definition and volumise the face. However, different types of filler can be used for different results and in different areas.
When it comes to treating facial volume loss (like sagging cheeks), a professional will typically use a thicker dermal filler that can provide effective support for the cheeks. Plumping or removing lines from lips, on the other hand, requires a much thinner dermal filler as the skin around that area is thinner.
While dermal fillers are often used alongside treatments like Botox, they actually work quite differently. Botox prevents movement of the small muscles that contribute to wrinkles. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, create additional plumping beneath the wrinkle, smoothing it out and restoring its youthful appearance. The combination of using Botox alongside Dermal fillers can result in amazing looking results which is why they are frequently used together.
Where are they usually used?
Dermal fillers can be used to achieve a variety of results in different areas of the face. They are usually used in three main areas to achieve the following:
Around the Eyes:
Reduce under eye bags and dark circles
Soften fine lines and crow’s feet
Mid Face Area:
Smooth accordion lines (the fine lines that creep up the sides of the face towards the cheekbones) and folds
Add volume to the cheek area affected by gravity and age
Lower Face Area:
Smooth a “gummy smile” above the lips
Reduce the appearance of vertical lines above the lip
Add volume to the nasolabial folds around the mouth
Correct marionette lines (the downturned corners of the mouth)
Stop the jawline from sagging
Plump and reduce chin creases
How long do they last?
Depending on the type of hyaluronic acid used, Dermal fillers can last anywhere between 6 to 18 months. This may also vary from person to person depending on how well it’s suited to the purpose and individual. There are many different brands of hyaluronic acid on the market, some of which you might recognise, including Juvederm®, Belotero® and Restylane®. It can be difficult to know which dermal filler is right for you so be sure to ask your practitioner for advice on the right choice for you.
Things to know before your treatment
Dermal fillers are incredibly safe, and allergic reactions are extremely rare, so long as your treatment is carried out by a specially trained healthcare professional. Before getting dermal filler treatment there are a few simple steps you can carry out to ensure your treatment is as successful as possible.
Try and avoid any product containing aspirin, vitamin E, St John’s Wort and any dietary supplements that include ginko, garlic, primrose oil and ginseng for 2 weeks prior to your treatment.
Avoid ibuprofen, Aleve, fish oil, alcohol and any product that can thin your blood for 2 days prior to your treatment.
Remove all makeup and wash your face before the treatment to avoid skin irritation.
Are there any side effects of dermal fillers?
After having dermal filler treatment, you may notice some common side effects in and around the treated area. These can include:
Pain and discomfort
Using a trained and experienced practitioner can help to minimise these side effects. Taking the right kind of supplements may also help but you should check with your practitioner before taking anything. Here are a list of suggested do’s and don’ts to help minimise any negative after effects of your treatment.
Using a calming agent like chamomile or taking Bromelain and Turmeric together can help to reduce the skin redness, swelling, tenderness, and/or itchiness that are common after dermal filler treatment. If your symptoms last longer than 3 days be sure to speak to your practitioner.
Bruising is also fairly common, although this should go away within a few days. To help speed up the process you can use Arnica to help reduce bruising and swelling.
Do not massage the treated areas as this can cause the filler to move, resulting in an uneven look and feel.
Avoid applying heat to the treated area until any bruising or swelling has gone away. You should also try and avoid any activities that might cause you to blush or get red faced. Exercising, consuming alcohol, going in the sauna or using a sun bed should all be avoided. No skiing or mountain climbing in very cold temperatures either.
Regular washing and showering is fine as long as you’re using gentle cleansers and moisturisers. Makeup and sunscreen should also be fine to use as long as they are applied gently.
Are dermal fillers right for you?
The most important thing to do before going ahead with a dermal filler treatment is to do your research. Firstly, think about what you want to achieve from the treatment. This will help you and your practitioner to narrow down the type of filler you’ll want to use and ensure your treatment resolves your primary concerns.
Secondly, set a strict budget for your treatment. Many treatments are only fully effective with multiple treatments or a combination of dermal fillers and botox. It’s important to be aware of this so that you aren’t left disappointed by a half effective course of treatment. You should also be wary of practitioners offering a cheap service. These treatments, when carried out by an experienced, qualified practitioner, should not be cheap. If someone is offering you a treatment for a lot less than other practitioners it may reflect the quality of the practitioner, product or clinic. With Dermal fillers, you get what you pay for. So if you’re looking for a high quality treatment with minimal side effects, you’ll need to pay for it.
Finally, once you think you’ve found the treatment and practitioner to suit you, make sure you meet them, ask questions and feel comfortable having them treat you. There should be no pressure put on you to get a treatment done right away or use any products that you haven’t specifically requested. Dermal fillers are safe and effective as long as you select a provider who will make every effort to minimise risk, work with you to address your concerns and follow up to ensure that you are well and satisfied, so make sure you know who you’re dealing with.
If you are interested in having a filler treatment but don’t know where to start, HealthxChange have a fantastic clinic finder. Just put in where you are and how far you’re willing to travel and it will show you your nearest clinics. From there you can speak to the clinic directly and begin the process of getting volumous, wrinkle-free and younger looking skin.