Juvéderm. Radiesse. Sculptra. Voluma. Belotero. They're all yours.
Injectable fillers deliver gratifying—and immediate—results beyond what any skincare cream or serum can do, lending a more youthful, ‘plump’ appearance to everything from hollow cheeks to stringy hands. They can also be used to diminish acne scars, reshape the nose in lieu of rhinoplasty or cushion the balls of the feet. If you’re prone to wearing high heels and tired of the pain, this is what’s known as a ‘loub job’ and fashion-loving women swear by it.
In some instances, fillers can be almost as satisfying a facelift without the cost, pain or downtime. Not to be confused with Botox (which relaxes the muscle under a wrinkle), injectable fillers such as Juvéderm and Radiesse add volume to your face using hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in the body.
Before you can understand fillers, you have to understand the breakdown of collagen and elastin that’s inevitable as we age. Both of these serve to plump up the skin from within for a supple appearance. When we lose volume, the aesthetic solution is to replace it with injections.
Harnessing the power of natural protein, collagen fillers have been around for over twenty years and are highly effective for treating hollowed, aging areas of the face. These have an established safety record since they were one of the first kinds of dermal fillers available and are perhaps most widely known for augmenting lips. Collagen can also be taken from your own skin and harvested for re-injection. New ways of processing it have lowered the previous risks and new forms of synthetic collagens are now reaching a wider range of people.
Hyaluronic acid gel injections involve the use of a viscous fluid derived from a hyaluronic acid compound that’s frequently used to plump the lips, especially when there’s a collagen allergy. Hyaluronic acid fillers are reabsorbed by the body in a year’s time and don’t typically cause reactions because they boast the same chemical and molecular structure as hyaluronan, an enzyme that’s already present in your body to keep skin supple. Repeated injections can help to stimulate your body's own natural production of collagen.
Fat transfer, aka microlipoinjection or autologous fat transplantation, plumps the skin using your own fat to fill in deep wrinkles and acne scars or plump your lips. Fat can be liposuctioned from your stomach, back or thighs and moved to the areas that need to be treated. Results can be semi-permanent and re-injected fat lasts longer in areas of non-movement like hollow cheeks. In other more recent news, platelet-rich plasma injections (aka the vampire lift) have become another type of volumizer. Blood is drawn from the arm, processed and treated, and then injected into the face with results lasting up to 18 months.
Injectable fillers are ideal for treating cosmetic issues such as:
• Hollowed cheeks and under eyes
• Acne scars
• Bony hands
• Thin lips
• Any asymmetry of the face that can be corrected by adding volume
What To Expect
Injectable fillers are quick and simple. One of the substances listed above is injected directly beneath the skin using a fine needle (be prepared: this can often result in temporary bruising and swelling so you don’t want to schedule your appointment right before a big event). Unlike injectable toxins, injectable fillers will not compromise your ability to contract your facial muscles.
Depending on what kind of filler you choose, there may be a few instructions you need to follow prior to the procedure. A topical anesthetic or a numbing agent may be used prior to treatment, but many people can get by on ice alone.
Most dermal fillers already contain local anesthetic to make the experience as comfortable as possible, so don’t worry about pain. The treatment area will be marked as target and the injections will be made with ice packs applied immediately after.
You may be numb for one to three hours following injection. Some minimal bruising, swelling and redness may occur but will usually clear up within one to two days. Normal activities, including work, can be resumed right away. Depending on your particular injection and treatment area, you may be advised to avoid speaking, smiling or making unnecessary expressions for the first few hours. Tender lips usually require extra precautions.
Things To Consider
• Results are only temporary, lasting six months at the most, so you’re going to need a touch-up to maintain your desired result.
• Swelling or bruising does usually occur and they’ll last a few days. You should carefully consider the risk of allergic reaction and formation of tiny bumps that could become permanent under the skin.
• Filler treatments tend to be cosmetic in nature and usually aren’t covered by insurance. But sometimes coverage is available if you’re filling a scar or indentation resulting from an injury or accident.
Q. Do fillers hurt?
A. Injectable fillers cause mild pain during and after injection.
Q. How long does the treatment take?
A. Less than 30-60 minutes in most cases.
Q. How long will fillers last?
A. The range is usually four months to a year, but it ultimately depends on the type of filler you get.
Q. When can I expect to see results?
A. It can take about two full weeks to see the benefits of treatment, after all the swelling has subsided. With time, you may need fewer maintenance appointments because weaker muscles atrophy and require fewer injections.
Q. Can I wear makeup after injections?
A. Yes, you can wear makeup the next morning to help with any bruising. Ice packs are also recommended to help return bruised skin to normal