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How Dermal Fillers Work

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Do you wonder how dermal filler work, how long they last and when you should use them instead of (or with) Botox?  Get the information on all of that and more…

In This Article:

  • What Dermal Fillers are Used to Fix
  • How Dermal Fillers Work (and how They are Different from Botox)
  • Synthetic and Natural Dermal Fillers
  • Risks from Dermal Fillers
  • Is there a Best Dermal Filler?
  • When to Get Dermal Fillers

If you are reading this article, chances are that you at least have a basic understanding of what dermal fillers are and what they do. But, you may have questions about how fillers work, how long they last, and when you should use them instead of (or with) Botox. We will answer all of those questions and more so you can make a choice if this cosmetic procedure is right for you!

What Dermal Fillers are Used to Fix

Dermal fillers can be used to fix a diversity of concerns related to facial aging. This includes:

  • Adding volume and flattening out the deep creases that run from the nose to the mouth (called nasolabial folds or laugh lines).
  • Plumping thin lips and flattening out vertical lines around the edges of the lips.
  • Augmenting cheeks to further improve their shape, often restoring healthy fullness.
  • Filling out the hollows (depressions) under the eye area.
  • Making scars from acne or chicken pox more even with the skin.
  • Increasing volume to fill out slenderness in the lower cheek or temple area.  Most often occurs due to fat pads shifting beneath the surface of skin.

How Dermal Fillers Work (and How They’re Different from Botox)

Dermal fillers are a naturally-obtained or synthetic material that is directly injected into skin with the purpose of plumping that area to the point where the wrinkle, indentation, or fold is gone.

Depending on the type of filler, the effects can last from six months to two years; for semi-permanent or permanent fillers, the effects can last up to five years. There are reports of dermal fillers having longer-lasting results.

Do not confuse dermal fillers with Botox. Even though both procedures involve injections, Botox is most often injected around the forehead, wrinkles and around the eyes (crow’s feet) to stop muscle movement that develop in wrinkles. Botox has nothing to do with the plumping smoothing effect dermal fillers have.

Because they Botox and dermal fillers work in different ways, many people elect to get both Botox and dermal fillers. Both can produce a remarkably younger-looking face.

Synthetic and Natural Dermal Fillers

There are two main groups of dermal fillers: synthetic and natural.    24049050 - treatment with botox or hyaluronic collagen ha injection

Naturally-derived fillers (known as hyaluronic acid) have a smaller risk of causing an allergic reaction but reactions can occur. Results are immediate and only last from just three to 18 months (sometimes up to two years). Eventually the filler breaks down, taking the results, for better or worse, with it. When the filler starts to disappear you need to go back and get more filler injected to maintain results. Nearly every person who get fillers will need at least one follow-up injection within a year.

Besides from allergic reactions, filler also have the risk of lumping and migration. This happen infrequently. Also, because the results last a small period of time so do the potential problems.

Synthetic fillers last longer than naturally-derived ones and are considered semi-permanent. There are many who would call them permanent because they really do not dissipate. Wrinkles only start to return only because your face continues to age or you continue to get sun damage due to being relaxed about protecting your skin with sunscreen daily.

As with every filler, synthetic fillers have risks which are pretty greatly the same as for naturally-derived fillers except the difference is synthetic fillers are “permanent” the potential problems can be “permanent” as well and are harder to correct.

Risks from Dermal Fillers

The greatest issue for fillers is longevity, followed by risk of migration and lumping, and finally the skill of the doctor in placing the right amount of filler in exactly the right place.

Despite of the material, there is a learning curve to injection techniques as well as understanding how the range of substances affect skin.

This means you need to find a doctor who has been injecting dermal fillers for some time, and who has a lot of experience. You preferably want a doctor who has more than one type of filler. Most people considering fillers have more than one area of concern fillers can address. Different fillers are available to specifically treat those concerns, such as lines around the mouth.

Is there a Best Dermal Filler?

Even though what you might have read or heard, there really isn’t a best dermal filler. All dermal fillers have risks, even rare ones. Whichever filler substance is considered “best” or “preferred” depends on the doctor’s technique, skill, experience, training, your facial needs, and tolerance.

It’s important to know that over the past 20 years many dermal fillers that were once showcased in fashion magazines or endorsed by doctors have since been discontinued for a variety of reasons. Getting headlines doesn’t always make for pleasing results!

When to Get Dermal Fillers

There is every reason to consider dermal fillers to correct signs of aging that are past what skincare products can do.

It is not that great skincare cannot make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin but age, muscle movement, fat loss, gravity, and sun damage amidst other factors will eventually take their toll. Without doubt, fillers can help enhance the appearance of deep lines and give skin a more graceful, youthful appearance in ways that skincare simply cannot.

If considering dermal fillers, the next step is to consult with a dermatologist to figure out which type of dermal filler is right for you.

Don not forget, as with any cosmetic corrective procedure, you still need to use well-made skincare products and sun protection as part of the anti-aging package. This will keep your skin looking younger and healthier for a very long time!

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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