In my experience very few of my clients totally understand what a dermal filler is and the treatments and results that can be achieved by using them. Those who understand dermal fillers have generally done a lot of research online, some of which is accurate and other information is not. It is scary how much misinformation is out there. As I love education I want to outline what dermal fillers really are and why we use the products and suggest the treatments we do.
So what is dermal filler?
If, when you hear the words dermal filler, you immediately think of overfilled puffy cheeks and pouting lips you might want to think again. In the right hands the right filer will give the subtlest of natural, youthful rejuvenation. Most fillers used today are made from hyaluronic acid (HA), some are not but as the majority are I am going to focus on them here. HA is an ultra moisturizing component already found naturally in your skin. Different fillers have different types of HA with different composition of cohesiveness and viscosity to suit different areas of your skin! Lots of different here! However injected HA does not last for ever. On the plus side it does encourage collagen and elastin fiber generation, which remain when the dermal filler has been reabsorbed but the body over time.
HA filler treatments are minimally invasive and designed to lead to the most natural results. An HA filler is spongy and moves with your facial expression. This allows very mobile areas to be treated, lips, smile, nasolabial folds.
Another advantage of HA filler is the ability to remove it (should that be necessary) using hyaluronidase enzyme injections. Dermal filler removal may be needed if the client wishes or if there were any very rare side effects.
How do we, as doctors, know the right way use dermal filler?
Firstly it is fundamentally important to understand the aging process, as well as the products and how they suit different locations, depths and client specific requirements. As you age not only do you lost collagen and elastin as well as HA but your bone structure changes too. Causeing skin to wrinkle, fold and sag as the structure holding it up is no longer the same. This means that your cosmetic treatment should be a bespoke treatment designed for you as we all age in a different way.
HA dermal fillers restore smoothness of facial contours and give your skin back it’s ‘bounce’. Used to reform fat pads lost in the aging process as well as restructuring and lifting areas of the face which have become loose or started to sag. In addition your skin can also increase in laxity and decrease in quality. This is due to the multiple factors affecting aging, including gender, hormone change, sun, diet, smoking, environmental pollution and moisturizer overuse (to name a few!). A more superficial treatment is needed to tighten skin laxity, using injectable products this can be achieved through more cohesive HA products which spread thinly and disperse through the skin plane. In addition other options to help tighten the skin include biorevitalization (delivering nutrients, HA and tightening products by mini injections to superficial skin layers) and PRP therapy (using your own plasma rich protein and stem cells to tighten the skin).
Botox is a perfect treatment to smooth lines on the forehead, frown, and crows feet,(and lots of other places too).
Prescription topical skincare products are also essential to treat and protect the skin from further damage. As a famous dermatologist once said ‘it is pointless to create the perfect coat hanger to hang your coat on if the coat is made of rags’.
Using products including Retin A, Retinol and glycol and hydroxy acids in your daily skincare plan can trigger skin health and fitness so the ‘coat’ is worth hanging on the best hanger available. Skin peels are skincare provide the perfect conditioning for your skin on the outside, to create youthful, fresh and natural appearance everyone can be proud of.
Where do wrinkle reducing injections fit in?
Returning the fresh, youthful ounce back into the skin and stimulating collagen and elastin are fabulous treatments. However botulinum toxin is still the gold standard for wrinkle smoothing. Botulinum toxin, injected into strong facial muscles, causes muscle relaxation as the toxin blocks the nerve muscle communication. Without muscle movement skin is not pushed and pulled allowing any lines and wrinkles previously formed to rest and smooth out. These muscle relaxing injections are best used as part of an anti aging program over time or as combined treatments giving you the best results.