Dermal Fillers, Everything You Need To Know
Dermal Fillers are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures available. A non-surgical injectable implant, approved by the FDA and offering fast, lasting results, dermal fillers can be used for augmentation, wrinkle reduction, skin smoothing and even improving the appearance of scars. Here is everything you need to know about dermal fillers.
Why Are Dermal Fillers So Popular?
As we age, our skin loses its natural elasticity and plumpness. Wrinkles start to form, skin starts to sag and lips thin. This is due to our bodies producing less hyaluronic acid. Dermal fillers, simply put the hyaluronic acid back in your skin to revitalize and re-plump it. You aren’t adding anything unnatural to your body, and the results are subtle and natural-looking.
Not only can dermal fillers help you regain your youthful appearance, but they can also correct minor imperfections which can dent your confidence. If you are self-conscious of thin or asymmetric lips, a bump on your nose, wrinkles, sunken areas, or even a prominent scar, dermal fillers could provide the solution.
In fact, dermal fillers have been successfully used for cosmetic enhancement for more than 100 years.
A Brief History
You may be surprised to learn that the idea of dermal fillers goes all the way back to the 1890s!
Plump, youthful-looking skin has always been highly prized, and people have been researching and experimenting with ways to reverse or, at least slowdown, the ageing process since the beginning of time.
In the 1890s, doctors began taking fat from patients’ arms and injecting it into their faces, to minimize wrinkles and achieve a smoother appearance.
An alternative substance was sought, and in the early 20th Century, Austrian surgeon Robert Gersuny tried injecting a paraffin wax blend into the face (and breasts) instead. The thinking was that as paraffin wax is an emollient it would be the ideal substance to use. The treatment became very popular, but unfortunately, the results were mixed, with hard painful lumps (paraffinomas) forming. Famed beauty Gladys Deacon, Duchess of Marlborough, ended up being badly disfigured after having hot paraffin wax injected into her nose.
As such, dermal fillers fell out of favour until the 1970s, when bovine collagen was used for collagen injections and implants. The many issues with this practice included allergic reactions, swelling and the fact that the results didn’t last very long. In 1981 collagen fillers were approved by the FDA and some surgeons still make use of natural collagen taken from other areas of the body, such as the waistline.
In the early 2000s, the FDA approved hyaluronic acid for use in fillers, providing a viable alternative. As stated above, hyaluronic acid is a natural substance which our bodies already produce, making sensitivity tests and allergic reactions no longer an issue.
The first hyaluronic Acid filler introduced to the market was Restylane, made by Galderma, quickly followed by Allergan’s Juvederm. Over the years advances have been made, critically, the introduction of lidocaine into the hyaluronic acid filler, to numb the area and lessen patient discomfort.
Today, there are many types of dermal fillers available, both natural and synthetic. Calcium hydroxylapatite fillers, such as Radiesse are a blend of natural and synthetic substances.
The more you know about the process, the more comfortable you are likely to feel going forward. You can ask any questions during your consultation but we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does Dermal Fillers Work?
The area may be prepared using a topical numbing cream, or the filler itself may contain a numbing agent such as lidocaine. The clinician will then inject the filler below the skin, using an ultra-fine needle and smooth it into place.
How does it feel?
As a numbing agent is present either in the filler itself to or applied to the skin, many patients don’t suffer any pain or discomfort. Some patients describe a feeling of ‘fullness’ as they adjust to the sensory perception of the fluid which has been inserted under the skin.
How long do dermal fillers take?
Most dermal fillers procedures can be done in around 30 minutes, but it can be as fast as 15 minutes or up to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated.
Which Areas Can Be Treated?
Although dermal fillers are primarily thought of in terms of lip augmentation, they can actually be used to treat any small area of the face or body. From correcting a hooked nose to gaining relief from the pain of wearing high heels by adding ‘cushioning’ to the balls of the feet, dermal fillers have proven to be an incredibly versatile procedure. However, dermal fillers are not approved for ‘body contouring’ procedures.
Here are a few of the areas which can be treated with dermal fillers:
- Lip fillers – dermal fillers can be injected to create a fuller appearance to lips or correct asymmetry
- Wrinkles – Such as the fine lines around the mouth caused by age and/or smoking
- Nasolabial and marionette lines – the lines that run down from the nose to the corners of the mouth, and the lines that run from the mouth down to the chin, respectively
- Ear Lobes – fillers will restore the plumpness to sagging skin or damage caused by the sun or heavy earrings
- Hands – Treating sun damage and ageing by smoothing and plumping the skin
- Decolletage – rapid weight gain or loss, sun damage and smoking can all contribute to a crepy appearance of the decolletage
- Feet – Fillers can minimize the appearance of veins, disguise prominent tendons, and ease the discomfort of wearing high heels when injected into the balls of the feet
- Non-surgical nose job (Rhinoplasty) – dermal filler can be used to shape and contour the nose by smoothing out bulbs and help lift the tip of the nose.
How Long Does It Last?
Depending on your age, skin type, and the skill of your clinician, dermal fillers can last up to a year. However, to maintain your desired look, you should schedule your next appointment before the filler has completely broken down. Some patients may require a “touch up” appointment after around 4-6 months.
Can I combine Dermal Fillers with other treatments?
Yes, many patients combine dermal fillers with Botox, as each treatment targets a different issue. Dermal fillers reduce the appearance of ‘static’ wrinkles by restoring volume to the skin, while Botox targets dynamic wrinkles, such as frown lines.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Dermal fillers are a safe and effective procedure. However, some patients may experience some mild to moderate side effects immediately following treatment, described below.
The treated area is likely to be red, sore, and tender for 24-48 hours following the procedure. Although many patients experience no bruising, swelling and bruising at the injection site are also common. However, this should reduce and disappear entirely 1-10 days later, particularly with proper aftercare. Please be aware that swelling and bruising can create the appearance of unevenness, but this should also clear up as soon as the swelling and bruising has gone down.
With proper aftercare, patients shouldn’t experience any lasting side effects.
Sometimes, a patient may require further ‘correctional’ treatment within the two weeks following their treatment, but this is quite rare.
Dermal Fillers Downtime & Aftercare
Downtime isn’t really required after dermal fillers, however, there are things you can do to alleviate or reduce the symptoms described above.
- Apply ice frequently (not directly to the skin) to the treated area for up to 6 hours after treatment to help reduce swelling and alleviate bruising
- Avoid blood-thinning medications such as Aspirin or Nurofen for 24 hours after treatment as these can exacerbate bruising
- You can use arnica cream and arnica tablets to help alleviate bruising
- Apply a warm compress rather than ice once the bruising has formed, during the first 48 hours
- Also avoid multivitamins, fish oils, glucosamine and Vitamin B or Vitamin E for the same period as these are also blood thinners that may exacerbate the bruising. If your GP has advised you to take these, please check with them before stopping
- Avoid hot drinks, spicy food, caffeine and alcohol for 24 hours after treatment as these can also exacerbate bruising
- Try to avoid sun exposure, particularly direct sunlight or sunbeds, for at least 24 hours
- Avoid exercise for 24 hours after treatment
- Avoid wearing make up for 24 hours afterwards
- Avoid getting dermal fillers immediately before dental treatments such as teeth cleaning as opening your mouth wide stretches the skin of the face and could misplace the fillers
- Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as the FDA does not have research that dermal fillers are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women
If any bumps appear, you are advised to massage the treated areas gently with arnica cream or a moisturiser twice daily for 1-2 days.
DO NOT MASSAGE AN AREA WHICH HAS HAD MUSCLE RELAXANTS INJECTED.
If you have ever suffered from cold sores, please let your clinician know, as some injectable treatments can reactivate the viral infection which causes cold sores. You may be advised to take Zovirax or another anti-viral medication on the day of your treatment and for a few days afterwards. If cold sores do form after your treatment please contact your clinician to purchase Zovirax.
Most of these instructions are typical aftercare following an aesthetic procedure and are advised to both minimise the risks and accelerate the healing process. You will be given aftercare instructions during your consultation, but don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something you don’t fully understand. The more informed you are about the procedure, the better chance you have of achieving your cosmetic goals.
We hope you now feel more knowledgeable about dermal fillers and can make an informed decision about whether dermal fillers are the right procedure for you.
Find out more about dermal fillers
To find out more about dermal fillers or any other aesthetic procedure please book a free online consultation with one of our experienced aestheticians or contact us on 07305800057 or 020 8286 8858 to speak with a member of our team.
We’d love to hear your view or answer your questions, so do not hesitate to contact us on anything relating to the blog above, beauty issues, or our treatments available.
*Disclaimer: Results vary from person to person and are based on factors such as age, lifestyle habits and medical history