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Dermal fillers have grown in popularity over the last few years due to their versatility as both wrinkle fillers and volume enhancers. These simple injections are most commonly used for areas like the lips, cheeks, under the eyes and the hollows of the face with amazing results. If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a dermal filler treatment, we’ve put together a complete guide on dermal fillers to help you decide if they’re the right choice for you.
What are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal fillers are injectable gels that are used to fill in wrinkles and provide volume to the soft tissues. 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 it, the body no longer has a means of keeping tissue strong and skin supple. These leads to the appearance of the typical signs of aging, including lines and wrinkles, sunken cheeks and a loss of elasticity in the skin.
Dermal fillers are typically made up of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule that attracts and binds water in the skin. This helps to give your skin a more full and youthful appearance well after your body stops producing collagen.
How Do Dermal Fillers Work?
How dermal fillers work depends on the type of dermal filler used and where on the body it is injected. 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.
When it comes to treating facial volume loss (like sagging cheeks), your provider 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 much 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, however, 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 are used in different areas of the face to achieve a variety of results, including.
Around the Eyes:
- Soften fine lines and crow’s feet
- Reduce under eye bags and circles
Mid Face Area:
- Smooth accordion lines and folds (the fine lines that creep up the sides of the face towards the cheekbones)
- Add volume to cheek area affected by gravity and age
Lower Face Area:
- Smooth a “gummy smile” above the lips
- Add volume to the nasolabial folds (folds around the mouth)
- Stop sagging jawline
- Reduce the appearance of vertical lines above the lip
- Correct the downturned corners of the mouth
- Plump and reduce chin creases
How long do dermal fillers 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 Juvéderm®, Belotero® and Restylane®. It can be difficult to know which dermal filler is right for you so be sure to ask your practitioner to advise on what’s the right choice for you.
Things to Know Before Your Treatment
Dermal fillers are incredibly safe, and allergic reactions are extremely rare, provided your treatment is carried out by a specially trained healthcare professional. But before getting dermal filler treatment it is important to carry out a few simple steps to ensure your treatment is as successful as possible.
- 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. This 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. Below are a list of suggested do’s and don’ts to help minimise any negative after effects of your treatment.
- Skin redness, swelling, tenderness, and/or itchiness are common after dermal filler treatment. Using a calming agent like chamomile or taking Bromelain and Turmeric together can help to reduce these effects. 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 area(s) 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 are all to be avoided. Similarly, you should avoid the extreme cold, so no skiing or mountain climbing.
- 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 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 well below the average rate it may be a reflection of the reduction in quality of 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.