Dermal Fillers: Everything You Need To Know

Even if you have a basic understanding of what dermal fillers are and what they do, you may still have questions about how they work, how long they last, and when you should use them instead of, or with, Botox.

How Dermal Fillers Work, And How They’re Different From Botox

Dermal fillers are a naturally-derived or synthetic material that is directly injected into skin with the purpose of plumping that area to the point where the wrinkle, depression, or fold is gone. Depending on the type of filler, the effects can last anywhere from six months to two years; for semi-permanent or permanent fillers, the effects can last up to five years, and there are reports of even longer-lasting results.

However, dermal fillers are not to be confused with Botox. Although both procedures involve injections, Botox is most often injected around the forehead and wrinkles around the eyes (crow’s feet) to stop muscle movement that results in wrinkles. It has nothing to do with the plumping smoothing effect dermal fillers have.

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

What Dermal Fillers Fix

Dermal fillers can be used to fix a variety of concerns related to facial aging, including:

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

Synthetic and Natural Dermal Fillers

There are two primary groups of dermal fillers: synthetic and natural.

Naturally derived fillers have a much smaller risk of causing an allergic reaction but reactions can occur. Results are immediate but will only last from just three to 18 months because the filler eventually breaks down, taking the results, for better or worse, with it. Once the filler starts to dissipate you need to go back in and get more filler injected to maintain results. We suggest to those who get fillers to have at least one follow-up injection within a year.

Synthetic fillers last much longer than naturally derived ones and are considered semi-permanent, though many would call them permanent because they really don’t dissipate. The wrinkles start to return only because your face continues to age or you continue to get sun damage due to being lax about protecting skin with sunscreen daily.

As with all fillers, synthetic fillers have potential risks. These are close to any risks associated with naturally derived fillers, difference being because synthetic fillers are more permanent, the potential problems can be permanent and are harder to correct as well.  

Risks from Dermal Fillers

After all is said and done, the major issue for fillers relates to longevity, followed by risk of migration and lumping, and ultimately the skill of the practitioner in placing the right amount of filler in exactly the right place. Regardless of the material, there is a learning curve to injection techniques as well as understanding how the varying substances affect skin. That means you need to find a an injection specialist who has been injecting dermal fillers for some time, and who has loads of experience, preferably with more than one type of filler. Most people considering fillers have more than one area of concern fillers can address—and different fillers are available to specifically treat those concerns, such as lines around the mouth. 

Is there a Best Dermal Filler?

There really isn’t a BEST dermal filler. Which filler substance is considered "best" or "preferred" depends on the practitioner’s technique, skill, experience, training, your facial needs, and risk tolerance. It has nothing to do with headlines in the media or articles in fashion magazines.

When to Get Dermal Fillers

There’s every reason to consider dermal fillers to correct signs of aging that are beyond what skincare products can do. It’s not that great skincare can’t make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin, but age, muscle movement, fat loss, gravity, and sun damage among other factors will eventually take their toll. Without question, fillers can help improve the appearance of deep lines and give skin a more supple, youthful appearance in ways that skincare simply cannot.

If you’re considering dermal fillers, the next step is to give us a call at SkinSpaMED and set up a consult to figure out which type of dermal filler is right for you.

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