What are Fillers?
Made of gel-like substances, dermal fillers are injected under the skin, to help address and correct visible signs of aging such as smooth lines and wrinkles, restore fullness to cheeks and the hollow areas under the eyes as the face starts to sag, plump lips, enhance facial contours for a more youthful appearance. Available at aesthetic clinics, this highly favored, non-surgical option by both men and women, prove a more cost effective way to looking younger without surgery or downtime.
Some dermal fillers are made of natural substances and some of synthetic compounds.
Hyaluronic Acid (Juviderm and Restylane) – a naturally-occurring substance that is found in your skin with the main function of keeping skin plump and hydrated
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) - a mineral-like compound found in the bones – it has a thicker consistency than hyaluronic acid filler and longer lasting correction of moderate to severe facial wrinkles and folds as well as the treatment of facial fat loss
Poly-L-Lactic Acid (Sculptra) – a biodegradable synthetic substance that is safe for use in the body, which stimulates the skin to produce more collagen – It can be used to treat deep lines, creases, and folds to give a more youthful appearance.
Polycaprolactone (Ellanse) – made of carboxymethyl cellulose, this is a collagen stimulator that works by correcting wrinkles and folds, at the same time stimulate your own collagen production to treat the underlying facing aging with gradual, long lasting effects and a natural youthful appearance
Polyacrylamide (Aquamid) - a transparent homogenous, hydrogel consisting of 97.5% water and 2.5% cross-linked polyacrylamide, that is shown to have long lasting results, well suited for a broad range of facial corrections including minor facial folds and depression, cheek corrections, and lip augmentation and contouring
How Does Fillers Work?
While Botox freezes (and relaxes) small muscles in your face from making the movements that cause wrinkles, dermal fillers plump the skin from below to smooth out wrinkles and promote the youthful look. Dermal fillers work by restoring lost volume to the face by injecting a gel just below the surface of the skin to instantly plump skin and smooth out deep set lines, wrinkles and folds. Made of tissue-friendly substance, the filler imitates the naturally occurring substance within your body and boosts your skin to be more revitalized and add volume to the area instantly.
In Singapore, fillers are a popular aesthetic treatments for the fact that they are quite fuss-free, fast with zero downtime so that patients can return to everyday activities immediately after the procedure. Almost all fillers offer immediate results except for Poly-L-Lactic Acid which may take two to three weeks to see results.
What Can Fillers Do For You?
Injectable fillers are FDA-approved and ideal for sculpting facial contours (specifically cheeks and chin), smoothing away any facial lines and wrinkles, creating fuller (or pouty) lips, improving the appearance of recessed scars, and reducing or removing the shadow of lower eyelids. The most common areas treated are the nose to mouth lines (the nasolabial folds or smile lines), between the eyebrows (the glabella or frown lines), the lips (adding volume and shape) as well as cheeks.
A dermal filler that is made from non-absorbable material is only used for the correction of nasolabial folds and cheek acne scars in patients over the age of 21 years. Some fillers are also approved for the restoration and / correction of signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as hand augmentation for the increase in the volume of the back of the hands.
Patients may need more than one injection to get the desirable effect. The success rate is dependent on several factors including the health of the skin, the skill of the doctor, and amount and type of filler used. How long will the effect lasts also depends on the filler material used and the area where it is injected.
Procedure and Treatment
Your treatment will begin with a consultation, during which you will be able to discuss your area of concerns, goals and review your medical history for suitability. Although risks associated with dermal fillers are minimal, you should still fully disclose all known medical history prior to treatment to reduce incidences of side effects. Certain allergies, skin and neurological conditions and medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and blood thinners can increase the likelihood of bruising.
Before the injection, numbing cream will be applied or a nerve block injected. Most filler treatments take 15 to 30 minutes. You may feel a stinging or burning sensation as the filler is being injected. After the session, some patients may experience mild bruising, redness and or swelling so the area may be iced down for 15 to 20 minutes to help reduce these symptoms which will usually subside a day or two later. As most fillers do not cause downtime, you should be able to your everyday activities after treatment. But it is best to avoid any exercise or strenuous activity for the day. Do stay out of the sun and avoid touching the treated area for three days, unless you receive instructions to massage the area.
Same with Botox, most fillers offer temporary results and require repeat treatments to maintain the results. Depending on choice of fillers used, they can last from nine to 12 months for hyaluronic acid, up to 18 months for calcium hydroxylapatite, and up to three years for Poly-L-Lactic Acid. Do check with your practitioner how long the recommended filler should last in the area you want treated.
Risks and Side Effects
Filler treatments are considered safe but may cause some mild symptoms such as redness, swelling, pain and itching that are short-lived and usually go away after a few days. But if the symptoms persist or worsen, it is best to consult your medical practitioner as prolonged symptoms may result in possible complications such as infection, allergic reactions like rashes and hives, flu-like symptoms, or lumps under the skin in the area. But serious side effects usually only occur when the person injecting the filler does not have adequate medical training and experience.
Before getting a filler, it is essential that you provide your doctor with full details of your medical history as much as possible - especially in the area of allergies, bleeding disorder, cold sore breakouts, heart condition, and any previous cosmetic treatment (mention other injections and implants). Do inform your practitioner about any medications or supplements that you are taking or have taken before, even ones that are non-prescriptive, especially Warfarin, aspirin, Ibuprofen, vitamin E, St. John’s wort, garlic and ginger supplements. Be sure to mention everything, as much as you can remember and even if it seems unimportant.
Who Is Not Suitable for Fillers?