Injectable dermal fillers can help you look younger for much less than a surgical facelift and without the risks or recovery time of surgery. Most fillers take effect in less than half an hour and last anywhere from 4 months to over a year.
Botox injections relax the tiny muscles in the area (learn more about Botox here), while fillers actually fill in the wrinkle. These fillers can also be used to lift cheeks and jawlines and plump thin lips and sagging hands.
Though not as serious as the risks of surgery, there are risks to injectable fillers, including possible allergic reaction, appearance of tiny bumps under the skin that are sometimes permanent, and skin discoloration called the Tyndall effect. In very rare cases, skin cells can die, and there have been reports of blindness and nerve paralysis. Longer lasting fillers are more likely to cause side effects.
Not every product is right for every situation. Using the best product properly will minimize risk. This is why it is vital to find a practitioner who is board-certified who regularly undergoes special ongoing training. Injectable fillers fall into four main categories.
Hyaluronic is a substance that is found naturally in the fluid of the joints. There are many different types of hyaluronic acid wrinkle fillers, each works a little differently. The most common side effects include temporary redness, swelling, and bruising. Results last from months to a year, sometimes two. Some evidence suggests that repeated use can help stimulate the body to produce natural collagen. Some of the most popular hyaluronic acid products include Juvederm and Restylane.
Synthetic Wrinkle Fillers
These fillers consist of substances that are dissimilar to anything found naturally in the body. Common side effects include redness, swelling, and bruising. Less common side effects include bumps that rarely require surgical removal. Synthetic fillers last longer than some other fillers, but are more likely to cause side effects. Improper use can even cause disfigurement.
Originally, these fillers were made from purified collagen extracted from cows. They were effective, but didn’t last long and were more likely to cause allergic reactions than synthetic fillers. New purification methods as well as synthetic collagen have reduced these risks. Side effects include temporary redness and bruising.
Autologous fillers involve taking fat or plasma from your own body and injecting it in another area. Because the filler comes from your own body, there is no risk of allergic reaction. Side effects include temporary redness, swelling and bruising. Results of fat injections are semi-permanent when a series of injections are given over time. Results of plasma injections last 12-18 months.
Wrinkle fillers are generally safe, but bad outcomes do occur, especially when the procedure is not performed properly. To minimize your risk of a bad outcome, there are some things you should watch out for:
- Price – While it’s understandable that you don’t want to pay a whole lot for the procedure, be aware that anyone offering the treatment for significantly less than many other places, they may be cutting corners that compromise your health and safety.
- Medical Setting – These treatments should always be performed in a medical office with sterile equipment by a board-certified professional.
- FDA Approved – Know what you’re being injected with. Was the product purchased directly from the manufacturer? It’s not unheard of for substances such as industrial silicone or baby oil to be passed off as an approved filler product. If the person giving you your treatment can’t or won’t tell you where it comes from, find another doctor.
- Sunscreen – Daily sunscreen will preserve the filler longer and prevent skin discoloration.