THE COSMETIC USE OF DERMAL FILLERS
Facial lines, such as crow’s feet, glabellar lines on the forehead and lines at the corners of the mouth, start to appear in the early thirties, then increase and become really visible in the late thirties. The deeper, nasolabial folds (lines running from corner of mouth to outer edge of nostril) start to appear more in the late forties, becoming more prominent in the fifties, as do vertical lines leading to the upper lip (known as smokers lines). Unfortunately, for sun worshippers, this all happens much earlier.
WHAT ARE DERMAL FILLERS?
Dermal fillers are one of the cornerstones of modern facial rejuvenation techniques. By far one of the most popular non-surgical treatments among patients who want to combat the signs of ageing, they are injected under the skin to help restore the firmness and smoothness associated with youth. Facial rejuvenation using injection therapy is not a new treatment, in the 1890s doctors were taking fat from patients’ bodies and injecting it back into their faces to plump up skin. Although fat transferral treatments are still used to today, patients are now moving away from such drastic measures and towards alternative treatments, which offer instant results with less interruption to their daily routine.
WHEN CAN DERMAL FILLERS BE USED?
Dermal fillers come in a variety of viscosities to treat different cases. Thinner fillers can be used to eradicate lines from around the lips, the nasolabial lines, glabellar lines, smile lines, crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles, and are injected more superficially than thicker fillers. Thicker fillers can be used to add volume to hollow cheeks and fill deep acne or other scars, and are injected deeper into the dermal layer of the skin. Fillers can also be used to enhance lips.
WHAT ARE DERMAL FILLERS MADE FROM?
Dermal fillers are made from various kinds of natural or synthetic materials, and there are a variety of fillers available on the market, both permanent and non-permanent. Non-permanent fillers, such as hyaluronic acid, have emerged as the leading choice among practitioners and patients.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in all living organisms and is therefore highly biocompatible. It plays an important role for mechanical and transport purposes in the body, giving volume to the skin, shape to the eyes and elasticity to the joints. The use of hyaluronic acid has been well documented in areas such as eye surgery and orthopaedics and is the filler substance of choice because of its high safety record. A wide range of hyaluronic acid based products is available in the UK medical aesthetics market, and the products we recommend to our patients include non-animal based Restylane and Hydrafill, two of the better-known brands.
HOW LONG WILL DERMAL FILLERS LAST?
The compatibility of these products with the dermis means that no pre-treatment skin test is required. They can last between 6-12 months, but this differs from person to person, and from one area of the face to the other. The only side effect of these fillers, which occurs once in every 2000 patients, is a low grade allergy that causes redness/papules lasting for three to four weeks, but this can usually be covered up with light make up. Some patients can get swelling for up to a week, but immediate application of ice usually reduces this effect.
At the moment, these temporary fillers are the most effective. Although it would be preferable if a filler lasted two or three years, those that currently do can cause long-lasting problems, including more severe allergic reactions.