Wrinkles and fine lines form with the loss of subcutaneous fat that supports our skin. With every passing year, the skin in the middle of our face begins to slide down, causing cheeks to sag.
This means the wrinkles on your face and cheeks are totally normal (and not to mention, inevitable). And if anyone makes you think otherwise, they aren’t friends. However, if you want to help minimize these signs of aging, for any reason you deem, dermal fillers can help to add support and lift, while simultaneously softening wrinkles.
And since we pride ourselves in research, we put together a guide for dermal fillers. Below, you’ll find all your major concerns about the procedure answered.
What exactly are dermal fillers?
Often put in the same category of another popular injectable, dermal fillers are not Botox. While Botox freezes muscle to reduce wrinkles, dermal fillers inject beneath the skin via needle, and are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved implants to help smooth skin and wrinkles.
People get dermal fillers to look a little better without turning to cosmetic surgery. Doctors use dermal fillers to add in volume and smooth out wrinkles. These fillers are particularly popular because patients see differences in their appearances before leaving an appointment. (Generally, people notice the desired changes from other non-surgical procedures, like Botox, after a few days.) And, just to flag: Dermal fillers are not FDA-approved for body contouring procedures.
There are three major categories of dermal fillers, all approved by the FDA:
Hyaluronic acid: Produced naturally in your body in the skin and cartilage, fillers made with hyaluronic acid (a common skincare ingredient) last 6-12 months. Hyaluronic acid is known to improve the skin’s retention of moisture, and add more plump and hydration to the skin.
Poly-L-lactic acid: This type of acid is a biodegradable synthetic material and can last up to 2 years.
Polymethylmethacrylate beads: Used only around the mouth, this filler can’t be absorbed by the body and is the only filler that is permanent.
Cool, cool, cool. Which one should I try?
Ideally, you would have a doctor that is reputable and knowledgeable on which filler will create the most natural-looking results for you. There are tons of different brands that focus on different concentration levels and ingredients. So, it’s best to yield to their expert advice.
How much do they cost? How long do they last?
In short: If you see inexpensive fillers, you should be skeptical. Ask to see the box and look for a safety seal. The price of these fillers vary depending on the amount of product needed and location of where you are getting it done. Generally, they cost $652 per syringe—most people get more than one syringe for optimal results.
If you’re unhappy with the way filler looks, don’t panic—in most cases, you can have it adjusted. A dermatologist might inject additional filler for balance, or they can dissolve it altogether, depending on the type. When expertly injected, filler should look natural.
The changes consumers can make are so subtle, nobody would notice. Since the majority of fillers aren’t permanent, you’ll have to keep going back to the doctor’s office if you love the results following your procedure. After about 6 months, your body naturally breaks down hyaluronic acid fillers and you’ll have to go for a touch up.
Anything to ask my doctor before scheduling?
The main rule: Always ask for a consolation so you can share with your doctor what your goals are and if dermal fillers are really for you. Basically, you may think you just want dermal fillers, but an expert could recommend another treatment—or a combination of treatments—based on your specific skin type and goals that would be better for you.
For example, if you have a lot of pigmentation, a doctor might suggest using laser therapy instead. Also, it might be a good idea to get before and after photos of real patients that the doctor has worked on.
Great, now are there any risks?
It hopefully goes without saying that safety should be your top priority. Make sure to vet out good, board-certified dermatologists, or plastic surgeons that are highly experienced with fillers. The most common side effects include bruising, redness, pain, or swelling, all of which should go away within 2 weeks, according to the FDA.
Want to learn more? Read up on the ingredient that is more hydrating than hyaluronic acid.