The signs of aging — fine lines and wrinkles — can be eliminated with a cosmetic facelift. However, a surgical facelift is invasive and increases the risks of acquiring infection and developing other complications. In lieu of a surgical facelift, more people are opting for injectable fillers as a way to look more youthful.
WHAT ARE FACIAL FILLERS?
Facial fillers are substances that can be injected directly into the face to add volume to the skin. Fillers use substances such as calcium hydroxyl apatite and hyaluronic acid that help in the rejuvenation of facial skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles in the process. Facial fillers, also known as ‘volumizers,’ are additionally used to plump up the lips or raise scar depressions.
WHAT IS HYALURONIC ACID?
The body contains its own natural filler called hyaluronic acid. This substance gives the skin its volume and prevents it from sagging. However, as we age and deal with life’s stresses, our hyaluronic acid decreases. When this happens, the face appears aged and manifests deeper nasolabial folds, thinning of the lips, a deeper mentalis fold, unaesthetic marionette lines, and turning down of the lip corners.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FACIAL FILLERS?
Non-surgical facelifts with facial injections can have temporary or long-lasting effects on the face. The results vary and depend on the type of facial filler used. Here are the injectable fillers with the properties of each:
- RESTYLANE. One of the more popular facial fillers today, Restylane is a clear gel formulation containing hyaluronic acid. This dermal filler can be used in soft tissues to add volume to the skin. Restylane works best on treating nasolabial folds, forehead wrinkles, smile lines, and hollows beneath the eyes.
- RESTYLANE LYFT. (formerly Perlane) Like Restylane, it also consists of hyaluronic acid, the difference is the average size of the particles and the depth of injection, which means it’s a good choice for more severe facial wrinkles that benefit from a deeper injection into the skin. Its effects are known to last for about 9 to 12 months, but many experts believe that the duration of its effectiveness depends on the site where it is injected. The parts of the face that do not move as much as the others, like the cheek, have been reported to maintain longer effect. Restylane Lyft is the first and only FDA-approved filler indicated to provide lift to cheeks and add volume to correct and smooth smile lines (nasolabial folds).
- RESTYLANE SILK. The lips and the lines around the mouth, like other areas of the face, show signs of aging as you get older. This often results in lip thinning, lost shape and an increase in vertical lines above the lip. This filler is designed specifically to provide natural-looking results in these particular areas by using smaller, smoother particles than those used in other Restylane products.
- BELOTERO BALANCE. Belotero is also a hyaluronic acid injectable gel that is used to temporarily smooth out and fill in moderate-to-severe nasolabial folds as well as other moderate-to-severe etched-in lines and wrinkles around your lips and mouth.
- RADIESSE. Radiesse has calcium hydroxyapatite-containing crystals and works best on improving one’s smile and marionette lines. These substances are responsible for the process of collagenesis, the body’s method of producing new collagen and helping it grow around the treatment area.
- SCULPTRA. The first injectable filler to be approved for use by the FDA, Sculptra has synthetically made polylactic acid which is contained in microspheres. In the past it was used to restore facial volume in patients infected with HIV. It is now commonly used for improving the appearance of people with healthy immune systems.
Since all injectable fillers have different strengths and characteristics, Dr. Matsuda and Dr. Sheu, dermatologists in Honolulu, can help determine the right treatment for you.
ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES WITH FACIAL FILLERS?
Although facial fillers have been effective and their use is relatively easy, wrinkle fillers also have some downsides. These include:
- Increased risk for allergic reaction
- Tiny bumps may form under the skin, which can sometimes be permanent
- Tyndall effect, the blue discoloration of the skin, may also occur
- If not used properly, facial fillers can cause the death of skin cells
HOW CAN I MINIMIZE THE RISKS INVOLVED WITH FACIAL FILLERS?
To ensure your safety, it is best to know the different fillers available, as well as the risks and benefits associated with each of them. Most important, every procedure should only be performed by qualified and trained personnel like you will find at the clinic of Drs. Matsuda and Sheu.