What are dermal fillers?
As you would expect from their name, dermal fillers are injected beneath a wrinkle, crease, or area with volume loss and they “fill” in the space. Unlike Botox, which works by relaxing muscles that form wrinkles on the upper third of the face and can take 3-4 days to take effect, dermal fillers provide instant results.
What are dermal fillers made of?
There are two categories of dermal fillers: natural or synthetic. Natural fillers are made mostly from hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring molecule in the body whose job is to hydrate, plump, and firm the skin. Hyaluronic does this by binding with nearby water molecules. Dr. Murrell uses the popular natural fillers Restylane and Juvederm in his practice.
Synthetic fillers use man-made materials to provide structure where injected. Poly-L-lactid acid and calcium microspheres are the basis of two popular synthetic fillers.
Would I be a good candidate for a dermal filler?
Whether or not fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane would be right for you depends on what type of wrinkle you are trying address and where they are on the face. As mentioned above, Botox works by relaxing a muscle that forms a wrinkle on the surface skin when the muscle contracts. These are known as “dynamic” wrinkles and they occur on the upper third of the face.
When you form an expression such as a frown or when you squint, you can feel the muscles around your eyes, between your eyebrows, and on your forehead engage. When injected into these muscles, Botox relaxes them for about four months, so the wrinkles they form are erased. Dermal fillers don’t work on dynamic wrinkles.
Instead, dermal fillers treat the other form of wrinkles, known as “static” wrinkles. These wrinkles are due to sun damage, declining collagen support, personal habits, and the effects of aging on our skin. Unlike dynamic wrinkles, static wrinkles show themselves at all times and don’t involve muscle contractions. Dermal fillers are injected beneath these areas where volume has decreased and they return volume, pushing the skin back upward.
What dermal fillers does Dr. Murrell offer?
Dr. Murrell offers Juvederm and Restylane at his practice. Both of these fillers are hyaluronic acid/natural fillers that work by binding with water molecules in the injection site to plump, hydrate, and firm the skin. They are very similar fillers, but there are differences between them. Dr. Murrell will discuss with you which filler he feels best suits your needs. Here’s a brief description of each.
- Restylane — Restylane was the first dermal filler approved by the FDA in the United States. That was in 2006. Restylane is a little more granular than Juvederm. That makes Restylane a little more cohesive, so it is good for building up areas such as the cheeks and under the eyes.
- Juvederm — While very similar to Restylane, Juvederm is a little smoother. This makes Juvederm better for erasing small lines and treating areas where bumps could develop. Juvederm also contains more cross-linked hyaluronic acid, which means it delivers slightly longer results than Restylane.
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Are there side effects with dermal filler injections?
Because Restylane and Juvederm are made primarily with hyaluronic acid (which occurs naturally in the human body), allergic reactions are almost unheard of. The common side effects with all dermal fillers are swelling, redness, pain, bruising, tenderness, and itching at the injection sites after your session.
These side effects are typically mild, but may last for up to a week when treating smile and marionette lines. On the lips, they may last 10-14 days.
Occasionally, lumps will form at the injection sites. This is rare, but if it happens they can be quickly resolved by an injection of hyaluronidase. This is an enzyme that instantly degrades the hyaluronic acid, eliminating the lump.
What are the areas and wrinkles that dermal fillers can be used?
Dermal fillers treat these areas:
- Nasolabial folds — the lines that run from the nose down to the corners of the mouth, also known as smile lines.
- Marionette lines — These lines run from the corners of the mouth downward.
- Parentheses lines — These lines frame the mouth, like a pair of parentheses.
- Barcode lines — These vertical lines develop on the lips and just above them under the nose.
- The cheeks — Fillers can return volume to sunken cheeks.
- The lips — Fillers can add volume to lips that have thinned or that are thinner than the person would like.
- The backs of the hands — Although Dr. Murrell doesn’t use fillers in this area, fillers can be used to hide the blood vessels and tendons that show themselves as the skin thins on the backs of the hands.
How are dermal fillers different from Botox?
As mentioned above, dermal fillers are used to fill in areas where volume has decreased and created issues such as sunken cheeks or has allowed creases to form. Dermal fillers only work on areas where there are static wrinkles or volume loss.
Botox is a neuromodulator, not a filler. It works by stopping muscles from contracting. Muscle contractions create crow’s feet, the 11s between the brows, and forehead lines. When injected into the muscles that form these wrinkles, Botox stops the contractions, so the wrinkles don’t form. Botox has no effect on static wrinkles because they don’t involve muscle contractions.
Botox works on the upper third of the face. Dermal fillers work from below the eyes down through the cheeks and the area around the mouth, including the lips.
dermal fillers Results
Both of these fillers are very popular across the globe. They provide excellent results for returning volume to sunken areas and erasing lines and creases. They differ slightly in the duration of their results — Juvederm provides results for 9-12 months; Restylane provides results for 6-9 months.