Dermal fillers are substances used in skin treatments which are aimed at improving the firmness and tautness of the skin by ‘filling in’ the layers underneath the surface. The range of dermal fillers are some of the most popular forms of nonsurgical cosmetic treatments for lines and wrinkles.
Administered by one or several injections and with minimal recovery time; the basic idea behind all of these dermal fillers is of course to fill up the flesh beneath the skin and to that way help make it firmer and more taut so that wrinkles and other lines no longer show. Also called ‘injectables’ or ‘soft tissue fillers’, these include such things as Artefill and Radiesse. Here we will look in a little more detail at how different dermal fillers work and how they differ.
Types of Dermal Filler
Dermal fillers fall into several categories depending on whether they are synthetic or natural and whether they are absorbable or non.
Artefill is non-absorbable and made from ‘microbeads’ which float in bovine collagen (collagen from pigs). The benefit of a non-absorbable dermal filler such as this is that it will not be absorbed by the surrounding tissue which thus of course means that it is able to last longer than absorbable dermal fillers. It is thus sometimes referred to as a ‘permanent’ filler. Artefill is of course also a natural filler as it is composed from pig collagen.
Meanwhile Radiesse is absorbable and synthetic. Synthetic in that it is created in a lab rather than occurring naturally, and absorbable in that it can be metabolised by the body. Here the collagen forms around microspheres in the Radiesse to firm the skin thus giving it its firmness (rather than the substance itself providing the increased firmness). This is a ‘semi-permanent’ dermal filler as it will only last for a year to two years. Sculptra is another semi-permanent solution which again encourages the formation of microspheres, though it is only approved for the loss of fat in HIV positive patients.
Natural dermal fillers meanwhile are the same as naturally occurring substances in the human body, or are very similar. These use hyaluronic acid or collagen as the main ingredients. Collagen found naturally in the human body is what helps to keep it firm and flexible. We lose this as a natural aspect of ageing, but it is possible to replace this as a form of dermal filler. However because collagen is absorbable and easily metabolised by the human body this means it won’t last more than two to six months requiring repeated ‘top ups’. These options however are safer to sensitive skin or those allergic to synthetics (or those who want a temporary solution).
Hyaluronic acid meanwhile helps to fill wrinkles and can also encourage the growth of new natural collagen. These injections last longer than collagen solutions – around six months to one year. Other dermal fillers include blood, vitamin C and harvested fat from elsewhere around your body. These other systems are not all regulated by the FDA, and last for variable lengths of time.
It is highly important to make sure that you get your dermal fillers from a trusted and official source, as there have been several cases in the news of illegal operations administering toxic and dangerous dermal fillers resulting in casualties and even death.