As you age, your skin will naturally lose volume and sag as the pads of fat and connective tissues beneath it shrink. Facial fillers help reverse this change by adding support beneath the skin, stretching it out to erase wrinkles. When administered by a skilled cosmetic plastic surgeon, fillers can give quick, long-lasting results with no surgery or recovery time necessary.
Temporary, Semi-Permanent and Permanent Facial Fillers
Fillers are classified as one of three types: temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent.
Temporary fillers are based on natural compounds. All temporary fillers eventually break down and are absorbed by the body, so they must periodically be renewed to maintain their benefits.
Originally, collagen fillers such as Cosmoplast, Cosmoderm, and Evolence were the most popular injectable treatments. However, they have been overtaken in popularity by hyaluronic acid-based fillers, such as Restylane, Juvederm, Restylane Silk, and Perlane. Hyaluronic acid’s advantage is that it provides a softer, more natural look.
Another type of temporary filler is calcium hydroxylapatite, which is stronger and heavier than hyaluronic acid and is typically injected deeper in the skin. Radiesse is a filler composed of calcium hydroxylapatite and is used to treat moderate to deep creases and folds.
The only facial filler composed of poly-L-lactic acid that is FDA approved is Sculptra. This is heavier than temporary facial fillers, and is usually used to treat especially deep facial lines and indentations to create volume, when other fillers aren’t strong enough. While their results are long-lasting, they may still require occasional maintenance with your cosmetic plastic surgeon.
Permanent fillers such as ArteFill are made with microspheres of polymethylmtethacrylate (PMMA). They are too heavy to be used in delicate areas, but work well in places where the skin is thick and lines form deeply, such as the nasolabial folds.
One permanent injectable treatment to beware is silicone. Silicone injections are not approved by the FDA and are dangerous and unsafe, especially since many practitioners offering silicone injections are not licensed. Patients have suffered severe reactions and side effects from silicone. Silicone can also shift within the body, producing an uneven, lumpy appearance.
Which filler is best for you is a matter best determined in consultation with a licensed cosmetic plastic surgeon. Your doctor can help you determine what’s best for your case and work out a treatment plan. The right filler can produce a remarkable renewal in your look, with no surgery involved.