Once you’ve made the decision to treat the signs of aging using a non-surgical procedure such as an injectable filler, the next step is to figure out exactly which filler is right for you. Different fillers provide different results and some may be better suited for certain patients than others. The type of filler that best suits you depends on how long you want the results to last and the part of your face that you’d like to focus on. Your facial plastic surgeon can help you understand the differences between each ingredient and help you decide which one will give you the results you hope for.
A number of different injectable fillers feature hyaluronic acid as the primary ingredient, including Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane. Hyaluronic acid can be a bit confusing as a name. Although it’s described as an "acid," the substance is actually a type of sugar. Unlike acids that are used to help treat wrinkles and other skin concerns, such as alpha hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid doesn’t exfoliate the outer skin. Instead, it plumps up the skin from within.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the body, in the skin, eyes and connective tissue. It plays a role in keeping the skin firm and supple. Since the body starts to produce less and less of it as it ages, when injected into the skin, it acts as a support structure, plumping up lines and improving the skin’s elasticity.
In many cases, hyaluronic acid fillers are used to fill in lines by the sides of the mouth and nose, lines above the lips and lines around the eyes. Certain types, such as Restylane and Perlane, are also used to add volume to the lips.
Another type of hyaluronic acid filler, Juvederm Voluma, is slightly different in terms of its thickness and purpose. Voluma is thicker and more viscous than standard Juvederm. It’s not used to fill in wrinkles, but is instead used to add volume to the cheek area. At the moment, Voluma is the only hyaluronic acid filler FDA approved for adding volume to the cheeks.
One thing all hyaluronic acid fillers share in common is how quickly they work. Most treatments take about 15 minutes and provide instant results. Depending on the brand of filler use, the results can last between six and 12 months. Most people can get back to their day to day activities right after the injection and the risk of side effects is minimal.
People with deeper set wrinkles might benefit from an injection containing calcium hydroxylapatite, found in brands such as Radiesse. Hydroxylapatite injections are heavier than hyaluronic acid injections. While hyaluronic acid is found in soft tissues such as skin, hydroxylapatite is naturally found in human bones.
The injectable contains hydroxylapatite microspheres, which are suspended in a gel. Once injected into the desired area, such as the lines below the mouth or the lines between the mouth and nose, the ingredient provides support to the dermis. It also stimulates the production of collagen, the protein responsible for giving skin support and for helping it stay firm and not to sag.
Although the hydroxylapatite microspheres do start to break down over time, enough collagen has been created that the results last. In many cases, the results from injection of Radiesse lasts for between one and two years.
Radiesse might be appropriate for you if you haven’t gotten the results you want from hyaluronic acid fillers. Side effects from the injection are very rare and are usually mild.
A third ingredient used in fillers is poly-lactic acid. The ingredient is quite a bit different than hydroxylapatite or hyaluronic acid. First off, it’s a synthetic ingredient. Secondly, it doesn’t provide the instant results that an injection of Juvederm or Radiesse does.
Poly-lactic acid encourages the production of collagen in the dermis, but doesn’t provide support or structure itself. The filler, known as Sculptra Aesthetic, is used to add volume and to fill in sunken areas on the cheeks and by the eyes.
Although it can take several months for the results from Sculptra to appear, and many patients need multiple treatments, once they are visible, the results can last for up to two years. Treatment is also relatively quick. In many cases, an injection takes less than 45 minutes.
The only board certified facial plastic surgeon in Melbourne, Florida, Dr. Ross Clevens has used non-surgical treatments such as injectable fillers on numerous patients. Ivy-League educated and voted “Best in Brevard,” Dr. Clevens can determine which ingredient is best for you. To schedule a consultation, call his practice at (321) 727-3223 today.