What are they and what do they do?
Whenever we open a magazine there is often a feature where a celebrity appears to have had a cosmetic procedure, which at best one might describe as over-zealous. I am always interested how often this change is attributed to fillers. When I look closely, to my eye there are often several procedures that have been undertaken for example Botox, chemical peels and quite often facial surgery . It is interesting however that it is usually facial fillers that are blamed.
Dermal fillers have been used since the 1800’s when transplanted fat was used to correct a facial deformity. Following that a number of chemical swere injected with limited success.It was in 1981 when bovine collagen was first injected. Since then research has continued in the quest for the perfect filler. Technology is rapidly evolving in this are and we now have much safer products to use, the best in my view based on hyaluronic acid (HA), found naturally in our skin.
The problem comes, when these products are injected by untrained individuals and when the products used are unsuitable – I would not recommend the so-called permanent filler.
Safety is the key here and as I always advocate less is more. Injecting small amounts of a safe filler, and adding more after 2 weeks if required is always the best approach in my view. Natural hyaluronic acid –based fillers are safe and become naturally absorbed over time. We have hyaluronic acid in our skin therefore our immune system is very unlikely to react and cause problems, this is key. Here are a few questions I am commonly asked.
I want to look younger, how would a filler help me though?
But I don’t want a ‘trout pout”
Even after a good night’s sleep I often look tired, can fillers help?
My skin just looks dull, it’s lost that glow now I have hit my forties. I look after my skin and moisturize regularly, can you help?
Are there any side effects to fillers ?
What is the problem with permanent fillers?
The problem here is that permanent fillers are just that, a permanent change that you will carry for years. This is not a problem if you are happy, but what if you are not? The second problem is that many permanent fillers are more likely to cause lumps and bumps , such as granuloma formation where the body’s immune system recognizes the filler as ‘foreign’ and mounts a response. These can be visible and disfiguring. Granulomas are more likely to occur if the substance is injected at the wrong level for example too superficially. Expertise is vital therefore to inject such fillers, which begs the question; how many experts would inject a permanent filler?
Finally our faces change over time, a permanent filler will not change and adapt and therefore may well start to look unsatisfactory over the years.
Is there any age limit for fillers ?
I am keen to have an injectable treatment. Once I start though do I need to continue?
Not at all. Over time the treatment will naturally breakdown very gradually and be absorbed into the body. There won’t be any overnight dramatic changes that need to be maintained so if you do not wish to have ongoing treatment there will be no need.
In summary, fillers when applied safely and expertly can be truly rejuvenating. This is a fantastic method of correcting loss of volume and just giving your skin that fresher, younger lift that we all aspire to. Choosing the right practitioner who will put safety first is absolutely key. A careful consultation with examination is important. Discussing outcomes individual to you, and what you can expect to achieve is hugely important to enable you to make the right choice. Finally as with all aspects of medicine, expertise and safety first!