Dermal fillers: your complete skincare guide
What can fillers do?
“Superficial fillers known as skin-boosters can be used to improve internal hydration of the skin and rejuvenate texture and quality to provide a smoother complexion,” says Marco Andrea Peruzzo, a senior cosmetic injector at Clinica-Lase.
Though our skin produces water-binding hyaluronic acid naturally, we produce less and less of it as we age. There are also synthetic fillers such as Sculptra and Radiesse, which stimulate collagen formation in the dermis, so require less touch-ups, yet generally cost more per visit. Certain fillers are ideal for sculpting face shape, while others are ideal for filling lips without the trout pout effect.
What does it feel like?
Standard filler procedures involve injecting filler deep into the dermal layer of the skin to recover lost volume.
A newer technique uses a cannula, which uses a thread-like needle that slides beneath the skin and deposits the filler more precisely and causes less bruising than injections. Quite where the filler goes depends on the filler. Hyaluronic acid fillers remain in the site injected, which can be deep or superficial depending on the application and desired effect. “There is no migration from the area injected apart from when it’s slowly metabolised by the body and excreted naturally,” says Peruzzo.
How long does the procedure take?
Dermal fillers can be done during your lunch break, taking 15 to 30 minutes after an initial consultation. While muscle relaxers don’t take effect for about two weeks, the results with dermal fillers are immediately visible, with further improvements seen for up to two to three weeks. One of the major advantages of dermal fillers is that the effects are long lasting, but not permanent. While Botox is recommended every four months, dermal fillers generally last six months or more. That said, calcium or synthetic formulas such as Radiesse and Sculptra could last up to two years.
What if I don’t like the result?
There are two types of dermal filler (or ‘liquid facelifts’) on the market – non-permanent and permanent. Make sure the solution used is dissolvable.
“They can be easily reversed within 24 to 48 hours by injecting an enzyme product such as Hyaluronidase, which enables a fast metabolism of the filler,” says Peruzzo. Steer clear of permanent synthetic fillers such as silicone, which are unable to be removed.
“Permanent lip fillers look great when they’re first done but as your face changes shape with age, they tend to look not so good – and that’s hard to fix!” warns Peruzzo.
What do dermal fillers have over Botox?
A major giveaway when it comes to your age is deflation – the sallow, gaunt, sagging look your skin gets when facial fat is diminished. While both treatments target the same signs of ageing, they work very differently. Botox is a form of muscle relaxant that decreases expression lines by paralysing muscle movement, and is mainly used on the upper face for frown, forehead and crow’s feet lines.
On the other hand, dermal fillers add volume to the face through the injection of a solution deep into the dermal layers of the skin. They are used to reduce static lines in the mouth and cheek areas and can even be injected on the top of the bone, cartilage and tip of the nose to give it a youthful boost. “Over time, expression lines will become static lines and hence muscle relaxant and dermal fillers are often combined to achieve the optimal results,” says Peruzzo.
What are the risks?
All dermal fillers used in Australia are TGA approved and extensively researched, so the risks of infection, asymmetry or ending up with that frozen-face look are minimal if you choose a qualified injector.
“It is up to the injector to be ethical and educate the client to understand her/his face to prevent over-injecting,” says Peruzzo. The most common risks are bruising and swelling, but this usually only lasts a few days.
Peruzzo says you can minimise bruising and swelling by abstaining from alcohol the day of and following the procedure, not smoking for four hours after lip injections, avoiding exercise on the day of the injections, and avoiding fish oil and anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Before you book
1. Only doctors and registered nurses can inject dermal fillers, so be wary of dodgy untrained therapists who buy fillers and syringes online and may not always use approved products. Ask your injector how many procedures they perform a year. If the number isn’t in the hundreds, walk out the door.
2. Ensure you feel comfortable with your injector and always get a second opinion. “Try starting with something conservative and then begin to build a trusting relationship,” says senior cosmetic injector Marco Andrea Peruzzo, of Clinica-Lase.
3. Turn up to your consultation sans make-up so your injector can see you in your natural state and work out the best way to treat your specific concerns.
4. You often get what you pay for so be cautious of over-cheap deals, Peruzzo warns. “At times, particularly with internet deal coupons, the customer is just looking for the cheapest price rather than the best service – you should be after the latter first and foremost!”