Injectable Dermal fillers are synthetic or natural substances that are injected with a needle into the deepest layers of your skin. The theory is that when you inject a substance to plump up the skin on your face, the lines and wrinkles fill in from the inside out, giving a more youthful appearance. Injectable dermal fillers are also used to plump up skinny lips to make them look fuller. Many of the available fillers today have been shown to produce good results.
The rewards of injectable fillers are actually pretty tempting. You can have dramatic improvements in your appearance at a lower cost, with less risk and less recovery time as compared to say a face lift. The cost is in the couple hundred dollar range depending on the filler. The results will last anywhere from a few weeks, to a few months, and some claim to be semi-permanent to permanent. You can receive the injections on an out-patient basis and be back to work the same day. You can definitely turn back the clock with injectable filler, but there are significant risks of these procedures that need to be considered.
As with any injection but especially on the face there are risks of an allergic reaction, inflammation at the injection site, bruising, swelling, open sores, skin peeling, scarring and lumpiness. There is also the risk that some of the adverse reactions will be permanent. What can be worse than having lumps and spots on the very area you wanted to look its very best. As the field of injectable dermal fillers advances these risks decrease. But with new products come brand new benefits and potentially new hazards that need to be considered.
Have a look at some of the most popular injectable dermal fillers available today including the associated risks and rewards.
- Collagen is one of the first injectable fillers that became available. It is very often used as a lip volumizer. The benefit of collagen is that it is a natural protein and the risk of allergies to it is very low. It is the most abundant protein in the skin and naturally contributes to wrinkle reduction but we produce less of it with age. It is not permanent, and the results are immediate but fade within 4 to 6 weeks.
- Silicone is popular for breast enhancements and has been used off-label to improve skin appearance. The adverse effects with silicone are the most severe of any; in fact the FDA prevents doctors from advertising it as dermal filler. Common side effects include sever lumping in unwanted places. The silicone can migrate to different places and this may take years to detect and resolve. Silicon is non-degradable so once injected, it stays inside you forever unless surgically removed.
- Juvederm is injectable filler made with hyaluraonic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a very useful substance already present in our connective tissue and skin which helps with hydration and maintaining skin texture. It effectively treats moderate to severe wrinkles. It is also the most widely used and safest injectable filler with fewest side effects reported. But those that experience side effects report lumping and unnatural contours in the skin that are long lasting.
- Another filler, Restylane is very similar to Juvederm in the sense that it is also made of hyaluronic acid. It is more useful for mild to moderate wrinkles and fine lines. The risks of adverse reactions are essentially the same as with Juvederm.
- The fifth filler we studied was autologous fat or fat that is harvested from other parts of your own body and injected into your face. The occurrence of allergic reactions is nearly non-existent because it was already in your body. The downside is that the results don’t last beyond a week or two.
The other side effect often not spoken about with injectable dermal fillers is that the dramatic results often introduce patients to the slippery slope of obsessive facial treatments. Sometimes people will get the first injection and think it looks great, the next time they get a double injection, and then the next time they try it in multiple places. Soon they may be hooked on to these injections and without realizing it, they cross a line and end up looking unnatural.