By now everybody has heard about Botox, the miracle injection that instantly erases wrinkles. Yes, we all know that it’s based on a deadly toxin and intended for an entirely different medical use, but having a deadly toxin injected directly into the face is much less scary to most than living with wrinkles.
With that said, Botox is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dermal fillers, or facial injectables, if you will.
To “inject” a bit of humor into the subject of dermal fillers (or facial injectables as they’re also called), the aging and old people are young people with high mileage. It is extremely difficult for young people – regardless of their chronological age – to accept that their true mileage is not just a burden to themselves but visible to others. That’s why at a certain age in any person’s life there comes a point when we have to make the much dreaded decision to either chase after youthful appearance or “age with dignity” if that’s at all possible. No wonder dermal fillers are a booming industry in spite of the recession. Embarrassment is more powerful than hunger.
Back to the subject of dermal fillers: facial injectables are relatively inexpensive (as compared to plastic surgery, not a loaf of bread); the injections take no time (10 minutes to one hour); the patient can usually return to work immediately or the next day with full recovery within weeks. The downside of dermal fillers is that they don’t last forever, in most cases 3-6 months (but it could be even shorter), after which the procedure needs to be repeated.
Dermal fillers, starting – of course! – with the most popular:
Botox is a great solution for fine lines and wrinkles, particularly frown lines, crow’s feet and forehead lines. It works by temporarily blocking “communication” between the nerves and muscles in the treated area stopping the muscle from contracting. As a result the skin stops wrinkling. For continuing wrinkle control, Botox treatments should be repeated every 3 to 6 months.
Unlike Botox, collagen and Hyaluronic acid injectables are biocompatible which means that they are accepted by the human body as its own substances. (Treatments with Hyaluronic acid and collagen dermal fillers need to be repeated because the patient’s body gradually absorbs these semi-natural substances.)
Collagen facial injectables provide another option for controlling wrinkles; they are also used for lip and cheek augmentation. Collagen dermal fillers are effective at filling up minor depressions in the skin.) The results achieved with collagen injectables vary from patient to patient and may last from three months to one year. To maintain the results repeated treatments are recommended.
Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are made of a synthetic version of Hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in our bodies: in the skin tissue, cartilage, joint and eye fluid. With age the natural levels of Hyaluronic acid in a human body drop which causes us to develop – among other things – dry, thin skin and wrinkles. Well known brands as Restylane® and Juvederm® are some of the Hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers. (Juvederm® is commonly used to fill in facial “parentheses” which run from the nose to the corners of the mouth.)
Injecting Hyaluronic acid filler into facial wrinkles helps to minimize them. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers increase the skin’s volume as well which gives it a youthful appearance.
The duration of results achieved with Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers varies; the average duration is set at 3 to 6 months, still in some individuals can be as short as one month. With that said many sources credit Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers with stimulating the skin’s production of natural collagen which naturally enhances the cosmetic results.
Once the aging process has led to the formation of deep laugh lines, furrows or skin folds, the facial injectables mentioned above may not be sufficient. Other – also injectable – fillers were developed specifically for a soft tissue augmentation and can help correct these issues. Such soft tissue fillers as ArteFill and Radiesse™ can fill in and augment larger skin depressions.
There is however a strong word of caution, soft tissue fillers which can produce great results have drawbacks too, most notably: the injected material can shift so badly that a surgical intervention may be required. There are other risks involved as well, among them: infection, facial paralysis, bleeding, rashes and skin eruptions.
(On a related note, there are several plastic surgeons and other physicians who practice cosmetic medicine in Los Angeles who are providing facial rejuvenation treatment that relies on a combination of dermal filler injections. The focus of this new treatment is wrinkle removal and facial plumping. Just like wrinkle reduction creates a more youthful appearance, increasing facial volume makes a face younger and the skin less prone to wrinkling… The results can be impressive and the procedure doesn’t involve surgery.)
When it comes to dermal fillers in general, not everybody is a good candidate, discuss your specific health issues and medications you’re taking with your doctor before the procedure.
Of course, if the dermal fillers don’t produce good enough results in your specific case, don’t forget dermabrasion and chemical peels…….. and when all else fails, hey: there is always a face lift……. To paraphrase the song “We’re way too young to be that darned old”………..