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Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist

Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD - Board Certified Dermatologist

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What Are Facial Fillers and Why Are They So Popular?

Published July 12th, 2021 by Thepracticeagency

Over the past three decades, facial fillers have become one of the most popular and widely sought-after cosmetic treatments. You've probably noticed the impossibly ageless influencers flooding your Instagram feed for years.

If you're considering jumping on the filler bandwagon, you'll be glad to know the stigma of facial injections is long gone. What you may not know is what types of fillers are right for you, your skin, and your budget.

You'll also want to be well-versed in the best (and worst) places to apply facial fillers. Whenever you're planning to inject something into your body, it's important to do your research first.

Luckily, we've done the research for you.

A Brief History of Fillers

If you want to understand the speedy rise in popularity of the facial filler, you'll need to start at the beginning.

The history of facial fillers begins in the early 1990s. The original facial filler ingredient was collagen taken from cows. It was injected via syringe and the results lasted for only a few months.

In the early years of facial fillers, the topic was quite taboo. Fillers were not subtle like they are today. They were used to alter appearances in a significant way.

In 2003, facial fillers as they are known today came onto the scene. The first hyaluronic acid injectable, Restylane, gained approval from the FDA. It wasn't until then that fillers became a commonplace topic in the cosmetic industry.

In 2004 poly-L-lactic acid arrived. People loved it because the effects of the injections lasted for years rather than months. In 2007 mixing lidocaine with facial fillers became a popular way to decrease the pain of injection.

By 2011 we had Belotero Balance, a hyaluronic acid filler so soft it resisted clumping or bumps. This made it possible to smooth even the shallow lines around eyes and lips.

In 2015 Kylie Jenner shared her lip filler journey with the world. After that, lip fillers became one of the most common cosmetic treatments. We were off to the races. Facial injections had officially gone from taboo to trendy.

What Do Facial Fillers Do?

Facial fillers are gelatinous substances injected underneath the skin by a licensed cosmetic dermatologist

The majority of clients seek out facial fillers to reduce signs of aging. As we get older, our facial tissues become thinner. We develop lines around our eyes, nose, and mouth. Our cheeks also tend to hollow out as we age.

Facial fillers fill in those smile lines, plump up your cheeks, and smooth out wrinkles. Basically, they return to us our youthful fullness, smoothness, and confidence.

Others use facial fillers to enhance the natural contours of their face.

Types of Facial Filler Injections

Every person's skin is different and every type of skin responds best to different things. When deciding what type of filler to get, make sure you choose what is right for you.

Poly-L-lactic Acid

Poly-L-lactic acid is a synthetic substance that is safe to use inside the body. It is the same substance used to make stitches that dissolve. Poly-L-lactic acid smoothes fine lines by regenerating the skin's natural collagen.

The results of poly-L-lactic acid can last over two years. It is great for filling in deep wrinkles. Sculptra is a popular brand of filler that uses poly-L-lactic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is used in many of the most popular facial fillers because it is a natural sugar found in the body. It helps to moisturize the skin and give it more volume and elasticity.

The results of hyaluronic acid fillers last from six to 12 months. After that, the body's natural processes absorb the filler. The fillers Juvéderm and Restylane are made from hyaluronic acid.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite

Calcium hydroxyapatite also occurs naturally in the body. It is found mostly in the bones and helps to boost the body's production of collagen.

The results of using calcium hydroxyapatite last for about 12 months on average. Radiesse is a nonreversible filler made from calcium hydroxylapatite.

Autologous Fat Injections

Fat injections are a unique type of facial filler because they require a minor surgery. To create a facial filler from fat, a cosmetic surgeon harvests fat from another part of your body. 

They purify the fat and then inject it into the face to add volume and smooth out wrinkles.

Neurotoxins

Neurotoxins are not facial fillers. They are injectable forms of protein that help to relax the muscles of the face. When we contract our facial muscles, wrinkles form over time.

Neurotoxins relax and temporarily paralyze the muscles of the face, causing fine lines and wrinkles to smooth out. Botox is an example of a very common neurotoxin.

Best Spots to Apply Facial Fillers

Where you decide to apply facial fillers depends on your skin type and the results you want to achieve. The most traditional and effective areas to inject facial fillers are the lips, cheeks, and nose.

Fillers can also soften the lines at the corners of the mouth. Many people use facial fillers to reduce the appearance of smoker's lines or to fill in acne scars.

The following is a breakdown of the most common places to apply filler and which types of facial fillers are best for each area.

  • Smooth brow furrows, crow's feet, and frown lines (Botox or other neurotoxins)
  • Smooth under the eyes and tear troughs (Juvéderm, Restylane, fat injections)
  • Lift and plump cheeks (Restylane)
  • Smooth marionette lines (Juvéderm, Restylane)
  • Plump lips (Juvéderm, fat injections)
  • Soften nasolabial folds (Juvéderm, Restylane, Radiesse, Sculptura)
  • Smooth vertical lip lines (Juvéderm)
  • Smooth chin wrinkles (Juvéderm, Restylane, Radiesse)
  • Fill acne scars (Juvéderm, Radiesse)

What to Expect During Treatment

The first thing you will do is meet with a cosmetic dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to discuss your facial filler treatment options and desired outcomes. This is called a pre-treatment consultation.

You'll also go over your medical history, allergies, concerns, medications, as well as your skin and neurological conditions with the dermatologist. This is important to determine what filler is best suited and safest for your skin.

During the treatment, the cosmetic surgeon will clean the area of your skin. They may also apply a topical ointment to make the area numb so you don't feel discomfort.

Then the cosmetic surgeon will inject the filler underneath your skin. You will likely see results right away. This can depend on the type of filler.

You may experience slight bruising and swelling over the next couple of days. Any reaction your skin has should be temporary.

You can expect to return to your regular activities immediately, but it's always best to take a day to rest.

Finding the Right Practitioner

When preparing for any treatment involving facial fillers, it is important to consult an experienced, licensed skincare professional. If you live in the Miami area, that trusted professional is the Miami Skin Dr.

Lawrence A. Schiffman, D.O., FAOCD is a board-certified dermatologist with over a decade of experience specializing in skin, hair, and nails. Book an appointment today at either the Aventura or Doral Miami Skin Dr. offices.

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