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

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


The Different Types of Dermal Fillers and How They Can Help You

Published October 4th, 2021 by Thepracticeagency

Dermal fillers are on the rise, and an estimated 2.6 million people got this procedure in 2016 compared to 1.8 million people in 2010.

If you have heard of dermal fillers but don't know what they're made of or how it works, you came to the right place. 

Read on to learn about the benefits of fillers and how they can improve your appearance. 

What Are Dermal Fillers?

Derma fillers are a gel-like substance injected into specific areas of the body by a professional healthcare provider. The primary purpose of fillers is to smooth wrinkles, restore volume, enhance the structure of the face, or fill in scars. 

Your dermatologist will inject the filler into areas of your skin that have lost volume. Once injected, you can begin to see your skin regain its youthfulness. 

What Are Fillers Made Of?

Although there are a few different types of fillers, most of them have hyaluronic acid as their main ingredient. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that we can naturally find in our bodies, which binds to water. 

Because they're mostly made of hyaluronic acid, most fillers are reversible and will lose their effectiveness over time. 

Types of Dermal Fillers

As we mentioned earlier, most fillers are made with hyaluronic acid, but there are a few other formulas dermatologists, and other providers use. These are a few of the most common types of fillers. 

Calcium Hydroxylapatite

The brand name of calcium hydroxyapatite (CH)is Radiesse. CH is a mineral compound found in our bones. Because CH is a biosynthetically produced filler, it's free of animal products or testing. 

People with allergies prefer to use CH because it lowers their chances of having an allergic reaction. 

Before it was used as a dermal filler, it was commonly used in reconstructive surgery and dentistry. 

The most popular uses of CH include enhancing the fullness of the cheeks, nasolabial folds, frown lines, and marionette lines. It can also help add volume in people who have facial wasting due to HIV or those taking certain medications.

Hyaluronic Acid

As we mentioned before, hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the most common types of fillers. Several brands, such as Juvederm, Puragen, Captique, Hylaform, and others, use HA. 

In the body, you can find high concentrations of HA in the soft connective tissues, joint fluids, cartilage, and the fluid around your eyes. 

Not only is it common as a dermal filler, but doctors inject it into the aching joints of those who have arthritis. 

HA fillers improve the appearance of acne scars, smoker's lines, marionette lines, crow's feet, and cheek depressions. 


The brand name of Polyalkylimide is Aquamid. Aquamid is another biocompatible substance that does not activate allergies and does not require allergy testing. 

It's also a transparent substance, and it won't interfere or show up on x-rays. Once the Aquamid gets injected into the skin, collagen will slowly begin to form, filling in the area and adding volume to the skin. 

Because a high dose of Aquamid can be injected in a single procedure, plastic surgeons and dermatologists use it to treat facial wasting due to HIV, add volume to thin lips, deeper wrinkles, and slightly modify jawlines and cheekbones. 

Polylactic Acid

Also known as its brand name Sculptra, polylactic acid has been used for more than 40 years as a biodegradable suture material. Unlike other fillers that show immediate results, you will have to wait between four to six weeks to see results from Sculptra. 

It takes several weeks to see results from Sculptra because rather than filling in the area, it stimulates collagen production. 

This fillet is also considered a semi-permanent filler since it stimulates your body's production of collagen. You will need three treatments once a month and occasional touch-ups, but the effects are long-lasting. 

If you want to enhance thin lips, deep nasolabial folds, or laugh lines, Sculptra is the best product. 

Polymethyl-Methacrylate Microspheres 

Polymethyl-Methacrylate Microspheres, also known as Bellafill, is another semi-permanent filler recommended to treat medium and deep wrinkles, nasolabial folds, thin lips, and furrows. Dermatologists also use Bellafill on pitted scars in the face. 

Bellafill is a top option for those looking for a more permanent filler that doesn't require quite as much touch-up. Like Sculptra, it can take up to three months for people to see results with Bellafill. 

The downside to Bellafill is that it can be visible under the skin and create unwanted results. To avoid Bellafill showing under the skin, you must choose a provider familiar with working with this filler. 

The proper way to inject Bellafill is using it in junction with tunneling or threading methods.

Areas Dermal Fillers Treat

Although it's a common belief that dermal fillers are primarily used in the face, fillers can serve many different purposes. For the most part, dermatologists and plastic surgeons can use dermal fillers in different parts of the body.

Chest: If your chest has suffered sun damage and has visible wrinkles, fillers can help you improve its appearance. Many providers will use Sculptra to stimulate collagen production and reverse the damage. 

Hands: Even if you take care of your face, wear sunscreen and apply filler, your hands can often reveal your age. The signs of aging on your hands include visible veins and tendons and loss of fat. 

Any filler that can help with facial wasting can be used on the hands to improve signs of aging. 

Under Eyes: Many people suffer from dark circles and hollow under eyes due to aging and lack of sleep. The right filler can help give your under eyes a rested and youthful appearance. 

Thighs: An estimated 90% of women and 10% of men suffer from cellulite. Cellulite is a pesky problem for many people and nearly impossible to get rid of. Filler can help improve the appearance of cellulite. 

Are You Ready to Give Dermal Fillers a Try?

Now that you know about the most common types of dermal fillers and their uses, it's time to talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon. 

Although facial fillers are not a permanent solution, they can significantly improve the signs of aging around the lips, under eyes, jawline, and even hands and thighs. 

Are you in the Miami area looking for a board certified dermatologist? Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.

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