As the skin ages, it gradually loses some of its collagen and fat. These are the materials that prevent the skin from becoming saggy. Thus, as we age, our skin can become thinner and more wrinkled and lined.
Dermal fillers help to restore our skin to its former youthful appearance. Material is injected into the skin in areas where it needs to be plumped up again and made to look firmer.
Fillers come in different thicknesses, and in general, the thicker the product, the deeper it is injected into the dermis to help plump out fine to deep lines and wrinkles
What are the types of dermal fillers we use?
In 1981, Collagen was the first filler for soft-tissue filling by injection. It is made from bovine (derived from cows’ skin) collagen. It is necessary to have a skin test before this treatment, however, as some patients may be allergic to bovine collagen.
The leading dermal filler used by most practitioners in the world is now hyaluronic acid based product. This particular brand is manufactured using bacteria. Again, this product comes in different thicknesses and is called Restylane®.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the spaces between the cells of body tissues in all animals. It has already been used widely in general medicine to help eye surgeons perform cataract operations, and for injection into arthritic joints to aid movement. It is estimated that 30 million patients around the world have been treated with some form of hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid has now largely replaced collagen as the favourite filler around the world. This is because it is more likely to be compatible with our bodies than collagen, and so people are less likely to be allergic to it and do not require a test prior to use.
Most of the ingredients of available non-permanent or temporary fillers have been widely used and clinically tested for safety and effectiveness.
What skin problems can dermal fillers treat?
Dermal filler has been widely used to increase the size and volume of lips in women for a number of years, and this is still the most popular use for most dermal fillers.
However, these products are also very effective in both men and women in helping to fill out lines around the lips, the lines from the nose to the corners of the mouth (nasolabial lines), smile lines on the cheeks, as well as crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles.
Thicker fillers can also be used to add volume to sunken cheeks and weak chins, reshape the tip of the nose, as well as filling out deeper acne or other scars. In addition, fillers can be used to help reduce the appearance of veins and bones in aged hands with thin skin.
Usually, if you need to have fillers in the upper part of your face for movement lines associated with expression i.e., crow’s feet, forehead and general wrinkle lines, it is usually recommended that the fillers are used alongside injections of botulinum toxin.
More recently dermal filler products have begun to be used for ear lobe rejuvenation to help plump up the lobe and restored the fullness and shape which is often elongating and sagging with the natural ageing process, allowing a more youthful look and a better cosmetic appearance when earring jewellery is worn in the ear.
Similarly dermal fillers, specifically hyaluronic acid based ones, can also be used to address issues in relation to the female genitalia, such as g-spot treatments for enhanced sexual pleasure or to address issues of vaginal atrophy where there is a loss of elasticity and volume in the outer labia which can lead to vaginal dryness and other symptoms.
Depending on the area treated, and the depth of wrinkles or scars or sagginess of the skin, you will be recommended on different combinations of types of fillers to achieve the best results.
What happens during a dermal fillers treatment?
During your first visit, you will be asked on your personal expectations. Doctor will take a brief relevant medical history to make sure that there are no reasons why you shouldn’t have the treatment. Then you will usually be asked to read detailed information and sign a consent form which means that you have understood what the treatment may do, along with any potential side effects from the filler(s) being used.
Photographs will be taken for a “before and after” comparison of the treatment.
For treatment of lines and wrinkles, an anaesthetic cream is sometimes applied to the area 20 minutes or so prior to injection. This helps to numb the area to be treated and reduces pain when the needle is inserted into the skin.
Hyaluronic acid based dermal filler comes with the addition of 0.3% lidocaine in the syringe. This provides an instant relief from pain upon injection and removes the need for a separate nerve block or topical anaesthesia.
Different injection techniques are used depending on the type of filler and the area being treated, which involves cannula or needle injection. Under the gentle hand of Dr Teo, your treatment experience will be at bliss and swift.
Depending on the area treated, top up treatments are usually required to fine tune and maintain the effects.
How long will it take to recover from a dermal fillers treatment?
Depending on the area treated, and which filler is used, treatment times can vary from around 1 minute to 10 minutes. Recovery time can be from a few hours to a few days. However, most people can return straight back to work after treatment with dermal fillers.
What are the risks and potential complications of dermal fillers treatment?
Depending on the area injected and the type of filler or pain control used, patients may find the procedure relatively painless to mildly uncomfortable. Treatments around the nose or lip areas are usually more painful.
The obvious, immediate and most common side effect is slight bleeding after the needle has been inserted into the skin. Other risks include mild bruising, tenderness, redness and swelling that may also occur around the site of injection. These signs may take 3-5 days to vanish completely.
What should you do after dermal filler treatment?
It is important that you follow the advice of your practitioner carefully after dermal filler treatment. This will help you to gain maximum effect from the procedure and reduce the risk of complications.
Post-treatment advice may include:
- iced water soaks or ice packs to help to reduce swelling (although this is generally not required);
- the use of pain-killers such as paracetamol, if required for a few days after treatment;
- arnica (a homeopathic remedy) cream or tablets are sometimes recommended to reduce bruising;
- bruising and swelling should go down after a couple of days, but if you continue to experience very painful swelling and bruising, kindly call up clinic for assistance
- Similarly, if you experience any delayed reactions such as lumpy redness occurring any time after treatment, you may seek advice from clinic.