The world of fillers can be daunting and confusing for many of us as we age, look in the mirror, and start to think about the best ways to fight the aging process. The idea of fillers can often be scary to many of us as well. So, if you’ve ever been curious about fillers or are actively seeking a filler treatment now, this is part one of a new series guide to finding the right filler for you. Stay tuned as we fall down the rabbit hole.
The beauty industry is “filled” with facial injectables (ha, come on, that was good). Choosing the right filler depends on your specific facial and skin needs, your doctor’s expertise, and your budget.
To determine these factors you need to start with your personal goals for wanting filler. What are you looking to achieve? Smoother skin? More defined features? Anti-aging benefits? It’s important to understand the difference between filler and other treatments.
Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin are considered wrinkle relaxers in the esthetician world and should not be confused with filler. Both are injected in a similar way, but treatments like Botox are for common wrinkle areas where people get crow’s feet, forehead furrow, and the little 11 lines between the eyebrows. These treatments work by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause these common wrinkles. They are not designed to fill, plump, or enhance facial features, whereas fillers are.
Now that we’ve made that distinction, we can get into some of the most popular fillers of today and what you need to know about them…
Use: Nasolabial folds, more commonly known as smile or “marionette” lines, are creases caused by smiling and they tend to deepen as our skin ages. Radiesse filler is the best treatment to prevent the deepening of these lines. This filler is also used to plump facial features like the cheeks, forehead, and especially the jawline.
How: A type of mineral found in teeth and bones, calcium hydroxylapatite, is what makes this filler work its magic. The mineral is suspended in a gel-like solution and when injected into the skin it immediately revives lost volume. The results are instant. Over time the skin absorbs the gel, the body metabolizes the calcium and leaves behind your own collagen.
Time:This filler lasts for about a year or two, but because this treatment stimulates your natural collagen production, it needs fewer touch ups to keep the results. A new technique includes diluting the product, making it act similarly to Sculptra. This is starting to be used for the neck, knee, and hands.
Average Expense: $650/per syringe
Use: Sculptra was actually first used in patients with HIV who had lost large amounts of facial fat. Today it’s more often used in cosmetics to provide volume to cheeks or other sunken areas of the face. Since it is used for a more “global volumization”, it cannot be used to define very precise areas on the face. It’s not used in the lips or near the eyes. This is a good choice for people who have extremely thin faces and are looking for more “scaffolding”, as well as wanting subtle and lasting results. When a more detailed look is needed afterward, filler can be layered on top.
How:A synthetic compound that promotes new collagen cells, poly-L-lactic acid, is the main ingredient in Sculptra. Because this compound is designed to promote collagen production, it can take several treatments to see the desired results.
Time: Studies show that the results of Sculptra filler can last up to two years after the first treatment, with an average of three treatments (injections). It takes time to see results, so expectations must be made clear from the beginning.
Average Expense: $900/per syringe
Use: This filler is a series of fillers. Each variant of this filler is designed to be used in different areas of the face. Juvederm Voluma XC is for the cheeks to add volume and smooth moderate smile lines around the nose and mouth. Juvederm Ultra XC and Juvederm Volbella XC are used to fill the lips and soften lip lines. This series of fillers also contains anesthetic lidocaine to dull down the pain during and after treatment.
How: Hyaluronic acid(HA) is the key player in the Juvederm series. This ingredient is a naturally occurring sugar found in the body that gives the skin moisture, volume, and elasticity. As we age, HA production decreases, causing its benefits to decrease too. When HA is injected, it acts as a sponge to attract water into the skin, which plumps the treated area. There are two big benefits of this filler: it has no risk of allergic reaction because HA is naturally occurring in the body and if the results are not what you hoped for, it will completely dissolve over time. HA makes for a more “space occupying” filler since it is mostly just plumping an area. Collagen rejuvenation is not part of the deal but HA is important for bringing hydration to the skin.
Time: Depending on the type of Juvederm filler, it can last between 6 and 18 months before the body absorbs the filler.
Average Expense: $680/per syringe
Use: This one is also a series of fillers. Like Juvederm, each variant is used to treat different areas of the face. It’s commonly used to smooth wrinkles, folds, and add volume to the lips. Restylane Lyft is a thick gel consistency used to treat severe lines and folds. It’s also FDA approved for treatment on the hands, another area where aging occurs first. Restylane Silk is designed for lip enhancement because it’s made with smaller particles than other Restylane products.
How: Hyaluronic Acid(HA) is the main ingredient of this filler. Similar to Juvederm, HA provides a smoothing effect to the skin. It involves fewer touch ups because it stimulates the body’s natural collagen production.
Time: Studies show that with full treatment (two separate injections), the results can last up to 18 months.
Average Expense: $680/per syringe
This is just the tip of the iceberg but, we had to start somewhere! Stay tuned for more information on specific filler techniques for under the eyes and even acne scars as we continue this Filler 101 series and remember, if you’re considering facial fillers, always seek out a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for an initial consultation.
Biba is a New Jersey based esthetician, business owner and 15-year veteran of the skincare industry. After working as the lead skincare therapist at top spas in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, she founded her own private studio in 2015. Beauty by Biba, located in Southern New Jersey, is a unique wellness getaway where clients receive decadent, customized facials, the highest quality waxing services, as well as in-depth education and insider knowledge of how to achieve their best skin.