By Annette Brooks
Think of your face as a plum. Voluminous and plump when you’re young, it loses volume with age, gradually becoming more prune-like. When this loss of volume occurs — caused partly by the breakdown of collagen and elastin that provide structure and elasticity — wrinkles and folds appear. Your cheeks sag, and nasal-labial folds, marionette lines, and jowls can appear. Even the orbital area below your eyes may be affected, looking sunken and thin-skinned.
Thankfully, injectable dermal fillers offer a convenient, nonsurgical solution that replaces lost volume. Injections are performed in-office, results are often instant, and downtime is usually minimal, typically involving some bruising and redness which subsides in a couple of days.
Since 2003 when the first hyaluronic acid (HA) filler was FDA-cleared, a procession of new and improved fillers has followed. Today’s designer formulations often target different areas of the face, such as the cheeks, lips, chin, nasal-labial folds, and marionette lines, compared to a one-size-fits-all filler approach.
Certain temporary fillers last longer than others, but generally, fillers last from six months to a couple of years, depending on many factors. Repeat treatments will be required to maintain your results. Over time, your provider may adjust the type of filler and the amount used to help ensure optimal results.
Popular Uses for Facial Fillers
Highly skilled, experienced dermal filler injectors are true artists. Working with a palette of different fillers and a needle and syringe instead of paints and a paintbrush, they can achieve natural-looking results that meet your desired goals.
- Create a snatched jawline. Snatching is a newer term that describes a tighter and more defined or sculpted jawline. Filler can be ideal for someone who has lost volume along the jawline or chin over the years.
- Diminish marionette lines. Fillers smooth out these creases, which extend from the corners of your mouth to your chin.
- Plump the lips. Whether Mother Nature gave you thin, flat lips or they’ve lost volume with age, fillers are great for perfecting your pout.
- Soften nasal-labial folds. Smile or laugh lines are filled in to create a smoother, softer appearance.
- Smooth vertical lip lines. Fillers are used for both lipstick lines and smokers’ lines. Even a minimal volume of the product injected into precise locations along the vermilion border can produce noticeable results.
- Smooth chin wrinkles. From horizontal chin creases and vertical lines to a bumpy cobblestone chin, fillers can recontour and redefine your chin.
- Correct facial asymmetries. No one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, but a noticeable unevenness in features can detract from your natural beauty. In many cases, fillers can provide a more balanced appearance.
- Lift and enhance cheeks. Restoring cheek volume provides greater definition and lift, creating a more contoured look.
- Smooth undereye hollows. HA fillers are commonly used to treat under-eye hollowness and pronounced tear troughs.
What About Fat Transfer?
Also known as fat grafting, fat transfer involves taking fat from elsewhere in your body, like the abdomen or thighs, and preparing it so only undamaged fat cells are injected into your face. Clearly, it’s a more involved procedure than dermal fillers.
As with dermal fillers, there are pros and cons associated with fat transfer. On the upside, harvested from your own body, it’s a completely natural substance. And since fat that survives the transfer becomes part of the living tissue in the grafted area, results can last much longer than fillers. On the other hand, transferred fat integrates and receives blood supply from surrounding tissue to sustain itself. We know more about how to help ensure integration today, but it isn’t a guarantee. Also, expect around 40 to 50% of the fat to be absorbed. Be sure to ask your provider for details and to give you guidelines on how to prolong fat transfer results.