Not All Fillers Are Created Equal
Plump lips, high cheekbones and smooth line-less faces are in demand by women of all ages. This is not a new thing. In my mom’s day, women could have a facelift or a chemical peel or not. No such thing as non-invasive back then.
When I started down the road to cosmetic dermatology, the field had not been invented. In my dermatology residency (circa 1982) the latest thing was the invention of the “filler”. There was a choice of one product, Zyderm, it was injected into fine lines, lasted 6 weeks and 3 % of the population was allergic to it (including me). Pretty much nobody had heard or this earth-shattering development. It was the first time that we could erase lines, no downtime, no surgery, and no recovery.
Fast forward to 2017, “filler” is a household word. Hundreds of different fillers exist throughout the world. Endless choices. Happily, in the US we have the FDA which, love it or hate it, makes it very expensive and difficult to get a filler approved. The result is that we have a select number of quality, safe and effective fillers to choose from.
Most US fillers are made of a jello like substance (hyaluronic acid, HA) that is normally found in your skin. It corrects lines and wrinkles by taking up space. It can last from 6 months to 2 plus years depending on the specific filler. One of the nicest things is that it is completely reversible if you don’t like the result.
Fillers, like jello left in the fridge for varying lengths of time, come in several “firmnesses”. For instance, Juvederm Voluma (the jello equivalent of being in the refrigerator for 2 days) is the firmest. If you squirt out a little on the counter, it forms a perfect Hershey’s Kiss shape. It is used for lifting and volume. It is great for recreating the disappearing facial upper cheek contours. Restylane Lyft falls in this category.
An example of a less firm filler would be Juvederm Vollure, Ultra, Ultra Plus or Restylane. These are better for folds and lines. They give less lift so can be used for the parenthesis around the mouth. They are also great lip plumpers when full lips are the goal.
On the thinner side (back to the jello analogy, not in the fridge very long. Still a little runny), Belotero, Volbella and Restylane Silk are ideal for fine lines and lip rejuvenation without a big increase in lip size.
Results are instantaneous, longevity varies. Each product is different but in general the firmer the product, the longer the result will last before your body naturally breaks it down. Some last up to 2 years (Voluma), some more like 6 months (Belotero, Restylane Silk). The middle firmness group can give you meaningful results for 12 to 18 months depending on the brand.
Which one for you? First, before thinking about what filler you want, pick the best injector you can find. Don’t go Groupon cheap either. DaVinci and your 6 year old may both dabble in paint but the outcome is not exactly the same.