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Rejuvenate your skin with injections to ‘plump up’ fine facial lines
Dermal fillers are used to smooth out the appearance of facial lines, furrows, crow’s feet, lip lines and dimples by expanding the space beneath them with injections of a special filler. This filler can come from a wide range of sources (human, animal, synthetic) and is available to the public under numerous brand names – Bio-Alcamid®, Restylane®, Hydrafill®, Hylaform®, Juvederm®, Radiesse®… In addition, filler can be injected into the lips to create a fuller, more shapely appearance.
What is in a dermal filler?
Doctors have been injecting fat from patients’ bodies into their faces to remove wrinkles since the turn of the 20th century. By the middle of the century, paraffin and silicone were being used, but then, in the 1980s, a naturally occurring collagen filler from cows’ skin was discovered and soon became the most popular choice among cosmetic practitioners and patients.
Various natural and manmade substances have been developed over the years with the aim of creating a dermal filler that is as compatible with the patient’s own body as possible. One way to classify the products available is as ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ fillers. Permanent fillers have the obvious advantage of being enduring, but they do run the risk of being unalterable should you not be happy with the result. Because of this, a recent development has been the emergence of ‘semi-permanent’ fillers.
• Temporary fillers: Derived from collagen, some which come from a bovine source and some from a porcine source. For example, Radiesse®
Is dermal filling right for you?
As we age, our skin gradually loses some of its collagen and fat and our skin begins to sag and show wrinkles and lines. By replacing some of this ‘padding’, dermal fillers help to restore the skin to its former youthful appearance. The effect of dermal fillers is largely dependent on the amount of filler used, as well as your skin type, facial structure, age and lifestyle.
“Once I turned 40 my face seemed to age rapidly,” said one woman. “Years of sun, cigarettes and not enough sleep were catching up with me. After talking about it to my doctor and then a cosmetic surgeon I decided to use a dermal filler. The effect was to turn the clock back and return some vigour into my skin.”
If you are considering using dermal filler as a lip implant, you should firstly talk to your doctor and dentist to make sure that the treatment is appropriate for you. For instance, your seemingly thin lips may be due to the structure of your mouth, which will not be altered by dermal fillers.
Undergoing the dermal filler treatment
During your first visit to a clinic, you should discuss with you practitioner which filler is most appropriate for your particular requirements. Some fillers, such as bovine collagen, require a pre-treatment skin test to be carried out. This involves injecting a small amount of collagen into your forearm to see if you show an allergic response. Approximately 4% of people will have a positive result, preventing them from using bovine collagen for their treatment.
During the actual process, the filler will be applied in a series of small injections and the area gently massaged. If it is being applied in a sensitive area, a local anaesthetic cream or nerve block anaesthesia, can be used to ease the discomfort. The whole process should take no longer than one hour.
For a day or so after the procedure has taken place, the area may be a little swollen and tender. During this time it is wise to avoid coffee, alcohol, hot drinks and exposure to the sun. If you are prone to cold sores you should have some antiviral medication handy as you may experience a recurrence after undergoing the procedure. “I had dermal filler applied to both sets of crows feet,” said one patient. “Initially my eyes looked puffy and a bit sore, but this passed after 24 hours and I could discard the sunglasses!”
As with all cosmetic treatments of this nature, it is essential to follow the advice of your practitioner after the procedure. This will ensure that the outcome will be as successful as possible and reduce any risk of complications
Who should carry out your dermal filling?
In the UK, dermal fillers are categorised as medical devices, meaning that they do not require a prescription, although it is recommended that only medically qualified practitioners make use of them (as oppose to beauticians or anyone else outside the medical profession). As a consequence of this, dermal filling treatments are offered by many nurses, general practitioners, cosmetic doctors, dermatologists, plastic surgeons and even some private ophthalmologists and dentists.
Due to the numerous types of filler available, you should make sure that your practitioner has successfully completed a training course appropriate for the particular filler that you will be receiving. Not only that, he/she should be trained in applying the treatment to the specific part of the face that you require it. Typically, practitioners attending intensive courses cover a range of areas, such as patient evaluation, anaesthesia, peri-orbital lines, cheek augmentation, oral commissures, lip lines, chin augmentation and dealing with complications.
The cost of the procedure varies depending on the expertise of the practitioner, the type of dermal filler being used and the amount of filling being applied. As an guide, you can expect to pay anything from £120 to over £1,000 for a treatment.
Have your say!
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