Once the domain of film stars and celebrities, the past decade and more has opened the world of ‘dermal fillers’ to those of us who are not regularly photographed by the paparazzi but nevertheless, want to enhance or regain our best profile.
A ‘dermal filler’ creates volume in areas of the face where it has been lost through age or diet and restores a more youthful look. There are numerous techniques and products available so it takes patience and research to find which one to use and where to go for the best results. Most available products are safe and minimally invasive.
The current most commonly used filler is Hyaluronic Acid (HA) that occurs naturally in the body. It is the main ingredient in products such as Juvederm, Restylane, Teosyal, Belotero and Emervel. HA has been used for over 15 years in millions of procedures worldwide. Its versatility allows it to be used for volumising almost every area of the face. Occasional side effects of HA are bruising and swelling but they quickly disappear. Another advantage of using HA is the ease in reversing the result if necessary.
One of the concerns of dermal fillers is their longevity and the truth is, this depends on which part of the face they are used. Generally, lip volumising lasts for 6 months whereas the filling of lines around the lips as well as mid-face lines can last up to a year. Better news is that dermal filler around the eyes can remain for close to 2 years.
The second most popular filler used in the UK is Sculptra. It is a more natural procedure as it stimulates the production of the skin’s collagen. However, it takes between 3-6 months to see results and lasts about 18 months. Sculptra is more effective for larger areas of the face such as the temple hollows and the cheeks. It also provides a subtle lifting of the face. The side effects are similar to Hyaluronic Acid.
Radiesse is another dermal filler that is not used much nowadays as it doesn’t break down evenly. A relatively new product is Ellanse that is similar to Radiesse but with better absorption. However, its claims have yet to be proved over a period of time.
Dermal Fillers in the UK are not so strongly regulated as in the USA where they are rigorously tested. So before trying a new product, check first to see if it has FDA approval.
The choice of a practitioner or doctor is paramount for a successful result. A good one will know how the face changes as it ages so he/she can provide a more natural look. An explanation of complications and how they would be managed should always be provided. Do select a doctor that has performed at least 50 procedures a year. Even better, choose a clinic with a proven reputation as there is an art to enhancing a face that reflects a subtlety and refinement that simply causes friends to quizzically comment, ‘you are looking very well’.
The cost of dermal fillers varies but the minimum would be £250 for one area of the face. And a good clinic should be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Adviser : Dr. Asif Hussein MBBS DHMSA DipDerm FASLMS GDipLaw PgDip Legal Practice
Cosmetic Dermatology & Laser Surgery
Medical Director sk:n London, Victoria
Honorary Lecturer Queen Mary University, London