Full cheeks, smooth skin, plump lips: Some people have them naturally, while others get a little help from their Medical Spa like Defy Nature in New London, CT that specializes in dermal fillers. If you can’t quite tell which category a celebrity or someone you know fits into, well, that’s the point. The latest injectable treatments are easy to get (if not cheap), long lasting, and designed for subtlety. They’re also perfectly safe, but if you’re curious about fillers, these are the things to know before getting pumped up.
1. Fillers made from hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the skin can be anti-aging favorites.
First things first: Dermal fillers aren’t the same as neurotoxins like Botox and Dysport. The latter type “freezes” muscles to reduce wrinkles, while fillers smooth out skin by filling wrinkles. Collagen can be used as a common lasting filler like Bellafill and then there are well-known HA fillers like Restylane and Juvéderm that use hyaluronic acid. Thanks to its ability to store moisture, hyaluronic acid is responsible for giving skin a plump, hydrated look. It’s used topically to moisturize, but a cream or serum can’t restore lost volume—only injectable hyaluronic acid can. Once injected it can add to the natural plumping action, or replenish your body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid, which diminishes as you age.
2. One injection can make skin look plumper and smoother for several months, and maybe longer.
One of the reasons injectable hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers are increasingly popular is their ability to add volume and decrease wrinkles with a single visit to the injector. Results typically last for 12 to 18 months, depending on the location of the injection. Research suggests that HA injections may stimulate collagen production, leading to fresher-looking skin in the long run.
3. Good fillers are invisible.
Trout fish pout and duck lips are a surefire sign of filler. But when expertly injected, fillers should look natural. “The changes we can make are so subtle that nobody would notice,” says Kristin Kenny, a Register Nurse Injector at Defy Nature in New London, CT. “Instead of seeing filler, they’d say, ‘Oh, I never noticed your eyes were green.’ “Subtlety is the goal.”
4. That’s in part because filler techniques have gotten better.
Take the lines around your mouth, for example. A decade or so ago, fillers were often injected into the nasolabial folds, or laugh lines, to literally fill the wrinkles themselves. These days, the goal is to plump and lift in other parts of the face for a more natural-looking result. “As you age, your bones get thinner, and the overlying fat pads slide down,” which makes the skin sag lower, causing deeper folds at the bottoms of your cheeks, says Kristin. She often injects Restylane Lyft right near the cheekbone to restore fullness, which lifts the face, reducing the look of smile lines in the process.
5. It matters who does your filler.
Injection is an art, so you want to find an artist whose work you like. That’s why it pays to do more than a Yelp search for recommendations. “People are starting to be more open about injectables,” Kristin says. During the complimentary consultation at Defy Nature, she advises patients to see before-and-after photographs of real patients. Every practitioner has different philosophies, techniques, and levels of experience. Be sure you communicate about realistic results and your expectations—it’s your face, after all. Dermal fillers are now only legally administered in CT at physicians’ offices & medical spas. Keep in mind you should see only see trained, licensed medical professionals for any injectable treatment. Just like any medical procedure, there are risks for infection, discoloration, and lumps if injections are done incorrectly.
6. Fillers can be used for prevention as well as to treat lines you already have.
Though there is absolutely no need to go running out for fillers before you even see your first wrinkle, people are starting treatments younger than ever before. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, in 2015, the majority of member facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectable treatments in patients under age 30. Many professionals in the aesthetic industry say that starting relatively young may have benefits. “It depends on the person, but I think earlier is better.” Kristin says. “Looking at my patient population, there’s no question that those who started earlier with small amounts are aging differently than people who didn’t. It’s much better to play the game of prevention than the game of correction.” But keep in mind, there are other ways to prevent aging, including wearing sunscreen and using retinol.
7. Different fillers do different things.
While the bulk of filler is made with hyaluronic acid, different particle sizes will deliver different results. “Restylane Lyft has larger particle sizes – think of them like the bricks of a foundation,” Kristin says. Those larger particles have the heft to “rebuild” thinned cheekbones, while a smaller particle size, as in Restylane Silk, works better for addressing fine lines and plumping lips. Know that the most natural-looking results may require more than one weight of filler.
9. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you see a deal for inexpensive filler, be skeptical less than that, something’s off. You have to be careful that counterfeit and diluted fillers do exist. If the price seems too good to be true, there is a reason why. The price of these fillers varies depending on the amount of product needed—expect a treatment to run anywhere from $650 to $2,000.
10. If you love the look of your fillers, you’ll have to keep going back for more.
After about six months, the hyaluronic acid fillers are naturally broken down by the body. So, you have to get touchups once or twice a year to maintain the look. However, this is good news if you’re just want to try fillers once or twice since the effects will fade away without any long-term risks. It’s important to note that getting filler doesn’t stop your skin from aging completely, so you could need more filler to get the same results over time. If you want longer lasting results, ask for Bellafill, an FDA approved Five Year Filler.