Everything you need to know about fillers
Having been around for decades, fillers naturally comes to mind when looking to shave off some years from your face, to look fresher and more awake. We speak to Dr Low Chai Ling, founder and medical director of SW1 clinic to share the key things you need to know before getting fillers – a procedure meant to minimise the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles.
What are fillers?
Fillers are commonly made of hyaluronic acid, which is an ingredient already naturally found in the skin. It’s because of its ability to store moisture that hyaluronic acid is a much sought-after ingredient for its ability to give skin a plump and hydrated appearance.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are a gel-like substance that helps to create volume in the skin. Once injected into the skin, they get to work by attracting water molecules and hydrating the surrounding tissue.
What is filler used for?
When it was first introduced, fillers were used to treat facial lines and creases. More recently, other uses for fillers have been introduced, such as augmenting and enhancing facial features, creating sharper cheekbones, more defined jawlines and straighter noses.
Fillers have also been used for other more non-conventional parts of the body such as the décolletage, neck and hands to rejuvenate crépey skin.
Are fillers and Botox the same?
They are often mistaken for each other as both are often used to minimised lines and wrinkles. In reality they work very differently. Fillers as its name suggests adds volume and plump the skin. Botox on the other hand works by temporarily blocking nerve signals in the muscles at the point of injection to restrict movement when then minimises the appearance of these facial lines.
Where are fillers used?
Fillers come in different consistencies to treat different parts of the face and to achieve different results. Firm fillers are used to create volume and shape to the face, medium-firm fillers are used to reduce the appearance of creases, and soft fillers are used in the superficial layers of the dermis to smooth out wrinkles, plump and hydrate the skin.
It is important to check with your doctor doing the fillers if they are using a cannula – a blunt tube that deposits filler underneath the skin and can be used to treat any part of the face, such as tear troughs, cheeks, jawline or lips. A cannula minimises the risks of bleeding and bruising and ensures that important veins and arteries are not pierced during a filler procedure.
What can you expect from fillers?
Be clear with your doctor what you are expecting from the procedure. It is possible to achieve a natural appearance with fillers, with the right amount and with the right doctor who understands good aesthetics.
After a filler treatment, it’s normal to experience some swelling and bruising but despite that, you will see an immediate difference in the shape and volume of the treated area. Results should improve as the swelling and fillers settle.
How long do fillers last?
Every face is different and everyone metabolises fillers differently. In general you can expect fillers to last anywhere between 6 and 18 months.
What is the best filler to use?
Popular and trusted brands include Juvederm, Belotero, Restylane and Teosyal. Such fillers are FDA-approved in the United States for being safe and effective. Doctors may have a specific preference for different brands do not hesitate in asking your doctor about they type of filler they are using. Your practitioner should be well versed with the properties of different types of fillers and how they can effect different parts of the faces differently.
Do your research
Be sure to do your research on the doctor you are entrusting filler treatments with. It’s perfectly acceptable to request for before-and-after photographs of real patients prior to the treatment. Be open with your doctor and let him/ her know what kind of results you are expecting. Do ask what product will be used and the reasons for the product choice, how much will be injected, the technique of injection (needle or cannula?), how long are results likely to last and if there are any risks and side effects. You might also like to ask your doctor on alternative treatment options that are suitable for you.
Your doctor should also be frank and let you know what can be done if things were to go wrong. You must be fully confident with the clinic and doctor of your choice.
Less is more
When it comes to fillers, less is more, especially if you’re after a subtle and natural looking appearance. When done well and correctly, fillers should not be obvious or visible to the eye – it should feel and look like your own skin but plumper. Never feel pressured to have more filler injected into your skin than what you are comfortable with.
Fillers are reversible
If you aren’t happy with your fillers at the end of the day, the good news is that it can be dissolved with hyaluronidase.
Are there any risks of using fillers over a long period of time?
To date there hasn’t been any evidence to suggest that long-term use of fillers is harmful to the body. The ingredient hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body, when it is injected, it is accepted by our bodies as being natural.