We hear a lot in the news about BOTOX® Cosmetic and how popular it is, but not so much about the advantages of facial fillers, also called dermal fillers. They do not work the same way as BOTOX® Cosmetic. Instead of temporarily paralyzing the muscle used for frowning, for example, and thus helping to smooth out the frown lines, fillers provide bulk beneath the skin.

Facial fillers work in different ways to plump up the skin. One group of fillers is based on hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally in the body. It attracts water, bonding to it and holding it to itself.

When used in a filler such as Restylane, Captique, or Hylaform, hyaluronic acid pulls water to the treated skin area. This has the effect of “swelling” the area – giving it a fuller and more youthful look. There is no problem with the body rejecting the filler, as our bodies are familiar with hyaluronic acid.

Another group of fillers uses collagen, another substance found naturally in the body. In youthful skin, collagen, a fibrous protein, occurs in a matrix with elastin, another protein, that gives the skin its elasticity. This matrix supports the skin surface, keeping it smooth. As we age, the body produces less collagen and elastin, so the matrix develops gaps and the skin begins to sink into them – this is one of the causes of wrinkles.

Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast are collagen-based facial fillers that restore strength to the matrix and help to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance.

Yet another approach is taken by fillers that use tiny particles. An example is Radiesse. It uses tiny spheres of calcium hydroxyapatite in a water-based gel. When Dr. Rai injects it beneath the skin surface, the gel immediately plumps up the skin. Over a few days, the body absorbs the gel but then the microspheres take over the job. They fill in gaps in the collagen/elastin matrix and help it keep the skin surface smooth.

Another filler in this group is Sculptra, which uses poly-lactic acid. It forms crystals that add thickness to the skin’s middle layer, the dermis, and also stimulate the skin to produce more new cells.

All filler treatments need to be repeated for long-term benefit. Each individual treatment lasts from about four to 12 or 18 months, depending on which filler is used. Dr. Rai can advise you on which one would do the best job for you.

Please contact our Dallas, Texas office today if you would like to have a free consultation with Dr. Rai.