Dermal fillers, sometimes called soft tissue fillers, are substances designed to be injected beneath the surface of the skin to add volume and fullness.
Substances used in dermal fillers include:
- Calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a mineral-like compound found in bones.
- Hyaluronic acid, which is found in some fluids and tissues in the body that add plumpness to the skin.
- Polyalkylimide, a transparent gel that is compatible with the body.
- Polylactic acid, which stimulates the skin to make more collagen.
- Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA), a semi-permanent filler
Each one of these is designed to treat different signs of aging or other cosmetic issues.
The time they take to work, as well as how long they last, also vary. Some fillers last 6 months, while others last up to 2 years or longer.
People should discuss their individual needs and expectations with their doctor to determine what filler would be the best choice for them.
What can dermal fillers correct?
Different types of dermal fillers are designed to treat varying signs of aging. Depending on the filler selected, they may:
- plump up thinning lips
- enhance or fill in shallow areas on the face
- decrease or remove the shadow or wrinkle under the eyes caused by the lower eyelid
- fill in or soften the look of recessed scars
- fill in or soften static wrinkles, especially on the lower face
Static wrinkles include those around the mouth and along the cheeks. These wrinkles are usually a result of a loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin.
Dermal filler risks and considerations
Dermal fillers are considered to be safe but side effects can occur. The most common problems include:
- skin rash, itching, or pimple-like eruptions
- redness, bruising, bleeding, or swelling
- undesirable appearance, such as asymmetry, lumps, or overcorrection of wrinkles
- skin damage that causes a wound, infection, or scarring
- ability to feel the filler substance under the skin
- blindness or other vision problems
- death of skin cells due to loss of blood flow to the area