Since the 1980s, dermal fillers have been used to address fine lines and wrinkles and plump up the lips. Originally made from bovine collagen, these first fillers had the potential to cause allergic reactions and results did not always last as long as patients would like.
In 2004, hyaluronic acid fillers became approved by the FDA and they took the dermatological world by storm. Since hyaluronic acid is a substance found naturally in the body, it is a clear winner to help fill in lines and wrinkles, as well as improve facial volume. Another key benefit with hyaluronic acid is that there is little risk for allergic reaction.
Two of the common types of fillers we see in patients are HLA (hyaluronic acid) and PLLA (poly-L-lactic acid). Hyaluronic acid fillers are considered replacement fillers because they replace the volume that is lost naturally as our skin ages over time. These types of fillers typically offer instant improvement and results that last, on average, six to nine months. With hyaluronic acid fillers, there is minimal collagen stimulation. PLLA fillers are used when there is a significant loss of volume. They first became FDA-approved to aid in the loss of facial volume that is often seen in HIV patients. In addition to adding volume to the face, PLLA fillers also help stimulate collagen production. Results from PLLA fillers are often seen gradually over time.
Determining the type of filler that is necessary is an important part of the initial consultation. During this appointment, the patient is asked to explain his or her concerns and discuss what their ideal outcome is. Many younger patients (particularly women) come in looking for lip enhancement, which can be done easily and effectively with hyaluronic acid fillers. Patients who are starting to notice minimal volume loss may also still be prime candidates for hyaluronic fillers. Generally, the most common areas of early volume loss are in the cheeks, under the eyes and in the nasolabial folds. Once patients start entering the 40s, 50s, or 60s, significant volume loss can occur. For many of these patients, PLLA fillers are great because they can continually improve results over time and tend to have a bit more longevity.
Regardless of the particular need, dermal fillers are a great way for patients of all ages to enjoy skin rejuvenation. For patients who are interested in more information, please contact the team at Dr. Edmund Kwan’s New York office.