Don’t you just love it when a well meaning friend tells you that you look tired, when in actuality you just had the best night’s sleep since Foreigner’s 1985 Summer/Fall tour?
If you get that reference, then you’ve been around long enough to know that after a certain age, feeling rested doesn’t equate to looking rested. Botox can smooth out the wrinkles, but what to do about the loss of volume? That’s where fillers come in.
What are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal Filler, commonly referred to as ‘ filler’, is a non-animal biodegradable gel composed of hyaluronic acid, and is used to add volume to your face to correct the signs of aging.
Not to be confused with Botox, which is used to paralyze muscles in your face to avoid forming wrinkles and creases, filler is injected into the soft tissue of your face to add dimension to areas of your face that have begun to lose volume and sag.
What Fillers Do
As we reach our thirties we lose about 1% of collagen per year, making our skin thinner and less elastic. As an added bonus, the fat in our face atrophies while we lose bone mass from facial bones, making us seem gaunt and tired looking. Phew!!
Sounds traumatic when you break it down, but here’s where dermal filler comes to the rescue. Dermal fillers can treat:
- Lift Droopy Brows
- Narrow Forehead (to even out a bottom heavy face)
- Aging Hands
- Thin Lips
- Nasolabial Folds
- Lax Jawline
- Bumpy Nose
- Droopy Eyelids
- Under Eye Circles & Bags
- Sunken Cheeks
Today I’m going to put filler in my nasolabial folds and jaw line. Those are those parentheses that extend from the side of your nose down to your jawline aka “smile lines”or “marionette lines”. The longer you ignore them, the deeper they get. Like this:
Mine aren’t as bad as they could be because I learned years ago how to manage them. But, this time I left them a bit longer than usual for the purpose of this exercise.
As I like to stress, preventative maintenance is important. You can put out a small fire with a garden hose and a cup of water, but let it grow and you’ll need the fire hydrant down the block to get it under control – catch my drift?
In this case the ‘garden hose’ is a filler called Juvederm, and it was used to fill in the folds by adding temporary volume around my nose and jawline. This photo was taken right after the injection and the difference is subtle but defined, right?
Can we agree that it’s useful? So let me tell you a bit about it.
What to Expect When Getting Filler
Getting filler can be scary the first time, mainly because anything involving a needle can be intimidating, right? Here’s how it goes down.
First, the doctor or practitioner will ask you the areas you wish to address. She will explain to you realistic expectations of the outcome and the cost. If you agree, the nurse will apply numbing cream to the areas being treated.
After the numbing cream takes affect, about 15 or 20 minutes, the filler is injected. The practitioner will use a partial syringe, or several depending on the area being treated. I used a little more than one for my nasolabial folds and my jaw line.
After the fillers are injected, the practitioner will manipulate it with his/her fingers to sculpt it for the best effect and then you’re done. You’ve been filled!
It may pinch a little but it doesn’t hurt much at all. You may experience light bruising, but a good injector will do their best to avoid this by injecting around obvious veins to make sure that it is minimal. You also may have slight swelling but nothing noticeable.
Regardless if you swell or not, you can expect for the area to go down a bit, as some of the product gets absorbed into your body. How much differs for everyone.
Which Areas Can You Treat With Fillers ?
Practically anywhere! In this case, I put it in my nasolabial folds and jowl area, but in other cases it can be put in the hollows under your eyes, the lack of projection in your cheekbones, you can even straighten out that bump on your nose – the possibilities are limitless!
What is the Cost of Fillers ?
There are many different brands of fillers and usually your doctor will have a favorite and will choose from those when recommending the one that best suits your needs.
The cost should range from $350-$550 per syringe. Some offices let you use a partial syringe then save the rest for next time. Not all offices do this though and will just find places to inject what’s left over but trust me, you do not want to be overfilled.
Also, why pay for something you don’t need? So always make sure that the doctor you use stores your left over filler for future use.
Also, keep in mind that the first time you get fillers you will need to use more than on a regular visit in order to build up a good base to add onto later.
TIP: Allergan, the manufacturer of a leading brand of filler called Juvederm™ has the Brilliant Distinctions Program and whenever you use any of their products you get points that translate into discounts. For example, when I went this time I got $30 from points!
Brands of Fillers
I have to be honest, I have no preference in the brand of filler. The ones that I’ve tried are Juvederm, Restalyne, Radiesse, Perlane and something-I’m-not-quite-sure-of-in-this-Brazilian-lady’s-condo.
Juvederm is made by the same company that makes Botox™ Cosmetic, Allergan™ and is used to treat smile lines, corner lines, marionette lines, and those little vertical lines above your lip. There are several types offered:
- Juvederm Ultra XC – perfect for fine lines and lasts up to one year
- Juvederm Ultra Plus XC – better for deeper lines and lasts up to one year
- Juvederm Voluma XC – first and only FDA-approved correcting age-related volume loss in the cheek area and is effective for up to two years.
The are also Juvederm Ultra and Juvederm Ultra plus, without the XC, but the XC versions have lidocaine in the mix, making it more comfortable to inject. I haven’t come across a doctors office that uses the non XC version anymore.
Radiesse is for long term girls! It not only fills in your your smile lines and adds volume to your cheeks in the short term, but promotes the growth of your own natural collagen in the long term. It’s said to last 18 months and costs about $550 per syringe.
Restylane and Restylane-L – This product is made by Q-med and is great for your laugh lines, marionette lines,lipstick lines and is the only FDA approved products for perfecting that gorgeous pout.
Angelina Jolie doesn’t have to be the only beauty with those lips ladies! The only difference between Restylane and Restylane-L is that Restylane-L has lidocaine in the filler that numbs as it’s injected.
NOTE: Be very careful if ever injecting your lips or else you could end up looking like Goldie in ‘First Wives Club’!
Perlane and Perlane-L are fillers also made by Q-med. It has larger molecules than the Juvederm or Restylane so it is generally used for more severe wrinkles and folds. It costs a bit more per syringe but since you use less you can expect more bang for your buck.
The “L” also stands for lidocaine so if you use the Perlane-L it will feel a lot more comfortable than the Perlane.
Belotero is one of the most fillers being offered. It’s claim to fame is that it is more malleable to work with so can be used for anywhere including those little wrinkles close to your eyes, over your lips and between your brows.
Mysterious-stuff-injected-in-this-Brazilian-ladies-condo – What is in it? No one knows for sure, is super inexpensive with adequate results until 20 years later when you find an unidentifiable mass in your forehead that needs to be surgically removed .
NOTE: That last bit was meant for humor but it’s a true story of stupidity in my 20’s. I’ll get into it more in another article but basically make it a rule of thumb to go somewhere established with a real doctor on board and not a friend of a friend’s guest bedroom.
Choosing a Dermal Filler
When deciding which filler to go with I would recommend starting out with Radiesse. Mainly because you will get the temporary fill but at the same time you will start producing more of your own collagen. Since you are not a ‘seasoned filler’ this may be enough to keep you happy for a couple of years. It’s also a good base to start out with when building up.
For touch ups I like any of the rest. If I’ve let it go longer and know I will need to add more volume I like Perlane because the viscosity enables you to get more bang for your buck.
But truthfully, it’s important that you use the filler that your doctor of choice is comfortable using and recommends. Fillers, are for the most part, created equal.
Dermal Filler Tips:
– There is nothing that fills the voids in your face like filler.
– Make sure that your office of choice saves your extra filler for use another time.
– LESS IS MORE. YOU CAN ALWAYS ADD MORE LATER.