Volumizing facial fillers at a glance

Aging can cause wrinkles and loss of skin volume, which results in leathery, sagging skin. Fortunately, there are noninvasive treatments that help you get back fuller, firmer and smoother skin. Soft-tissue fillers restore lost volume while aiding in the production of collagen, the body proteins responsible for skin strength and elasticity.

What are fillers?

Fillers are FDA-approved injectables made from collagen, fats and soft tissue- compatible gel substances. They are injected into the skin to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and folds. They also fill sunken cheeks, chin and scars. Fillers have been used for lip augmentation and nonsurgical nose lifts.

Collagen. Collagen products help replenish skin tissue fibers that give skin its structure. Supplementing the degraded skin with more collagen improves skin integrity and volume. Sources used may be from bovine (cattle) or human collagen.

Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid in the body helps to regenerate skin cells. Hyaluronic acid products used as fillers easily bind with water, creating a fuller effect on skin and lips. This filler in crystal-clear gel form fills hollow areas of the face, giving contour to the cheeks and chin. It also corrects wrinkles around the eyes, reduces deep folds in the area of the nose and mouth and creates plumper lips.

Autologous fat (one’s own fat). Fat from other parts of the body, such as the thighs, buttocks or stomach, is removed through a localized liposuction to fill sunken or sagging areas and recreate the contours of the face.

Calcium hydroxyapatite. This semipermanent filler has calcium-based microspheres suspended in natural gel and may last up to two years. It can recede skin folds around the mouth and nose. This longer-lasting filler raises depressed scars or contours or augments the chin and holds a nose lift in place.

Implants. Derived from biosynthetic materials and collagen, implants have a more permanent effect in reducing deep facial grooves and folds. They are inserted under the skin and can serve as a foundation for other fillers that may be added.

Although each filler has its own distinct target tissues and effects, they are often used in combinations or together with other facial rejuvenation techniques for overall optimal results. Maintenance treatments are generally performed after three to six months.