Dermal fillers have become increasingly popular among aesthetic treatments as a way to restore volume and reduce the signs of aging. While they offer remarkable results, it’s important to understand that they’re not a permanent solution.
In this blog post, I’ll explain why dermal fillers have a limited lifespan and delve into the factors that influence their longevity, including the brand and product used, treatment areas, and patient lifestyle.
What Are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal fillers are injectable substances that replenish lost volume and enhance facial contours. These fillers are carefully injected into specific areas to smooth wrinkles, plump the lips, and restore a youthful appearance.
They come in various formulations, affecting how long your filler results will last.
How Long Do Dermal Fillers Last?
While other factors contribute to the longevity of a dermal filler treatment, the filler’s ingredients play a significant role in determining its durability.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers: These gel fillers create instant volume, filling in fine lines, wrinkles, and deep facial folds. Because HA helps your skin retain moisture, these fillers are fairly durable, typically lasting between 6 and 18 months. Popular HA-based fillers include JUVÉDERM®, Restylane®, RHA®, and Belotero® products.
- Calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) fillers: Fillers like Radiesse® produce results that last a year or more. This long-lasting effect is due to the filler’s ability to spur collagen production, which helps the skin look more supple and firm. Radiesse can be also used as a biostimulatory agent, improving both elastin and collagen on and off the face!
- Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) fillers: Biostimulators like PLLA-based Sculptra® often provide results that last up to 2 years, helping to strengthen the skin’s underlying structure with increased collagen production.
- Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) fillers: More commonly known as Bellafill®, this biostimulator offers the longest-lasting results, smoothing nasolabial folds and diminishing moderate to severe acne scars on the cheeks for up to 5 years.
Of course, the length of your results isn’t the only issue your injector considers when determining the right dermal filler for you. They also consider the condition of your skin, your treatment area, your aesthetic goals, and a host of other factors before they recommend a filler for your treatment.
What Can Dermal Fillers Treat?
Dermal fillers are versatile tools in the world of aesthetic treatments, offering solutions to a range of concerns, as you can see in the photos below.
Let’s explore some of the conditions they can treat and their aesthetic uses:
Wrinkles and Fine Lines: Dermal fillers are commonly used to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, particularly those caused by aging, sun exposure, or repetitive facial movements. By plumping up the skin, fillers smooth out these imperfections and restore a more youthful appearance.
Nasolabial Folds: Nasolabial folds, often referred to as smile lines or laugh lines, are the lines that extend from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth. Dermal fillers are injected into these areas to soften the folds and create a more harmonious facial contour.
Marionette Lines: Marionette lines are the vertical creases that run from the corners of the mouth to the chin, often giving the mouth a downturned appearance. Dermal fillers are strategically placed in these areas to lift the corners of the mouth and reduce the prominence of these lines.
Tear Troughs: Tear troughs are the hollow areas beneath the eyes that can create a tired or sunken appearance. Dermal fillers are carefully injected to fill in these hollows, reducing the shadowing and rejuvenating the under-eye area.
Lip Enhancement: Dermal fillers are often used to enhance the lips, adding volume, definition, and symmetry. Whether you desire fuller lips or want to improve their shape and proportions, fillers can help you achieve your desired look.
Cheek Augmentation: Loss of volume in the cheeks is a common sign of aging. Dermal fillers restore volume to the mid-face, providing a more youthful, lifted appearance.
Hand Rejuvenation: The hands are often overlooked in anti-aging treatments. Dermal fillers can restore volume to the back of the hands, minimizing the appearance of veins and tendons for a more youthful look.
Neck Laxity and Horizontal Neck Lines (a.k.a. “Tech Neck”): As we age and with sun damage, the delicate skin of the neck loses elasticity as well as firmness leading to a crepey appearance with laxity. Injections of Hyaluronic acid fillers combined with biostimulatory agents such as Radiesse can help to improve firmness and reduce the appearance of lines by stimulating production of collagen and elastin.
Chest and Décolletage: Crepey skin with vertical and diagonal lines on the chest can be greatly improved with fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse. A series of 2-3 treatment sessions can greatly rejuvenate this area!
Buttocks: Whether you want more volume or to simply improve that “hip dip,” a series of injections with Sculptra can improve the dimpled appearance in your buttocks, add volume and even lift your buttocks.
Thighs and Inner Upper Arms: The appearance of dimpling in the backs of our thighs, cellulite, and crepey wrinkled upper inner arms can be minimized with a series of Sculptra or Radiesse injections.
Why Aren’t Dermal Fillers Permanent?
Dermal fillers undergo a natural breakdown process within the body over time. The duration of their effectiveness varies depending on factors we’ve already discussed, as well as the thickness of your skin, your body’s natural ability to metabolize the filler, how deeply the filler is injected, and more.
What Factors Affect the Longevity of Dermal Fillers?
Several important factors that influence dermal filler longevity include:
Brand and Products Used
The choice of filler product plays a significant role in determining how long the results will last. As we’ve discussed, different fillers have varying compositions, densities, and viscosities. Some fillers are specifically designed to provide longer-lasting results compared to others. Your experienced injector can help determine the most suitable filler for your needs and goals.
The location of the filler treatment also affects its longevity. Areas of the face with more movement, such as the lips and nasolabial folds, may require more frequent touch-ups because the filler breaks down faster due to constant muscle activity. On the other hand, areas with less movement, like the cheeks and temples, tend to retain results longer.
The lifestyle of the patient can influence the longevity of dermal fillers. Certain habits, such as smoking and excessive sun exposure, can accelerate the breakdown of fillers. The lack of a proper skincare routine or a poor diet can also impact how long the results last. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper skincare habits, can help prolong the effects of dermal fillers.
By understanding the factors that influence the longevity of dermal fillers, you can make informed decisions and manage your expectations accordingly. Dermal fillers may not last forever, but they can help you achieve a refreshed and youthful look when used skillfully and in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
Schedule a Consultation
If you’d like to speak with a board-certified dermatologist about how dermal fillers can enhance your appearance, call our Washington, DC, dermatology office today at (202) 393-7546 or request a consultation.