- Dermal fillers made with hyaluronic acid
- Dermal fillers made with polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
- Dermal fillers made with calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA)
- Dermal fillers made with poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA)
- Facial fillers are useful tools to augment the face without surgery
If you are considering getting dermal fillers to contour your face or enhance your facial features, you may have questions about them. This is natural, since it can feel like once you insert something in your body, it’s there for good.
In this article we’ll explain what four common facial fillers are made of, as well as whether or not these ingredients are safe.
1) Dermal fillers made with hyaluronic acid
Most dermal fillers on the market today are made with hyaluronic acid (HA). Hyaluronic acid is a type of sugar polymer that is produced naturally by the body. It has a very safe profile when used medicinally, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally gel-like. When viewed under a microscope, it has long chains, giving it plenty of ‘nooks’ for water to bind to it. Thus, hyaluronic acid is often used as a lubricant or humectant in skin care.
When formulated as an injectable dermal filler, hyaluronic acid is made into a thick gel so it can add volume under the skin.
This type of dermal injection is safe as long as it is administered by a nurse injector or trained physician.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are temporary, lasting between 16 – 18 months. They can be dissolved if you don’t like their results.
A popular hyaluronic acid filler is Juvéderm®.
2) Dermal fillers made with polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is a polymer that is biocompatible with our bodies, and is BPA free. It can also be known as “bone cement,” when used in other medicinal contexts. For example, it can be used for tooth fillings or to connect bones to implants. Nowadays, it is also used as a facial filler to help contour the face. It can treat deep folds and lines in the skin. This substance is often combined with collagen to help further volumize the face.
The benefit of PMMA fillers is that they last much longer than most other facial fillers. They can last up to 5 years. However, because PMMA fillers are semi-permanent in this way, it is extremely important that they are administered by a specially-trained injector. If this type of facial filler is inserted incorrectly, complications can arise (as is the case with all facial fillers).
PMMA fillers can only be removed surgically, once injected.
A popular PMMA filler is Bellafill®.
3) Dermal fillers made with calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA)
Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) is a synthetic but non-toxic, biocompatible substance that is similar in composition to the minerals found in bones. When combined with a water-based gel, it can be used as a dermal filler to add volume to the face. This can then smooth wrinkles and contour curves, such as the jawbone, cheekbone or temples.
The main way that CaHA fillers work is by forcing the body to form collagen around their microspheres. This provides a more natural way to lift and firm the face. After about 1 year, it is dissolved by the body.
CaHA fillers have been used for over a decade as facial fillers, and have a very good safety profile.
A popular CaHA filler is Radiesse®.
4) Dermal fillers made with poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA)
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is also synthetically made, yet biocompatible and biodegradable. In medicine, this substance has been commonly used for sutures or implants. It acts by forcing the body to create its own collagen. This gives your face a more natural lift where wrinkles and folds appear. When it was first released as a dermal filler, it was used to treat HIV patients who had lost volume in their face.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) can last between 18 months and 3 years, by some claims. This can make it a long-lasting filler that requires less maintenance than hyaluronic acid facial fillers.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) has a well-demonstrated safety profile, most notably because of its common use and history in medicine. But again, how it is injected matters. So, always seek a qualified practitioner.
A popular PLLA filler is Sculptra®.
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Facial fillers are useful tools to augment the face without surgery
The main thing that makes facial fillers safe is their ability to augment the face without surgery. Surgery comes with risks of complications. While dermal fillers are subject to side effects, these are mostly based on allergies or the technique of the injector. They are generally safe. That said, you should always make sure that the type or brand of dermal filler you opt to receive has been researched for safety and efficacy.