While pulling skin tight can reduce the appearance of facial lines, filling wrinkles and creases in can get rid of them, too. That’s the idea behind non-surgical, hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Jacobs Center. Patients who have facial folds that would be considered moderate to severe can benefit from an injection that plumps up problem areas and rounds them out.
Collagen is a protein in your skin that helps to gives it elasticity (in addition to elastin), maintains its structure, and keeps it hydrated. As you age, collagen begins to wear out, and your skin no longer bounces back as readily as it once did. Wrinkles form, parts of the face sink in, and the years begin to show. Once a person reaches their 20s, their skin begins to generate about 1 percent less collagen every year.
Injections of dermal fillers, such as the Juvederm® collection, which includes Ultra® XC and Voluma®, can restore volume to such problem areas, reviving that youthful, elastic look.
Despite the common misconception, not all injectables are the same. Neurotoxins like BOTOX® Cosmetic are good for wrinkles caused by facial muscle activity. Injectable dermal fillers, on the other hand, address signs of aging or damage that result from other causes, such as excess sun exposure. The shape of the face gradually shifts thanks to time, the force of gravity, and external forms of damage, including UV radiation. This is partially due to changes in bone structure, but fat and skin also play a major role.
It’s common for the fat pads under the skin to grow thinner, the skin to slide downward, and jowls and a double chin to form around the jawline area. It’s also common for the areas around the eyes, temples, and cheeks to develop a hollow look. The face may develop more of an inverted triangle shape, as the once full cheeks flatten.
Dermal fillers can restore the pleasing and balanced contours associated with a rounded, youthful face. Some formulas are ideal for enhancing areas, such as the apple of the cheeks. Others were developed to allow for more detailed work, since the overall quality of the skin also deteriorates over time, becoming thinner, drier, and less elastic. This is partially due to lower levels of collagen and elastin. Dermal fillers address moderate to severe lines, wrinkles, and creases caused by these changes.
Among the range of available dermal fillers, there are options that can correct fine lines in delicate areas, as well as soften the severity of recessed scars.
There are different techniques involved in different dermal filler sessions, with details depending on the specific type of fillers being used. That said, there are some general steps common to all of the options.
Before any patient begins a treatment plan, Dr. Jacobs completes a facial assessment to evaluate overall skin tone, the current look of the face, the patient’s desired results, and the specific area or areas of concern.
For the treatment itself, the face is properly cleaned. Injections used for dermal fillers are usually very well tolerated, and there is very little prep work or aftercare required. If someone is unhappy with any aspect of their results, hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can be dissolved. The goal is to create subtle results that blend in well with the patient’s facial characteristics.
Dr. Jacobs can explain your specific recovery timeline and provide you with instructions that focus on your unique treatment and results. Effects from dermal filler injections are visible right away, but it’s normal to experience some level of swelling, bruising, and numbness for a few days after a session. In most cases, patients will be able to return to their normal activities as soon as they’d like. However, to prevent swelling or bruising, avoid heavy exercise for two days after getting dermal fillers.
Ideal dermal filler candidates are in a good state of health, refrain from smoking, and have realistic goals. Patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have infections in the face should consider other options.
Dermal fillers are minimally invasive, relatively superficial treatments and are usually well tolerated, but have uses intended for specific conditions of a certain degree. For instance, fillers may not be the best choice for those with pronounced jowls or heavy bags around the eyes.
Dermal fillers are good for fixing early signs of aging related to the breakdown of collagen fibers, but they are temporary solutions. Other options are typically better for more advanced stages of aging. For dramatic, longer-lasting facial rejuvenation to remove and tighten skin or restructure the facial tissues, a facelift or eyelid surgery may be the better option.
In addition to collagen, your body makes something called hyaluronic acid, which helps to maintain that pliant, smooth look. Since the molecule is depleted over time in the skin, it can be replaced either by a product that contains hyaluronic acid or that mimics hyaluronic acid. Dr. Jacobs and his staff will work with you to determine exactly what look you are hoping to achieve on your face and select the best dermal filler from there.
There are several places a hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler might be injected. It may be used to treat various concerns, including laugh lines that run from your nose to the corners of your mouth, marionette lines that run from the corners of your mouth to your chin, and lipstick lines that run between your nose and your upper lip.
Hyaluronic acid-based gel is also very well suited for filling in isolated sunken spaces at the corners of your mouth and restoring fullness to your cheeks to create some lift and a more youthful look.
Volbella® is used for fine, superficial lines and creases, such as lines around your lips, or for adding subtle volume to the lips themselves. It is less dense than some other, popular dermal fillers. Since Voluma® is the densest, it is used for the cheeks and lasts the longest—about two years. Other Juvederm® injections are next in density, so they can be used in the orbits, lips, and folds and last about six to 12 months if used properly. Dr. Jacobs recommends a “booster” shot of these dermal fillers at two to three months after your first treatment. This allows the molecules to bind to one another.
If the first shot is the foundation of the house, the second is the walls and roof. If done that way, initial results from dermal fillers can last 10 or more months, and patients only need to come in once a year for maintenance. This avoids the puffy, overinflated look you sometimes see in people’s lips. A natural look is always preferred by our office.