Injectable wrinkle fillers are soft tissue fillers that are injected into the skin to give you a more youthful appearance. They fill in lines and wrinkles that are the result of aging, smoking, sun exposure and gravity. The typical procedure takes less than thirty minutes and results last up to a year.
While Botox injections work by relaxing muscles, injectable wrinkle fillers use substances that fill in lines and creases and add volume to facial features. They can be used to plump up cheeks and lips, soften facial features and reduce saggy skin. Often, they are used in conjunction with other skin treatment procedures (e.g., facelifts and Botox injections).
A variety of substances are used as wrinkle fillers. All are absorbed by the body over time, which means repeated injections are necessary to maintain results. These include:
- Collagen. A natural protein that is found in the skin and tissues.
- Hyaluronic acid. A natural lubricating gel the body produces to plump the skin.
- Calcium hydroxylapatite. A mineral found in bone; it is biodegradable and implanted as a gel.
- Poly-L-lactic acid. A synthetic material made from alpha-hydroxy acid that has been used in medical procedures involving dissolvable stitches and bone screws.
- Human fat.
In addition, a permanent filler that isn’t absorbed by the body, polymethylmethacrylate beads – small, round plastic particles that are biodegradable – are sometimes used. The type of filler chosen varies based on your needs and your doctor’s recommendations.
Injectable wrinkle treatment is a quick outpatient procedure performed in a doctor’s office with either a local or topical anesthesia. Results are immediate and will last from four months to a year.
Possible side effects and risks include infection, bruising, swelling, redness, pain, tenderness, numbness, itching and rash, skin nodules, abscesses, open sores, blurred vision, flu-like symptoms and allergic reactions. Most of these are temporary and disappear within a week; in rare cases, long-term side effects may occur.
Before undergoing this type of procedure, be aware of the potential risks and make sure you select a doctor who is trained for your specific procedure.