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Facial Fillers and Injectables – What Is the Right One for You?

Facial fillers and injectables can reduce a variety of signs of facial aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, folds, sunken cheeks and a sallow complexion. If you are concerned about mild to moderate signs of aging on your face, injectables may be a temporary solution.

Facial injectables cannot repair sagging skin along the jaw, neck, chin or brow. For these concerns, more invasive procedures such as facelift, neck lift or brow lift may be required.

Numerous types of injectables are available, and they work in different ways. Some injectables paralyze the muscles that cause wrinkles. Others, known as injectable fillers, add volume to the skin to fill in wrinkles, folds, scars and other depressions. To learn more about injectable fillers, visit our cosmetic dermal fillers FAQ.

Injectables and fillers can be used alone or in combination with invasive plastic surgery procedures such as rhinoplasty, eyelid lift, lip augmentation or lip reduction surgery for a complete facial makeover.

Botulinum Toxin Type A Injectables

Several injectables produce temporary facial rejuvenation results by paralyzing the muscle contractions that create wrinkles. These injectables all contain botulinum toxin type A.This toxin can cause botulism when consumed in large amounts. However, when injected in small doses, it temporarily paralyzes the muscles that cause certain creases and wrinkles. While muscles are paralyzed, the lines and wrinkles become less apparent.

Botox is the most well-known and most-often prescribed of this type of injectable, but there are two others — Xeomin and Dysport. They are all used to treat glabellar lines (the perpendicular worry lines between the eyes), crow's feet and forehead creases. The results of these injectables typically last about three to four months, at which time the treatment can be repeated.

While Botox, Xeomin and Dysport are considered quite safe, they carry a "black box" warning from the FDA due to a rare side effect in which the injected material spreads and causes potentially serious swallowing and breathing problems. For more information about this warning, please visit our page on the FDA review of Botox. Also, visit our page on Botox clinical trials to learn about ongoing tests of Botox for medical treatments.

Hyaluronic Acid-Based Injectables

Other popular types of injectables work by temporarily filling in creases, wrinkles and depressions in the skin and by generally adding volume to thinning skin. One such class of injectables is known as hyaluronic acid-based injectables.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the connective tissues of the body. As we age, our body's supply of hyaluronic acid decreases. By injecting this substance into the face, a plastic surgeon is able to replenish stores of hyaluronic acid and temporarily rejuvenate the appearance of the face.

Hyaluronic acid-based fillers include Juvederm, Juvederm Voluma, Restylane, Perlane and Belotero. They are typically used to treat nasolabial folds (the creases that run from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth), marionette lines, under-eye hollows and wrinkles around the mouth. They can also be used to temporarily plump up thinning lips.

The various hyaluronic acid-based fillers differ from one another. Your surgeon will help you determine which is best for your needs.

Collagen and Collagen Boosters

Another type of filler works by increasing the skin's stores of collagen. Collagen is a naturally occurring substance in the human body that is responsible for maintaining the skin's integrity. As the skin ages, collagen breaks down, leading to wrinkles, lines and folds. Collagen injections help replace the skin's dwindling supply of collagen, causing the skin to appear more supple, youthful and wrinkle-free.

Radiesse is another injectable that helps boost collagen. It contains microspheres of a naturally occurring mineral known as calcium hydroxylapatite in a water-based gel. In addition to adding volume to the skin when initially injected, it also stimulates the body to produce more collagen, creating longer-lasting results.

Synthetic Injectables

Some facial injectables contain synthetic materials to help bring a youthful appearance to the face. Bellafill contains microspheres of a substance called polymehtylmethacrylate (PMMA), which are suspended in bovine (cow) collagen. It is used to treat smile lines, thin lips, acne scars and other facial lines.

Bellafill's unique feature is that the PMMA microspheres are not absorbed by the body, making Bellafill the only injectable to produce permanent results.

Sculptra is another injectable that contains synthetic material. Specifically, it contains microparticles of poly-L-lactic acid, a biocompatible, biodegradable polymer. Sculptra is used to treat nasolabial folds and other facial wrinkles. Unlike Bellafill, it is absorbed by the body; therefore, its results are temporary.

Autologous Injectables

Autologous Injectables involve the use of one's own body tissues to rejuvenate facial appearance. One example is fat transfer. When performing fat transfer, a surgeon removes fat cells from the stomach, buttocks or thighs and re-injects them into the face. Fat fillers are used to add volume to sunken cheeks, fill in facial lines and enhance lips. They can also be used in combination with breast implants for breast enhancement.

Laviv is an injectable that is made from one's own skin cells. The cells are taken from behind the ear and sent to a lab, where more cells are grown and placed in a solution. Next, the surgeon injects the cells into the face to treat nasolabial folds.

Vampire injections, also known as vampire facelift and Dracula therapy, are made from one's own blood. The surgeon first removes blood. He or she then processes it to separate out the platelet-rich plasma (PRP).  The PRP is re-injected into the face, where it provokes collagen production and gives the face a fresher, more youthful appearance.

Find a Surgeon

If you are considering facial fillers and injectables, your first step is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. Your surgeon will examine your face and determine which facial injectable or injectables would help you achieve the appearance you desire.

Start your search now. Please consult our directory to find a surgeon in your area.