Filling In the Folds: Defining Dermal Fillers

Botox isn't the only injectable on the market that's meant to rejuvenate your face. Dermal fillers refer to a variety of products your physician can use to puff up areas of skin, such as those "parentheses" around your mouth that can affect your appearance. Here's how dermal fillers can help turn back the clock.

Dermal Filler Significance

Dermal fillers are a blanket term for a number of different products intended to add bulk or volume to areas that appear wrinkled or hollow, such as around the cheekbones. Fillers are recommended for application in certain areas of your face where volume is beneficial. This includes your lips, nasolabial folds or smile lines and "marionette” lines or the lines near your lips that seem to turn down. Fillers range in types from temporary to semi-permanent and tend to be priced based on how long the filler lasts.

“Fillers and Botox have been the top procedures for many years,” says John T. Alexander II, MD, JD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon at Alexander Cosmetic Surgery in San Diego, Calif. “The procedures have essentially no down time and are less invasive.”

What Dermal Fillers Treat

Fillers aren’t to be confused with Botox, another injectable material that treats certain wrinkle types.

“While they’re both injectables, Botox and fillers don’t have the same effect on your face,” says Dominic Brandy, MD, cosmetic surgeon and Founding Medical Director of The Skin Center Medical Spa in Pittsburgh, Penn. “Botox is going to relax a muscle that is contracted, while fillers will add volume to areas where you may have lost it, such as the cheek.”

Types of Dermal Fillers

Several different dermal filler types and brand names exist under the “filler” umbrella. Each one can vary in thickness, how long it lasts and what it’s made of. Some types of dermal fillers include:

“The first thing I do when determining the best filler is to sit with a patient and have them look in the mirror, and I ask them what they’re trying to accomplish,” says Fernando Colon, MD, board-certified plastic surgeon and Medical Director of The Skin Center Medical Spa located in Gahana, Ohio. “It comes down to the patient and physician to determine what’s best and why a doctor would recommend a certain filler over another, especially the first time you are having this procedure type performed.”


More in Skin