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Fill Your Face.

October 19, 2009

As we age our skin thins and sags a little  as the structure holding it all together relaxes its grip and slows down its collagen and elastin creating activities. While this is a perfectly normal function of human ageing it is one that many of us would like to put a halt to.  When it comes to looking young, the fat cheeks have it!

So, what can we do?

  1. Blame your parents as the way we age has a fair bit to do with our genes. Not very useful though!
  2. Gain weight.  The extra weight will plump out your cheeks making you look a little smoother faced    BUT beware, the negative health effects of being overweight far outweigh the benefits of being wrinkle free!
  3. Lash on the anti-ageing cream.  There are plenty of creams on the market that claim to boost collagen and rebuild elastin, rebuilding your skin from within. While many of these creams do work, most of the effect seen is from super  moisturization (a well moisturized skin is plumper and smoother) as it is difficult (although not impossible) to get the collagen and elastin to where they are needed. Other creams include ingredients that naturally re-boot the skin’s scaffolding such as the many peptides, antioxidants and vitamins and again, these all work to a point but only if they can reach the desired part of the skin in high enough quantities. Oh, and of course these creams come with  lashings of sun protection- cosmetic therapist here I come……
  4. Fill your face with dermal fillers. Sounds painful? I am assured that it is not but I must say, this is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
  5. Do nothing. Wrinkles give you a distinguished and wise look.

fill your face stockphoto

Dermal fillers act like Polly Filler on a wall and can be used to plump up scarred skin, re-build sagging skin or to flatten out  lumpy areas.  The filler can also be used to create a slightly different face shape without the need for drastic surgery, pfew! In the early days, permanent fillers were often used to create a re-sculptured look but these have since been replaced with a more temporary solution lasting anywhere between 4 months and 2 years to reduce the risk of infection, rejection and lumpiness.

So, what can be plumped and sculpted?

Acne scars and other uneven areas are great candidates for this treatment as are static wrinkles – wrinkles that are always present such as those on the cheeks. The filler can also be used to plump up lips and give definition to cheekbones. Dynamic wrinkles such as those formed when we laugh or frown are better to be treated with Botox or equivalent.

And what is this filler?

There are various different types but many rely on a naturally occurring chemical Hyaluronic Acid – a chemical that can be modified by cross linking to give various degrees of plumping effect.   Hyaluronic Acid is produced by our bodies and is found in the extracellular matrix (the goo that cushions joints and protects cells).   It is part of the skin’s repair complex and gets produced in larger quantities when the skin becomes stressed – from UV damage or from mechanical stress.

Is it safe to use?

Hyaluronic Acid can be found in many off the shelf  skin care products and as it is produced by the skin it is usually well tolerated.  When it is applied topically it is unlikely to do much in the way of skin plumping as its large molecules would find it hard to get through the skin’s barrier. They do however, perform well as a moisturizer as Hyaluronic Acid is able to grab onto and bind much more water than something like Glycerine. So all is not lost!

When Hyaluronic Acid is used for dermal filling it gets injected into the desired area. This procedure has to be carried out by a professional as the dose, injection site and type of Hyaluronic Acid is very important.  Once injected your body will start to break it down until over time the body will go back to its original state. As everyone is different it is only possible to give an approximate length of time that your procedure will be effective.

So where does the Hyaluronic Acid used in dermal filling come from?

Biotechnology has played a big part in expanding the market for Hyaluronic Acid as in the olden days this ingredient was animal derived, today this no longer needs to be the case. Many companies are now producing this ingredient by fermenting a bacterial culture on a plant substrate making this a viable option for those looking for natural or animal free cosmetics.

So should I go for it?

As usual, that decision is best left to the individual. Dermal filling is safer and more flexible than ever before but as with any procedure the results that you achieve will depend in no small part on the skill and hygiene on the cosmetic physician. The other part of the equation is your metabolism – how quickly will your skin eat up the injection? Only time will tell!

Do some research, talk to people who have had the procedure and make sure you get plenty of time to meet the surgeon performing your procedure.  While the effects shouldn’t be permanent, a bad job will leave memories that can last a long time.

Have a face filling experience that you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!

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