In today's aesthetics market, dermal fillers are among the most popular treatments for enhancing facial contours and rejuvenating the skin. Dermal fillers help plump tissues, fill in lines and wrinkles, add volume to specific areas, and restore a more youthful appearance. With many options now available, what are the top dermal fillers used by medical aesthetic professionals to help patients achieve their cosmetic goals?
Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are by far the most commonly used type of dermal filler today. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule that retains moisture, lubricates tissues, and provides volume and suppleness to the skin. HA fillers are synthesised versions of this substance, formulated into injectable gels that add volume when injected into the dermis. Leading brands of HA fillers include Juvederm, Restylane, Hylaform, Captique and Prevelle.
Juvederm and Restylane offer different formulations tailored for specific areas and concerns, such as lips, deep folds, and hollowing under the eyes. The effects are temporary, typically lasting 6-12 months as the HA is gradually absorbed. Treatments need to be repeated to maintain results.
The benefits of HA fillers are their natural feel, biocompatibility with human tissues, predictable effects, and low risk of reactions. Results appear smooth and natural. Side effects like swelling, bruising and tenderness generally resolve within a few days. For patients seeking to smooth lines, enhance lips, or restore facial volume, HA fillers remain the first choice.
Radiesse injectable filler contains microspheres of calcium hydroxylapatite suspended in an aqueous gel carrier. Calcium hydroxylapatite is a mineral with a composition similar to bones and teeth. When injected under the skin, Radiesse provides immediate volume expansion. The calcium microspheres also stimulate collagen formation for long term effects.
Radiesse is FDA approved for moderate to deep wrinkles and skin depressions. Results can last over a year, longer than most other leading fillers. In particular, Radiesse offers advantages for restoring volume loss in the cheeks, temples, chin, hands and décolletage. Common side effects include redness, bruising, and swelling at the injection site.
Sculptra Aesthetic utilizes poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a biocompatible synthetic that has been used for many years in resorbable sutures. When injected, PLLA microparticles stimulate collagen growth to gradually correct facial volume loss over time. Patients typically require 2-3 initial treatment sessions spaced 3-6 weeks apart, followed by maintenance sessions.
Full effects emerge over a period of several months and results can last up to 2 years. Sculptra performs well for correcting hollow temples, cheeks, and eye hollows. Mild redness, swelling, and bruising may occur after injections. Sculptra results appear very gradual and natural.
Artefill is a unique long lasting dermal filler containing 20% polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres suspended in 80% bovine collagen gel. PMMA is a biocompatible synthetic also used to make plexiglass and dental implants. The microspheres create a permanent scaffold under the skin while collagen provides immediate smooth volume.
With time, the collagen dissipates but the PMMA spheres remain to maintain the filling effect. Artefill is FDA approved for nasolabial folds and requires just 2-4 treatment sessions for long lasting wrinkle correction, usually at least 5 years. Side effects involve temporary swelling, redness and bruising. Artefill should only be injected by highly experienced providers.
Autologous Fat Transfer
Autologous fat transfer uses a patient's own body fat, most commonly taken from the thighs or abdomen via liposuction, and reinjected into areas needing augmentation like the face, hands, breasts or buttocks. Fat contains adipose-derived stem cells that add regenerative effects. Results with fat grafting are considered permanent though absorption rates vary.
Fat transfer allows for a wide range of volumizing and contouring effects throughout the body. It provides very natural, smooth results. However, about 30% of the transferred fat volume is usually absorbed by the body. Multiple injections help compensate for absorption. Post-treatment swelling and bruising can last several weeks.
With a range of effective and safe options now available, dermal fillers continue to grow in popularity for facial rejuvenation and enhancing body contours. Leading hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane offer reliable results for common concerns like facial wrinkles and thin lips. Radiesse, Sculptra and Artefill provide longer term solutions for volume loss. Autologous fat transfer harnesses your own natural tissue. Your provider can recommend the ideal dermal filler to achieve your aesthetic goals.