How Do Dermal Fillers Work?

As we age there is a gradual loss of skin volume and an increase in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  Sun exposure, hormonal shifts, recurrent dieting, and smoking contribute to an acceleration of these changes, though it is normal for everyone to experience them to some degree.  Dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Restylanem and Radiesse can be used to restore fullness to the face and create a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Non-Surgical Way to Increase Skin Volume

Injectable fillers are an alternative to cosmetic surgery such as facelifts that can be used by a dermatologist to plump the cheek area, jawline, temples, and other areas such as the hands.  Since fillers have different active ingredients and work best for specific areas of the face it is important for a physician to evaluate the skin and determine the best treatment plan based on the specific skin concerns of each patient.

Juvederm and Restylane

Juvederm and Restylane are comprised mainly of hyalyronic acid, which is found naturally in the skin and allows it to retain water and remain hydrated.  The plumping effect distinguishes fillers from Botox, which smoothes skin by preventing the muscle movements that cause wrinkles.  Since Juvederm and Restylane use a natural substance that is found in the body, allergic reaction is rare, and side effects are minimal.  The injections themselves are fast and easy, and only topical or local anesthesia usually is used during the procedure.  Results can be seen almost instantaneously and will last for six months or more.  With Juvederm, swelling and redness are common, but normal activities can be resumed right away, though it is advisable to avoid sun exposure.  As swelling subsides, the improvement in appearance will continue to be seen in the creases from the nose to mouth, corners of the mouth, lips, checks, and chin, or anywhere else it it has been injected.


In contrast to hyaluronic acid fillers, the active ingredient in Radiesse is calcium-hydroxyapatite.  Results are immediate, and due to the stimulation of collagen production that it causes, treatment effects can last more than a year.  The long-lasting results make it a popular injection choice for restoring volume and lift to the face.  As with Juvederm and Restylane, local or topical anesthesia generally is used during the procedure.  Side effects are minimal, and swelling and redness generally resolve after a couple of days.  If bruising occurs, this can take 3 to 7 days to resolve.

Unlike Botox, dermal fillers are used to soften lines and restore fullness to the face.  Since they do not prevent the movements that can lead to wrinkles, the face can be fully expressive after treatment.  An experienced dermatologist can determine which of the dermal fillers will work best to resolve specific skin concerns as they have different properties and each work better on specific areas of the face.   Fillers are less expensive than cosmetic surgery and offer a more convenient way to address the signs of facial aging.

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