Here’s the Real Deal On Why Volumizing and Filling Skin Products Aren’t One in the Same

In the war against aging, most women will stop at nothing to halt it. And that includes a regimen of different skin care products that each perform a specific function. Somewhere on that list of daily beauty products, you’ll probably find a volumizing or filling skin care product, which may sound similar to one another, but in reality are nothing alike.

As Melissa Peverni, director of education for Fillerina, explains, products that have a primary purpose of filling (keep in mind that this is totally different from injectable fillers in that the product isn’t injected under the skin) usually contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides to work to reduce the depth of a wrinkle from the deeper layers of the skin. “Filling skin care products contain smaller molecules in order to penetrate the deeper layers.”

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On the other hand, volumizing skin care products work toward the end goal of working on the outer layers of skin to give a more plump look. “When most brands refer to a volumizing product, they are referring to a humectant, which is a product that topically draws in water to plump the skin,” says Dr. Gregory Brown of RéVive Skincare. “Skin-filling products (which is what RéVive offers in the Intensité Volumizing Serum) use complex forms of water that work and act as fillers for the deepest layer of the skin, to recreate the substances that the skin used to produce when it was younger. Fine lines and small creases can be fixed with a volumizing product because it treats aging on a surface level.”

The ingredients differ between the two, too, as do the molecule size. “Smaller molecules travel to the deeper layers, whereas larger molecules sit on the outer layers of the skin,” says Peverni. “But the two products do have some similarities. When filling actions occur, you can also achieve a slight volume effect, but it really depends on the blend of what’s in the product.”

Regardless, anything that’s positioned as a topical filling or volumizing skin care product won’t provide the same exact effectiveness as an injectable or filler although Dr. Brown says the principles are the same in a sense. “An injectable filler is entirely artificial, whereas a cosmetic product stimulates the skin itself to secrete its natural fillers. The skin will naturally produce its 'ground substance,' or more of what the skin used to produce when it was younger,” he says. 

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