A New Study Shows Hyaluronic Acid Fillers Have Another Big Benefit

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It's no secret that hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers can do amazing things! They can restore youthful-looking cheeks in a gaunt face, plump a pitted scar, and make someone who looks like they haven't slept in months look like a well-rested goddess. But what if they could do even more? According to a new study in the February issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, HA fillers can also help restore a more youthful pattern of facial expressiveness. 

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In the study, 30 female participants, ages 41 to 65, were treated for moderate-to-severe nasolabial folds (the lines running from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth) and marionette lines (the ones that run from to mouth to the chin). Using a technique called 3-D digital stereophotogrammetry, authors of the study—led by Philadelphia plastic surgeon Ivona Percec, MD, PhD—were able to scan the face pre-filler and then six weeks later to precisely measure the "facial stretch and compression" of the participants' skin in the expressive areas around the mouth where the injections were placed.

What they determined was that the HA fillers actually reduced strain on the facial muscles that make expressions (Botox and other neuromodulators temporarily freeze the muscle from straining at all). The idea is that the HA fillers make the skin plumper and firmer, and therefore it can't stretch as much to smile and make other expressions, which may help minimize lines and wrinkles long-term. "The strain reduction following filler treatment objectively conveys a dermal tightening effect, likely secondary to the volumization of treated areas," says Dr. Percec. It's a side effect we'll happily accept.

Although this is a smaller study and more data is needed, the results give us just another positive reason to opt for filler when a little plumping is what you want to look and feel your best!