Think all fillers and injectables are the same? Guess again. Not only are there a handful of different ones out there, but they also all serve a different purpose. In fact, certain ones can only be used on select areas of the face, and straying from their intended use can lead to major problems and complications. The next time you’re at your doctor’s office and confused by the endless choice of injectables and fillers offered, refer to this handy guide so that you know you’re making the right decision.
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If you want to get rid of fine lines, choose a thin hyaluronic acid filler.
According to New York dermatologist Jody Levine, MD, when it comes to correcting fine lines, you need to have a very thin hyaluronic acid filler put very superficially into the line. “Belotero is my thin filler of choice, but there are other similar ones out there, like Restylane Silk,” she says. New York plastic surgeon Craig A. Foster, MD, adds that Belotero was designed specifically for treating fine lines. “It’s handling characteristics and injectability are a byproduct of its low viscosity, which allows it to be injected superficially in the skin into evenly dispersed areas, filling the tissue underneath and around fine lines.” The only thing to make note of is that because the product isn’t being injected deep, the results won’t last all that long (about three months before you’ll need a touch-up).
If you want to make your lips bigger, go with a hyaluronic acid filler.
Anytime you enhance the size or shape of the lips, it’s important that you only have a hyaluronic acid filler injected into them. Be it Restylane Silk, Belotero or Juvéderm Ultra or Volbella, Santa Monica, CA, dermatologist Karyn Grossman, MD, says different lip fillers do different things depending on what you are trying to achieve. “To augment the lips and add fullness, my favorite filler is Juvéderm because it gives the softest and most natural feeling in the lips. To treat the edges of the lips and make them crisp, Juvéderm, Restylane Silk and Volbella are great. They also fill in the small cracks you get along the edges of the lips, which makes your lipstick bleed,” she says. “I use Restylane in the lips for those who have more droopy corners because it helps to ‘prop’ them up due to its slightly stiffer nature.”
If you want to restore lost volume, have a thicker filler injected.
Choosing the right filler for volume-related issues really depends on where the problem is on the face and how much volume is needed. “In an older face that has lost a lot of volume, a filler like Juvéderm Ultra Plus, Restylane Lyft or Radiesse is best. Often, I do a combination of different fillers, like Radiesse on the lower face, which usually needs more volume, and something like Juvéderm Ultra Plus on the upper face,” says Dr. Levine.
Another option is Sculptra Aesthetic, which can be used in the hollows of the face to plump them up. “Sculptra is one of my most versatile injectables,” says Birmingham, MI, facial plastic surgeon Charles M. Boyd, MD. “It is a biostimulator rather than a traditional ‘filler,’ which means it has the ability to grow collagen and thicken the epidermis. This allows me to achieve a very natural-looking and long-lasting result for my both my male and female patients.” Note: You may need more than one session for optimal results, and it can take weeks or months for the product to stimulate collagen in the areas injected.
If you have some sagging skin but aren’t ready for surgery, opt for a filler that’s designed to lift.
Sagging skin can somewhat be corrected with filler if there isn’t too much lax skin. “When you have sagging skin and you want to lift it, you want to use something like Radiesse of Juvéderm Voluma,” says Dr. Foster. “These fillers are designed for this purpose and they add back volume, giving the illusion of some lift.” Dr. Grossman adds that she often combines revolumizing fillers with skin-tightening procedures to get the best result.
If you want to define your cheeks, select a collagen stimulator or a hyaluronic acid filler.
“What to inject into the cheeks is going to depend on the patient and how much volume they need,” says Dr. Grossman. “Persoanlly, I’m not a fan of overstuffed cheeks. I would say Restylane, Restylane Lyft or Juvéderm Ultra Plus or Voluma is the way to go.”
If you want to eliminate hollows under your eyes, pick a filler that won’t cause a blue undercast.
One of the biggest problems with using filler under the eyes is that some leave behind a bluish tint to the skin, which is known as the Tindal effect. “It happens with some products because the under-eye area is very thin,” says Dr. Levine. Dr. Foster adds that fillers like Belotero and Restylane Silk are thinner with a lower viscosity so they are less likely to show through the skin. “They are also moldable and reversible in the event that you don’t like the results.”
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