As you get older, it is natural for your face to lose the youthful fullness that keeps your skin looking smooth and supple. In fact, this gradual loss of facial volume is one of the most significant contributors to other visible signs of aging, such as creases, lines and wrinkles that etch their way into your thinning skin over time. These changes that the face undergoes will affect the appearance of both men and women alike, making cheeks appear sunken or hollow and causing the face to look more aged or tired than you feel.
Fortunately, facial fillers are an incredible cosmetic treatment designed to replenish lost volume and aid in facial rejuvenation without the need for cosmetic surgery or downtime. There are many injectable filler treatment options available today, and it takes an advanced knowledge of facial anatomy and surgical expertise to know the appropriate product to use for each aesthetic concern. Dr. Haena Kim is double board-certified in both head and neck plastic and reconstructive surgery and has the extensive knowledge and expertise required to help you achieve natural and youthful-looking results while preserving your unique beauty.
What Are Facial Fillers?
Facial fillers also known as dermal fillers, are a nonsurgical and minimally-invasive treatment that injects a soft, gel-like substance directly beneath the skin’s surface. The materials used in facial fillers are designed to smooth and soften the sunken and hollow contours of an aging face while also bolstering sagging skin and filling in lines and wrinkles from within. The effects of facial fillers are immediately apparent, and unlike many cosmetic procedures are accompanied by little to no discomfort or downtime.
For those who are not ready for the commitment and recovery period that accompanies more invasive cosmetic procedures, facial fillers can provide truly transformative results in as little as 15 minutes. Now known as a “liquid facelift” or “filler facelift,” the latest anti-aging trend combines the use of multiple facial filler products as well as neuromodulators, such as Botox, to temporarily reduce various signs of aging within a single appointment. While facial fillers do require ongoing maintenance, they are perfect for individuals whose concerns may not yet warrant surgical intervention.
What is the Difference Between Facial Fillers and Neuromodulators?
While both facial fillers and neuromodulators are both nonsurgical and temporary injectable treatments designed to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, the comparison stops there. Neuromodulators, also known as neurotoxin injectables, are intended to lessen the appearance of dynamic wrinkles—or wrinkles that are only visible while the face is in motion. You may know these type of wrinkles as frown lines, crow’s feet or forehead lines that form while you are making your everyday expressions.
Rather than “filling in” these lines, neuromodulators work to target the underlying facial muscles that create these wrinkles by rendering them inactive or temporarily freezing them. As a result, your complexion will be smoother for three to four months until the effects gradually wear off and a repeat treatment is needed. Dr. Haena Kim offers the following neurotoxin injectables at her practice:
Facial fillers, on the other hand, are designed to address static wrinkles—or wrinkles that are visible regardless of whether or not your face is in motion. Fillers plump static lines and wrinkles from within and restore sunken areas of the face suffering from age-related volume loss. As most individuals have both static and dynamic wrinkles, many of Dr. Kim’s patients will choose to combine neurotoxin injectables with facial fillers for a comprehensive rejuvenation of the face.
Facial Filler Options
While facial fillers are designed to fill static lines from within and restore volume to soft tissues, there are many different types of FDA-approved fillers available today that are uniquely formulated to address specific age-related concerns. Fillers are often categorized by their ingredients and will vary by the longevity of their results as well as the texture and consistency of their formulation. Dr. Kim offers the following categories of facial fillers at her office:
Hyaluronic Acid (HA)
HA is a naturally-occurring substance in the body and plays an essential role in keeping your skin cells hydrated and supple. It’s smooth and soft composition makes it an ideal filler for fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, and sunken contours of the face. Many HA fillers are even soft enough to augment the lips. HA fillers will typically last for about 6 to 12 months before the body safely and naturally absorbs the substance. Our HA fillers include:
- Juvederm Ultra Pluz
- Juvederm Voluma, Volbella and Vollure
- Restylane Lyft
- Restylane Silk
Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHa)
CaHa is another naturally-occurring substance from the body primarily found in your bones. CaHa fillers are generally thicker in consistency than HA fillers and contain microscopic particles designed to stimulate and boost collagen production in the skin naturally. CaHa fillers are also longer-lasting than HA fillers, with results persisting up to 12 months before a repeat treatment is needed. Our CaHa fillers include:
Poly-l-lactic acid is a synthetic, biodegradable substance that has been used for decades in medical devices such as dissolvable stitches. Unlike HA and CaHa fillers, poly-l-lactic acid fillers are absorbed by the body within a few days of your treatment, but gradually work to restore deep facial folds and wrinkles by stimulating your body to produce more collagen over time with results lasting up to two years. Our polylactic acid fillers include:
What to Expect From Your Injectable Treatment
Whether you are receiving dermal fillers or neurotoxin injectables, your appointment will take place in-office at Dr. Haena Kim MD and may be completed in as little as 15 minutes to an hour depending on your areas of concern. Dr. Kim will carefully assess your face to strategically map out the sites of your injections that will best achieve your desired results. The injections themselves are over in seconds, with many patients likening the feeling to a brief pinch on the skin.
As a minimally-invasive procedure, there is little to no downtime required after your appointment, so you may immediately resume your day as you leave our office. Minor bruising, swelling and redness may occur at the site of your injections; however, these symptoms will generally subside within a couple of hours. Depending on the injectable selected, your results will be apparent instantly or over several days as the substances begin to take effect. Your face will look smoother, fuller and naturally youthful for months or even years before a repeat treatment is required to maintain your refreshed appearance.
If you’re ready to look great at any age without surgery or downtime, facial fillers are quick and convenient treatments that can restore suppleness to the skin and smooth out wrinkles for months or years without surgery or downtime. To learn more about what facial fillers can do for you, contact Dr. Haena Kim MD at (925) 891-4135 to schedule a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is common to experience some redness, sensitivity or slight bruising and swelling at the injection site for a few days after treatment. Any visible discoloration is easily covered with makeup, and most patients have no trouble returning to all normal activities immediately after their appointment. We do recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for 24-48 hours, as raising your heart rate and blood pressure may make swelling or bruising worse.
Aside from these potential side effects, there are few cases of adverse reactions to facial fillers. Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers, in particular, are known for a very low risk of reactivity as the skin naturally contains HA. CaHa and poly-l-lactic acid fillers are also quite safe and use only highly tested and body-safe ingredients. If you have sensitive skin or allergies, please discuss them with us during your consultation. We want to recommend an effective course of fillers that will also be as safe as possible for your skin.
Dermal filler results can last anywhere from six months to nearly two years, depending on the type of filler used, the filler placement and the client’s natural body processes. All fillers are considered temporary anti-aging solutions, and results will slowly wear off as the body naturally absorbs and eliminates the filler. Clients who wish to maintain their results over time will need to schedule regular appointments for additional treatments. We can recommend a filler type and a treatment schedule that will keep your skin looking naturally youthful and refreshed.
For the most part, choosing a filler relies on the client’s personal preference — if you have tried a particular filler and you know it worked well for you, there is often little reason to change brands or active ingredients. If it is your first time having dermal fillers injected or if you require a different type of filler due to changing needs, we will work with you to pair you with the filler(s) that will give you your best results. We will make a recommendation based on your aesthetic goals, your medical history, your skin type and any other lifestyle factors that may influence your treatment.