If you have sensitive skin or often experience allergic reactions, you may want to consider natural dermal fillers instead of synthetics. These fillers use ingredients already found in your body, or very similar to those already inside of you, so they are less likely to react with your skin. FDA-approved natural fillers have either hyaluronic acid or collagen as the major active ingredient [source: FDA].
The protein collagen is found naturally in the human body and helps keep your skin firm, strong and flexible [source: Bernstein]. Collagen loss is a natural part of the aging process, and collagen dermal fillers use human, bovine or porcine collagen to help replace what you've lost. Since collagen fillers are absorbable and only last from two to six months, you'll need repeated injections to maintain these dermal fillers' effects. Some FDA-approved collagen fillers include Zyderm/Zyplast (bovine collagen), Cosmoderm/Cosmoplast (human collagen) and Evolence (porcine collagen) [source: FDA].
Hyaluronic acid also appears naturally in the body. In addition to filling in wrinkles, hyaluronic acid also promotes new collagen growth. These fillers are also absorbable, but last from six months to a year or more [source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons]. Some FDA-approved hyaluronic acid fillers include Restylane, Perlane, Hylaform and Juvederm [source: FDA].
Although the FDA doesn't regulate them, there are other treatments available that use elements produced by your own body as fillers. Plasmagel uses a mix of your blood and Vitamin C [source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons]. Autologen uses collagen that's taken from your body, processed and injected into your face [source: Cleveland Clinic]. You can also have fat harvested from certain areas of your body, like your thighs, and then injected into your face as a filler. One advantage to using fillers from your own body is that you won't have an allergic reaction, but since your body will eventually reabsorb its own blood, collagen and fat, the results may fade over time.
Dermal fillers give you many options to improve facial imperfections without surgery. No matter what kind of dermal filler interests you, make sure you talk to your doctor and thoroughly understand the benefits, side effects and longevity of the treatment you choose.
For more information on dermal fillers, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Soft Tissue Fillers." (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/cosmetic_softtissue.html
- The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Injectable Anti-Aging Treatments." (Accessed 7/23/09)http://www.surgery.org/public/procedures/injectables
- American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Injectables At-A-Glance." May 2009. (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.plasticsurgery.org/Media/Press_Kits/Perception_of_the_Injection/Injectables_At-A-Glance.html
- Bader, Robert S., MD; Johnson, Doreen L., PA-C, MPH. "Dermal Fillers." eMedicine.com. October 23, 2008. (Accessed 7/23/09)http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1125066-overview
- Bernstein, Eric. "What Is Collagen?" The Patient's Guide: Collagen. (Accessed 7/30/2009) http://www.collagen.org/whatis.aspx
- Blakeley, Kiri. "The Latest Options in Dermal Fillers." Forbes.com. May 26, 2009. (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/26/dermal-filler-cosmetic-forbes-woman-well-being-facelift.html
- Cleveland Clinic. "Lip Augmentation." (Accessed 7/23/09) http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/cosmetic_surgery/hic_lip_augmentation.aspx
- Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. "Artefill." June 2008. (Accessed 7/30/2009) http://www.yourplasticsurgeryguide.com/injectables-and-fillers/artecoll.htm
- Doheny, Kathleen. "Panel: Toughen Dermal Filler Warnings." WebMD. November 18, 2008. (Accessed 7/23/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20081118/panel-toughen-dermal-filler-warnings
- FDA. "Executive Summary: Dermal Filler Devices." November 18, 2008. (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/ac/08/briefing/2008-4391b1-01%20-%20FDA%20Executive%20Summary%20Dermal%20Fillers.pdf
- Mayo Clinic. "Skin Care: Top 5 Habits for Healthy Skin." (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-care/SN00003#
- Miller, Scott R., MD, FACS (reviewer). "Injectable Fillers Overview." Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. (Accessed 7/23/09)http://www.yourplasticsurgeryguide.com/injectables-and-fillers/injectable-fillers.htm
- PlasticSurgery.com. "Facial Fillers." (Accessed 7/23/09)http://www.plasticsurgery.com/facial-fillers/info.aspx
- Reuters. "Update 1-FDA Oks mixing BioForm's dermal filler with anesthetic." July 16, 2009. (Accessed 7/23/09)http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssHealthcareNews/idUSBNG50178920090716
- Wang, Frank, MD; Garza, Luis, A. , MD, PhD; Kang, Sewon, MD; Varani, James, PhD; Orringer, Jeffrey S., MD; Fishser, Gary J., MD; Voorhees, John J., MD.. "In Vivo Stimulation of De Novo Collagen Production Caused by Cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Filler Injections in Photodamaged Human Skin." Arch Dermatol 2007; 043: 155-163. DermNews. (Accessed 7/23/09) http://www.skintherapyletter.com/derm_news/2007.8/9.html