Injectable wrinkle fillers can give you a more youthful look for a fraction of what a traditional facelift costs. Most will fill hollows, lines, and wrinkles in less than 30 minutes with results that can last from 4 months to more than a year.
Injectable wrinkle fillers, unlike Botox injections that relax the muscle under a wrinkle, fill the line, crease, or area with one of several different substances. As a result, trouble spots nearly disappear.
Wrinkle fillers can also be used as "volumizers," plumping and lifting cheeks, chins, jawlines, and temples; filling out thin lips, and plumping sagging hands.
Not every wrinkle-filler is right for every type of wrinkle. The least risks and best results come from using the right one correctly. That's why you should only have fillers injected by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon with ongoing, special training.
Here is a breakdown of available wrinkle fillers. It includes their basic ingredients, how they work, their pros and cons, and the best areas for treatment. Your doctor can help you choose the right one for you.
The most popular category of wrinkle fillers is hyaluronic acid. Each type works in a slightly different way with varying results.
How long the results last varies from several months to over a year or two. Some research shows that repeated injections may help stimulate the body's own natural production of collagen. That will help reduce the number of lines and wrinkles. There is also some evidence that less filler is needed over time to achieve the same look.
Hyaluronic acid wrinkle fillers include:
Juvederm Voluma XC
Juvederm Ultra XC
Juvederm Volbella XC
Juvederm Ultra Plus
Juvederm Vollure XC
This smaller category of wrinkle fillers includes lab-made substances that are not related to anything found naturally in the skin.
All the fillers in this group have similar side effects, such as redness, swelling, or bruising at the site of the injection. Other side effects include nodules or bumps under the skin that can be seen and felt and that, in rare instances, may require surgery to remove.
The benefits include a longer-lasting effect. And at least one filler offers semi-permanent filling of lines and creases.
Synthetic wrinkle fillers include:
Scientists made the first wrinkle fillers from a purified form of collagen extracted mostly from cows. Although it worked well and offered a natural-looking fill, the results didn't last long. Most collagen injections began to break down as early as 1 month after treatment. Because these wrinkle fillers were made from an animal source, they also had a higher rate of allergic reaction and required allergy testing beforehand.
New ways of processing the collagen have helped lower the risks. Plus, new forms of synthetic collagens are making these injections safer and more useful to a wider range of people. Although the results don't last as long as other wrinkle fillers, many believe the results are more natural looking.
Collagen injections include:
Fat is the most commonly used substance in this category. Your own fat is surgically removed from your thighs, buttocks, or stomach, treated, then injected. You will need to have two procedures (one to remove the fat and one to inject it). Both procedures can be done in one visit. Additional fat purification steps done in the lab can be costly and time-consuming. Results can be semi-permanent, although you may need a series of injections done over time.
Platelet-rich plasma injections (“vampire lift”) are another type of autologous wrinkle filler/volumizer. Blood is drawn from the arm, treated, then injected into the face. The effects can last 12 to 18 months.