Ask An Expert: Fat Injections Vs. Dermal Fillers
At this point in your life you may be tired of looking in the mirror and seeing the imperfections that make you look permanently tired or older than you are. Your lips may be too thin, you may have distressing hollows in your cheeks or temples, there may be wrinkles and fine lines that are only getting deeper. You’ve heard that dermal fillers are ways to add volume to these areas, but you’ve also heard you can use your own fat. Which should you choose?
First, a Word About Botox
A dermal filler is a botox alternative only to an extent. Botox works on an entirely different principle and does not add volume. It paralyzes the muscle beneath a wrinkle so that the wrinkle softens. On the other hand, a lot of people opt for both Botox and fillers.
Types of Dermal Fillers
There are many types of fillers to choose from. Temporary fillers are absorbed by the body over time, but permanent ones aren’t, so you should be careful when you opt for them. Fillers include:
Poly-L-lactic Acid, or polylactic acid was used to create surgical sutures before doctors discovered its cosmetic uses. It doesn’t work entirely on its own but prompts the body into making collagen. It is especially useful for volumizing the lower part of the face. It is also injected in a different way than other fillers. Polylactic acid is injected in the deep layers beneath the skin through a process called tunneling or threading. You’ll need about three or four treatments scheduled a month apart to see results.
Hyaluronic acid, or HA is a huge molecule found all over the body. It holds moisture in the skin, lubricates the joints and helps in wound repair. When it is used as a dermal filler, it is injected into the areas you want treated with fine needles. Most hyaluronic acid used now is synthetic, but the body still absorbs it over time. The good news is you can return to your practitioner for maintenance sessions.
Like HA, collagen is found all over your body and goes into making your bones, tendons and ligaments and provides a springy cushion under the layers of your skin. You will need to take an allergy test before you are considered for collagen fillers. Like hyaluronic acid, collagen is temporary and the body eventually, harmlessly absorbs it.
This is another natural substance found in the body, in this case in your teeth and bones. When it is used as a filler, your practitioner injects tiny spheres of it deep into your skin to improve the look of nasolabial folds and to fill in scars.
This is a permanent dermal filler that your body won’t absorb. It’s been used for decades but was discontinued for a while after it became controversial. Now, liquid silicone injections are making a comeback.
Your Own Fat
Most people who use fat as a dermal filler use the fat that’s removed from other parts of their body during liposuction. Sometimes the doctor removes the fat with a syringe. It is then cleaned and reinjected into your lips, wrinkles and the hollow areas in your face. The bad news is that injecting is more traumatic than injecting the other fillers. Your own fat also costs more, probably because of the trouble taken to harvest it. The good news is that fat lasts longer, and there’s no risk of rejection or an allergic reaction. It is an excellent Botox alternative.