What’s in a filler? Hint….hyaluronic acid

Frequently, we are asked what a filler is made of. Most fillers are hyaluronic acid, a natural substance in the body. It’s an amazing substance that is in our skin, joint fluid, cartilage. It helps our skin heal in response to damage. We inject it as a medical filler for cosmetic purposes of replacing lost volume, lifting sagging tissue or filling wrinkles. It is also injected into arthritic joints to help with lubrication and comfort.

Brand names in the US include: Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero. Some are thicker or thinner and break down at different rates, depending on the area where it is used. When filler is injected in the tear troughs, it can last two years, as the metabolism is slow in this area. Lip injections typically last only 6 months, due to more rapid metabolism from eating and speaking. Hyaluronic acid fillers work immediately as they replace lost volume.

Side effects are typically only bruising, which lasts less than one week. But rarely, others can occur like infection, allergy, or occlusion of a blood vessel.

There are other types of fillers, which I’ll write about at another time. Stay tuned for a future blog.

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