What are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are injectable gel used to correct aesthetic imperfections. Dermal fillers are also known as cosmetic implants, medical devices, and soft tissue fillers. Nowadays, these implants exist in varying concentrations with skin-nourishing ingredients integrated to address countless skin problems—from simple skin rejuvenation to volumising deep-set facial wrinkles—effectively.
How long do dermal fillers last?
The residence time—the time taken for an injected implant to be metabolised and disintegrated into the surrounding tissues—generally depends on the type of filler material used. Collagen-based fillers are bioresorbable and have the shortest residence time compared to other types of fillers at only 3 to 4 months. Hyaluronic acid-based implants are arguably the most popular type of filler on the market due to their biocompatibility, effectiveness, and versatility. These cosmetic implants are processed with various manufacturing technologies, resulting in fillers that can last anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Hyaluronic acid fillers can even be dissolved much earlier using hyaluronidase enzyme injections should patients are unhappy with the outcomes of the treatment session.
Calcium hydroxylapatite is a type of filler material that is well-known for its ability to induce the growth of new collagen fibres. These biostimulating implants are semi-permanent and could last in the tissues for a year or more before they are gradually metabolised.
Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) is an effective biomaterial used in numerous biomedical applications like drug delivery systems, sutures, and bone plates. Just like CaHA fillers, implants made from PLLA are capable of stimulating the genesis of new collagen fibres in a process known as neocollagenesis. Poly-L-lactic acid-based implants are also able to withstand degradation for up to 2 years or more, making them semi-permanent.
Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) implants are considered to be permanent fillers, as they are made of non-biodegradable synthetic acrylic polymer—the same component found in Perspex or Plexiglas. Since PMMA fillers remain under the skin permanently, patients must be absolutely certain before they even undergo the aesthetic treatment session.
Besides the type of injectable gel, there are other factors, including treatment areas and lifestyle choices, can have an impact on the residence time of fillers. Implants administered into extremely mobile facial areas, such as the lips, last for shorter periods of time compared to less mobile areas. Not only that, patients with unhealthy lifestyle behaviours like smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, excessive sun bathing, and not following a good skincare regimen might experience premature degradation of their injected fillers. In addition, the depth of filler injection and the amount of filler injected also play a role in determining the durability of injectable gels. Generally, fillers that are implanted deep within the skin last longer than superficially placed fillers, though this may not apply to all patients. It is best that patients seek advice and expertise of certified medical practitioners for the most ideal fillers suited for their aesthetic needs.