Dermal Fillers: How They Work, Indications, Side Effects, And Recovery

dermal fillers

Dermal fillers, also called facial fillers, are recommended for treating signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. 

While there are several cosmetic treatments available for managing these skin issues, each has its own indications and dermal fillers are no exception. Dermatologists have to choose a cosmetic treatment depending on the specific skin concerns the patient wants to get rid of. They also have to consider how the symptoms appeared and the possible causes. 

If you are eager to find out what dermal fillers are meant for, simply keep reading. We will discuss what dermal fillers mean, how they work, and the skin issue they can treat. 

What are dermal fillers? 

Dermal fillers offer an effective treatment to reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the face. Just as the name suggests, this therapy is aimed at filling the gaps between the skin tissues to help it appear plump. This treatment is primarily used to reduce smile lines on the cheeks and lips. [1]

When the fillers are used to treat the wrinkles on the face, they are called facial fillers. Facial fillers work by adding more volume to the tissues beneath the facial skin giving it a plump or fuller appearance. 

According to the skincare experts at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 2 million facial filler procedures are performed every year. [2]

Dermal fillers are available in different forms, which are injected into the skin tissues. Some fillers produce a temporary effect and are used for plumping up the soft tissues on the face. Some of the best dermal fillers include: 

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  • A temporary gel solution called Calcium hydroxylapatite
  • Temporary filler materials such as hyaluronic acid
  • Temporary materials including collagen
  • Polymethylmethacrylate beads, which is the only permanent form of dermal fillers 
  • Synthetic materials such as poly-L-lactic acid 

Let’s learn more about dermal fillers and how they help you look younger by eliminating the signs of skin aging. 

What are the different types of dermal fillers?

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Hyaluronic Acid is a gel-like substance found naturally in our body. It can be used to “plump up” or add more volume to the skin. It is suitable for adding volume to the parts of the face such as the cheeks and lips. It may also help to smoothen out wrinkles around the eyes, on the forehead, and around the lips. [3]

The body can reabsorb hyaluronic acid slowly over time, the results of dermal fillers usually last only for 6 to 12 months. [4]

Also, according to the skincare experts at WebMD, “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.” [5]

This means the number of sessions of dermal fillers you need might reduce over time. This is what makes hyaluronic acid a safe and convenient cosmetic treatment. It can reduce wrinkles and restore the youthful appearance on your face. [6]

Calcium Hydroxylapatite 

This dermal filler uses calcium, which is added to the gel before being injected into the skin. The gel has a very thick consistency making it more effective for treating deeper wrinkles.

The results of the dermal filler procedure with Calcium hydroxylapatite usually last for 10 to 12 months.

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A skincare expert at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons explains, “Calcium hydroxylapatite is biosynthetically produced, which means that no animals or animal products are used. This lowers your risk of an allergic reaction and no skin testing is required. This type of dermal filler is known to produce a very natural result, doesn’t migrate and side effects are rare. This dermal filler was first used in dentistry and reconstructive surgery and has a long safety record.” [7]

This indicates the safety of Calcium hydroxylapatite even for patients who are prone to allergies.

Poly-L-lactic Acid

This is a biodegradable acid that helps to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. So, other than just “filling” in the wrinkles, Poly-L-lactic acid gives a natural firmness to the skin thus reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin folds.

This filler can be used to treat long-lasting or deep wrinkles and to increase the volume of the skin at places where fatty tissues have been lost. It works gradually and provides results that last for nearly two years. This is why; Poly-L-lactic acid is considered a semi-permanent filler.


This dermal filler consists of collagen and microspheres that can plump up your skin. However, research studies have shown that the use of Polymethylmethacrylate may lead to several side effects affecting the eyelids and the periocular region. [8]

What are the side effects of dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers carry the possibility of a few side effects such as:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Infections and sores 
  • Bruising 
  • Itching
  • Swelling 
  • Numbness
  • Redness and scarring 

However, these side effects often resolve within 2 weeks. An allergy testing for the particular filler before the treatment is recommended to assess the risk of an allergic reaction. 

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The application of ice packs may help relieve swelling and numbness. 

What to expect after dermal filler sessions?

Generally, the effects of dermal fillers are longer-lasting compared to that of other cosmetic therapies like Botox and chemical peels. The effectiveness of this treatment depends on the type of filler used. However, the patient may need maintenance sessions once or twice a year or when the filler material wears off.


Treatment with dermal fillers takes just a few minutes and the results are evident in one or two weeks.

Dermal fillers can help your skin look plump and fuller. You can choose the specific dermal fillers based on your skin type. Choosing the appropriate therapy would help you derive the expected results allowing you to look younger and more beautiful. 



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