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Understandably, many people find the idea of having plastic surgery quite scary. But these days, there are many other ways you can rejuvenate your skin without actually going under the knife. Dermal fillers are one of the most popular, nonsurgical options for solving aging skin problems.
Dermal fillers, also known as “injectables” or “soft-tissue fillers,” do just what their name suggests – they fill in the area under the skin. Some fillers are natural and some are synthetic, but they all work to improve the appearance of aging skin in the following ways:
*filling in wrinkles, fine lines and deep creases
*improving other imperfections like scars
*filling out thin or wrinkled lips
*plumping up cheeks
*contouring the jaw line and other areas of the face [source: American Academy of Dermatology]
Dermal filler procedures are generally performed in a doctor’s office on an outpatient basis. Depending on the type of filler you choose, your dermatologist may need to give you a skin test before the procedure, often to find out if you are allergic to the filler [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. During the actual procedure, the physician will give you a series of skin injections, the number and depth of which will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. Afterward, you can usually return to your regular routine right away, but your doctor may recommend that you stay out of the sun and avoid strenuous activities for at least a day [source: Plastic Surgery.com].
Before using a dermal filler, check on whether or not the product is FDA-approved. Anti-aging researchers churn out new products all the time, but the latest craze isn’t always the best thing for you. In November 2008, the FDA posted an extensive list of approved dermal fillers — along with their benefits and side effects — on its Web site [source: FDA].
Types of Dermal Fillers
Which dermal filler you choose really depends on what you want to accomplish. Start by telling your doctor what you want to improve and how long you’d like the filler to last, so that he or she can help you narrow down your choices. Also, do a little research on possible side effects. In November 2008, the FDA recommended that dermal fillers should carry stronger warnings, so patients would be more aware of potentially serious side effects. Dermatologists will most likely be using FDA-approved products — and are trained to administer them — which should minimize your potential for bad reactions [source: Doheny].
Dermal fillers typically fall into specific categories: synthetic or natural, absorbable or non-absorbable. The FDA has approved several synthetic fillers that have proven to be effective. Artefill, for example, is a non-absorbable synthetic filler made of microbeads floating in bovine collagen. Because your body can’t absorb or metabolize it, Artefill — formerly known as Artecoll — lasts longer than collagen or fat injections. Experts refer to it as a “permanent” filler for its enduring results [source: Miller]. The FDA has approved Artefill for use in improving smile lines.
On the other hand, Radiesse — an absorbable, synthetic filler — is considered semi-permanent because its effects last only one to two years. How it works is simple: collagen, a protein that gives skin its structure, forms around the microspheres in Radiesse upon injection and firms the skin. The FDA approved this filler for treating wrinkles and folds that are moderate to severe [source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons]. In July 2009, the FDA also approved the use of a combination of Radiesse and the anesthetic lidocaine. This mixture has been shown to provide greater comfort for patients receiving fillers [source: Reuters].
Like Radiesse, Sculptra is a semi-permanent filler that causes the body to form collagen around microspheres [source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons]. However, the FDA has only approved Sculptra for treatment of fat loss in people with HIV [source: FDA].

If you have sensitive skin or often experience allergic reactions, you may want to consider natural dermal fillers instead of synthetics. These fillers use ingredients already found in your body, or very similar to those already inside of you, so they are less likely to react with your skin. FDA-approved natural fillers have either hyaluronic acid or collagen as the major active ingredient [source: FDA].

Dermal fillers give you many options to improve facial imperfections without surgery. No matter what kind of dermal filler interests you, make sure you talk to your doctor and thoroughly understand the benefits, side effects and longevity of the treatment you choose.

Article Source: Barrymore, John.  “Dermal Fillers”  20 August 2009.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/beauty/skin-treatments/dermal-fillers.htm>  16 January 2013.

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