Science Behind Dermal Fillers: How Do They Work?

The Science Behind Dermal Fillers:

Science Behind Dermal Fillers: How Do They Work?

Aging skin results from natural and environmental factors. Sun exposure accelerates changes like wrinkles, uneven pigment, and loss of volume; this is known as photoaging. These common signs of early skin aging can be improved through dermal fillers.

Dermal fillers replace lost volume to smooth wrinkles and folds. They restore fullness to sunken areas like the cheeks for a more youthful contour. Dermal fillers also stimulate collagen to firm and brighten the skin. These filler create subtle but meaningful changes and help you look more vibrant and well-rested.

So, what are Dermal Fillers exactly?

Dermal fillers are gel injections that add volume and smooth wrinkles. These gels are made of hyaluronic acid, which is already naturally found in skin. When injected into facial areas like the lips, around the eyes and mouth, these dermal fillers plump up wrinkles and folds and this, in turn, creates a more youthful, refreshed look.

The hyaluronic acid gels in dermal fillers absorb water, which allows them to add volume under the skin. This immediately fills in facial wrinkles and lines, softening their appearance. The results last several months to over a year depending on the type of dermal filler used.

Dermal fillers can specifically improve:

  • Frown lines between eyebrows
  • Smile lines around the mouth
  • Thin lips
  • Sunken cheeks or temples
  • A chin crease

The Role of Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a natural molecule in our bodies that helps tissues stay moist and flexible. It’s a sugar compound that can bind a lot of water. This allows it to hydrate skin and add volume.

The hyaluronic acid in dermal fillers is modified to be more stable. It forms a 3D network similar to the body’s own hyaluronic acid. This allows the filler to smoothly integrate into facial tissue. Unlike the natural molecule, it does not break down quickly. 

If needed, hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved with an injected enzyme. This reversibility is a major benefit. Lidocaine is also often mixed in to maximize patient comfort during injections.

When injected into facial areas, the water-binding properties of hyaluronic acid fillers add subtle volume. This smoothes out wrinkles and folds for a natural, refreshed look. The effects can last many months to over a year depending on the product.

With its safety and versatility, hyaluronic acid has become a preferred dermal filler ingredient. It provides customizable, temporary rejuvenation for common signs of aging.

Whenever one of our patients uses injectables, we recommend they stay away from the sun and the heat. There are several reasons:

  • Enjoying the sun is great, but after your treatment, it’s best to give your skin a break.
  • You should try to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible, as it can be a bit harsh during the healing phase.
  • Sun exposure could intensify some of the normal reactions like itchiness, puffiness, and heightened touch sensitivity.
  • The heat can cause your blood vessels to widen, potentially letting toxins enter your bloodstream.

Other types of dermal fillers

There are a few other types of dermal fillers besides hyaluronic acid, each with their own benefits.

One is calcium hydroxylapatite, which naturally occurs in our bones. It has been used safely for years in dentistry and reconstructive surgery. Since no animal products are used to make it, there’s less risk of an allergic reaction and you don’t need a skin test. This filler is known for looking very natural, not moving around, and rarely causing side effects.

Another is Poly-L-lactic acid, a synthetic filler. It helps stimulate your body’s own collagen production for a gradual increase in volume over several months. This type has been used as surgical suture material for over 40 years.

Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is a semi-permanent filler often used for deeper wrinkles that need longer-lasting correction. PMMA has been used for a long time in permanent surgical implants. Known as a collagen filler.

Polyalkylimide is another semi-permanent filler. It’s commonly used by plastic surgeons to fill deeper wrinkles, enhance thin lips and cheekbones, and restore lost facial volume. This filler causes minimal reaction in human tissue so it’s very biocompatible. It also doesn’t interfere with x-rays.

Each filler material has different thickness, durability, and feel. An expert will look at your particular concerns and expectations. They’ll advise you on the best options for your face and the results you can expect before, during and after treatment. The goal is for you to look your absolute best!

How do dermal fillers work?

Dermal fillers work through a minimally invasive injection to plump up skin. A doctor uses a thin needle to insert a gel, either made naturally or synthetically, into specific areas of your face. The gel fills in lines, wrinkles, and hollow spots, taking the place of lost fat and protein in the skin.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are very popular. They increase the hyaluronic acid that occurs naturally in skin. This instantly smooths out wrinkles and folds, leaving skin looking softer and more natural. Because hyaluronic acid binds to water, HA fillers also add volume. The acid absorbs moisture from the air, helping to plump up skin.

The results are subtle yet meaningful. Dermal fillers can specifically improve frown lines, smile lines, thin lips, sunken cheeks, and chin wrinkles. The smoothing and volumizing effects create a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance. Talk to a cosmetic surgeon about which dermal fillers may be best for your goals. With so many types available, an expert can help match the right product to gently enhance your facial contours.

Top areas for Dermal Fillers

Lip fillers are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dermal fillers. Celebs have made plump pouts popular! With lip fillers, you can subtly tweak the shape of your lips and make them more symmetrical. Fillers also fill in fine lines around the mouth so your lips appear smoother.

Another great use is restoring volume to the cheeks. As we age, we lose fat in the cheeks, which can make us look gaunt. Dermal filler in the cheeks adds fullness for a more youthful appearance without freezing your face like Botox.

Shaping the chin, jaw and nose is also a possibility with dermal filler injections. You can improve your side profile and reduce the look of a saggy neck. No surgery needed, please!

Fillers are magic on marionette lines and nasolabial folds (also called smile lines). These can add years to your face. Fillers quickly fill in the lines, taking years off while still looking natural.

So in summary, dermal fillers can subtly shape and contour the face for a refreshed yet natural look. Talk to a cosmetic surgeon to see if you’re a candidate. You may be surprised how a little filler can turn back the clock!

Choosing the Right Type Of Dermal Filler

Picking the right dermal filler is key – as important as choosing the doctor to do the injections. There’s a lot to think about when selecting the type of filler.

The filler that will be chosen will depend on the depth of your wrinkles, your age, and lifestyle. Sun damage, skin issues like discoloration, redness, moles, scars and other signs of skin damage matter too. All these things impact the treatments that will work best.

To pick the filler that will work well with your skin and target areas, chat with a doctor skilled in face rejuvenation. With their training, they can match you to the right product to subtly enhance your look. The goal is to diminish signs of aging and play up your natural beauty.

For instance, deeper wrinkles may need a thicker filler to plump them up. A lighter filler gel works better for fine lines. Your doctor will also consider how long you want results to last – some fillers work for months while others over a year. Discuss your budget as well since costs can vary.

The bottom line – a personalized filler tailored to you will give natural looking results. Consult an expert to find your perfect match!

Things to Ask Before Getting Dermal Fillers

Here are some questions to consider before getting dermal fillers:

  • What training and experience does my practitioner have? Look for a licensed doctor with expertise in facial anatomy and cosmetic procedures. Their skills and knowledge lead to the best and safest results.
  • What products will be used? Different fillers work better for certain areas. Your doctor should recommend options suited for your specific needs, whether plumping lips, smoothing wrinkles, or adding volume.
  • What side effects or risks should I know about? Serious complications are very rare with today’s dermal fillers. Still, discuss any potential issues and your practitioner’s emergency plans to feel fully confident.
  • What results can I realistically expect? Fillers restore lost volume and soften lines but won’t fix everything. Have realistic expectations about improvements to your appearance.
  • Will there be any downtime? Most patients resume normal activities immediately, with only mild swelling or bruising. Check with your doctor about when you can return to work and social engagements.
  • How long do results last? Depending on the filler, benefits typically last from 6 months to over a year. Ask about options for more temporary or longer-lasting enhancements.
  • What is the cost? Prices vary based on the type and amount of product used. Be sure to get a cost estimate beforehand so you can budget accordingly.
  • Do you have before and after photos I can see? Reputable doctors will provide images of previous patients to illustrate the kinds of improvements possible.

How long do fillers last and what is their safety record?

Dermal fillers can make a real difference in your appearance and they last a long time. By plumping lips, smoothing wrinkles, and stimulating collagen, they create youthful-looking results.

Side Effects 

The great thing about dermal fillers, especially hyaluronic acid ones, is that they are a relatively easy way to look better. After getting injections, you may have temporary side effects like redness, swelling, itching or pain. Luckily, these normally go away on their own within a few days.

More serious side effects are very rare but can include infection, lumpiness under the skin, the filler moving, scarring and blocked blood vessels. If you have any concerns after treatment, talk to your doctor right away.

How long do they last?

This will depend on the type of filler, where it’s injected and the specific person. Although not a hard rule, denser fillers that are injected deeper tend to last longer. To keep your look, cosmetic surgeons will repeat them as needed, adjusting the amount and technique to get the best results.

Since hyaluronic acid fillers are more temporary, they’re often recommended for first-timers. These usually last anywhere from 6 to 18 months. Because your body does not absorb synthetic fillers, they tend to last longer. They can be a great option for some patients who want long-lasting results from an experienced, certified pro whose style they like.


As you can see, there are a number of different dermal fillers available. They vary in their ingredients, how long they will last, and how soft they feel. Basically, your doctor will help you pick the best filler and amount for your personal needs.

Fillers can improve signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging. By understanding how fillers work, you can make informed choices about anti-aging treatments. It comes down to working with an expert to match the right filler to your personal taste, goals and expectations. If you want to smooth out fine lines, get plump lips, or sculpt your cheeks, there are options that can subtly enhance your natural contours.

Talking to a qualified physician is essential to determining the most suitable filler and treatment plan for your individual needs and goals.

We here at Machat Medical Aesthetics are 100% dedicated to optimizing our clients’ experiences.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us! Text (647) 622-0850, or simply book an appointment by filling out this form. One of our professionals will be happy to assist you.