Most of us are on a daily quest for facial rejuvenation and achieving that youthful, dewy, rested complexion that we crave. Injectable HA may be something you were thinking about trying. But - what is it? Do I need it? When do I need it? Would it help? Is it safe for me? Will others notice?
It may seem overwhelming but let’s take it one step at a time.
HA is a substance that we all have, naturally, in our skin. It serves to hold water in our skin and keeps it hydrated and plump. It also serves as a molecule to prevent water from evaporating from our skin into the air. However, just like collagen and elastin, ageing and exposure to things like UV radiation from the sun and tobacco smoke can decrease the quantity we have in our skin.
Injectables, such as Juvederm and Restylane, provide HA in a gel form to add volume to the dermal layer of the skin to plump and smooth the skin where it is injected and it then slowly dissolves over time.
But revolumizing is not the only application of HA in facial rejuvenation. It can also be used to shape areas, for example on the chin and jawline in both men and women to create the desired improvement. It can also be used to correct certain nasal deformities, amongst other uses.
There is an additional benefit of an increase in the natural levels of HA in the skin. This is important because it supports the radiance of the skin and improves skin texture. In essence, it can help to “make your skin look better”.
The most common complications are those that can occur at the injection site – swelling, pain, redness, itching and bruising. These are usually only there, if they occur, for up to a few days after injection of the HA. Others include a hypersensitivity reaction, skin infection and surface irregularities and nodules.
SELECTION IS KEY
HA filler products from different manufacturers have differing physical properties. The firmness of the product, as well as the particle size, are important in selecting the type of filler needed to achieve our desired goal. And often multiple types of injectable HA may be needed at one time.
WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR A GOOD OUTCOME?
There are definitely things that you can do to help achieve a good outcome. Here are a few.
Have an open, honest discussion. Ask questions. I need to understand your goals and expectations so that we can decide if an injectable HA is the appropriate option or if the outcome might be unrealistic.
Stop medication like Advil or Aspirin at least 5 days and certain herbal supplements at least 2 weeks prior to your expected treatment. This will help reduce any bruising you may experience. Medically necessary medications should be continued but be aware of a possible increased risk of bruising.
Be aware that skin rashes or skin infections or currently active infections as well as immunosuppressive states are contra-indications to treatment.
Antibacterial mouthwash used prior to injecting lip fillers will minimize the risk of contamination when lip licking.
At the end of the day, even with all of the potential benefits mentioned above, no 2 faces are the same and … while we all feel we could do with some plumping, brightening and smoothing in some areas of our faces, injectable HA should be viewed as an adjuvant in our anti-ageing regimen. Some may need it, others not. And the goal when injecting is to enhance your features in a way that is subtly beautiful so as to get the response: “Hmm, you look refreshed! What did you do?”
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be – that’s where I’m here to help! So …. Book a consultation. Let’s get started!
Patient factors influencing dermal filler complications: prevention, assessment and treatment. De Boulle, K et. al . Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2015:8 205-214
Minimizing bruising following fillers and other cosmetic injectables. Hamman, M et. al. JCAD August 19, 2013
Injectable HA: More than Fillers. The Chronicle of Cosmetic Medicine and Surgery. Vol 9 No 1 Autumn 2019