In Ask a Dermatologist, Cosmetic

Facial fillers are gel-like substances injected into the skin to plump up wrinkles and reduce fine lines on your face. There are several types of facial fillers, also known as dermal fillers.

Fillers are popular because they can help anyone achieve the cosmetic look they desire without a long wait time. If you are considering using facial fillers, you may have some questions. Before booking your first appointment, you should understand the cost, safety, side effects and recovery time after the procedure. 

A board-certified cosmetic dermatologist can make the best recommendations based on your needs, budget and desired outcome. Keep reading so you will have a better understanding of facial fillers.

Where can dermal fillers be applied?

While you might have ideas on improving your appearance and reducing wrinkles, dermal fillers can not be injected everywhere. Here is a breakdown of the four areas of the face where facial fillers can be injected:

1. Lip injections

Fillers are used in the lips to achieve a fuller pout. They can be injected into both the top and bottom lip or just one lip to create better symmetry.

2. Cheek injections

The cheeks are a popular placement for fillers because they help increase the volume loss associated with aging. An expert injector can use fillers to enhance your look without making your face appear frozen or puffy.

3. Forehead injections

Filler can be used in the forehead to minimize the lines etched into your face from muscle movement. A filler does not work like Botox, which freezes the muscles where it is injected.

4. Around-the-mouth injections

Fillers can be used in several places around the mouth, including the “smoker’s lines” around the lips, the nasolabial folds, which extend from the nose to the outer corners of the mouth and the marionette lines, which extend from the corners of the mouth to the chin.

Some less apparent uses of anti-aging facial fillers are for more nuanced issues. Some women use injections in the back of their hands to create a fuller look as aging or thinness occurs.

Younger adults may choose to fill in acne scars with injectable fillers. Some fillers help with the long-term production of collagen so they can be an economical solution to blemishes.

Types of facial fillers

Your skin is as unique to you as your fingerprints. Each individual has their own skin needs. So, just because your friend recommends a filler, there may be a better one for you. Your dermatologist will recommend the best option to reduce the signs of aging.

Different filler injections are designed for specific parts of the face or to treat various skin issues. Facial fillers last different periods of time depending on where they were injected and how your body metabolizes them. 

Remember that a filler is not a Botox injection, which freezes muscles so they cannot contract and cause wrinkles. Facial fillers for anti-aging are injected under the skin to smooth lines and plump and enhance areas of the skin. 

Hyaluronic acid

Most fillers contain hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring sugar in the body that moisturizes and gives skin volume and elasticity. As the body ages, this natural sugar decreases, making you more prone to wrinkles. 

When a hyaluronic acid filler is injected, it attracts water to the area, making it plump and smooth.  Most dermatologists prefer this type of filler because of its natural ingredients.

You are less likely to have an allergic reaction to this filler because hyaluronic acid is found in the body naturally. Studies have shown that hyaluronic acid injections can increase collagen and elastin production. So, you will need subsequent treatments less frequently.


Juvéderm is a brand name that uses a modified form of hyaluronic acid in its line of products. Each of their five products offers a customized treatment for the facial area you’re aiming to improve. Some are crafted specifically for addressing age-related volume changes in the face. Others are more delicate and smooth fine lines around the mouth. 

Depending on the chemicals used in the injection, a Juvéderm filler can last from 6 to 18 months. 


Restylane can treat multiple skin issues. It was initially intended to smooth the skin of wrinkles and folds and add volume to lips. 

A Restylane Lyft uses a thicker gel that can smooth severely wrinkled skin or add volume to sunken cheeks. It can also add fullness to the back of thin hands. Like Juvéderm, this treatment uses hyaluronic acid, which effectively smooths the skin. These treatments can also induce natural collagen production, so you will not need many future injections. 

Most of these injections last up to 18 months. 

Recovery time for anti-aging facial fillers

For most individuals, the recovery time for the swelling to go down after an injection is seven to ten days. It may take that long for any bruising and redness to subside. However, you may need to wait two to three weeks for the final results to be noticeable. Fortunately, the side effects for many are minimal and do not last long. 

Side effects of facial fillers

After a filler procedure, you may experience redness, swelling, pain and bruising at or near the injection site. If you experience more serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

Facial fillers are generally safe, but a licensed professional will ensure that the product is FDA-approved and administered correctly.

Cosmetic dermatology in Columbia

Columbia Skin Clinic is the Midlands’ largest and most respected dermatology practice. If you want to learn about cosmetic issues like facial fillers, schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists today.

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