Dermal Fillers Correct Volume Loss
Facial fat maintains beauty
Most would agree that babies are cute. Why? A lot is to do with their plump, fat faces! As they grow into young adults, bones and proportions change but they retain good amounts of fat sitting high in the cheeks giving a strong curve to the area.
Fat and bone changes
Once we start to age (in our mid 20’s), two things start to happen that significantly change the architecture of our faces and how young/fresh/beautiful we look:
- Fat atrophy - this is the process of cells shrinking in size. We all lose fat from our faces at the rate of 2-4mls per year. Not a huge amount (a teaspoon is 5mls) but fast forward 20 years to the mid forties and that’s a lot of volume.
- Fat descent - not only do we lose fat but the fat we keep hold of starts to move south. This contributes to a flattening of the cheeks and creation of folds by the sides of the mouth that we call nasolabial folds or, more kindly, smile lines.
- Boney change – bones change shape become thinner and smaller giving less support for the overlying fat. This is more important in women, especially after menopause when protective hormones wane.
The hand & glove analogy
These changes are made worse still as skin lose its elasticity and begins to sag. Think of a hand in a glove…. The hand (bone and fat) is slowly shrinking whilst the glove (the skin) is getting bigger and baggier. The poor fit results in the glove crumpling.
So, there are two solutions…. Make the hand bigger (replace lost volume) or make the glove tighter (otherwise know as a facelift!) There are other ways to tighten skin including radio frequency but surgery is the gold standard.
Replacing lost volume
Replacing volume can be done with two main techniques…. Simply putting small amounts of volume into individual lines (such as smile lines) to smooth them. This is known in the trade as “line chasing”. Alternatively, volume can be used to rebuild curves, soften hollows to minimise shadow and create a better fit for the glove.
Options for volume replacement
This treatment involves removing fat from one area of the body and injecting it into the face. It requires minor surgery and will leave you a little sore and bruised but the results can last for a long time. Make sure it’s done right though as a poor transfer may mean some of the fat dying leaving an uneven result. And if you don’t like the result, it can be a little tricky to correct as this will mean liposuction to remove unwanted fat.
Dermal fillers are the gold standard treatment for volume replacement. Long gone are the days of these being made of animal collagen with associated allergy risks. Now, most dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic gel which is part of our skin and provides volume, support and hydration from the inside out. Treatment takes minutes and after you can continue with your day as normal though many like to head back home rather than the office.
Sculptra is a powder that is mixed with water and then injected. Rather than providing instant volume as with fat transfer and dermal fillers, Sculptra stimulates your own cells to product new collagen that not only creates volume but also improves the quality of skin. This process happens over several months and is a great way to re-volumise in a slow and sneaky way!
Almost everyone over the age of 30 will show the signs of volume loss and could benefit from some replacement, even if just very subtle. A stitch in time saves nine is the right attitude when thinking about how to treat your skin as prevention is always better than cure.
Dr Askari Townshend is a GMC registered doctor, qualified in 2002, and Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, England. He is founder and Medical Director of ASKINOLOGY in the City of London and has been practicing aesthetic medicine full time since 2008.