Personal beauty is greater recommendation than any letter of reference - Aristotle
A Review on the Different Brands of Facial Dermal Fillers
There are so many brands of facial fillers on the market these days, many find it hard to decide which is most suitable for them. My two cents’ worth below– hope it helps!
1. Hyaluronic acid based Dermal Fillers
This is by far the most commonly used type of dermal fillers for the face and body, the most well known ones being Juvederm and Restylane, which are USA FDA approved facial fillers. Facial dermal fillers made in the USA are far more costly but well worth its price, because I also find the quality top of its class. In any brand of hyaluronic acid filler, there is a range of viscosity that is suitable for the various facial areas - there is no such thing as 1 size fits all in this case. My personal favourite for the nose, chin and cheeks is Juvederm Voluma, which has been known to last longer for a hyaluronic acid based filler.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are very safe - the safest of its kind - because it is easily reversible should you not like the results. Also it is highly malleable and easy to adjust into the desired shape even after injection. As the most versatile filler type (yet with a good safety profile) , I find it is the best choice in most people. If you are a dummy in fillers, opt for this as a beginner's choice - you cannot go wrong.
There are so many other brands on the market these days, many of which are now also made in Korea. These fillers come with a lower price tag to the provider and therefore, to the consumer.
4. Calcium Hydroxylapatite
The most well known filler of this type is Radiesse. I find that the lifting effect for the cheeks in particular is lovely and immediately visible even with a very little amount, as long as it’s in the right place. In fact, it sometimes gives the face a glow soon after treatment.
Disappointingly, I find its effect on the nose more variable – it may occasionally give a better lift and definition for the nose bridge as compared to hyaluronic acid fillers, but at other times, it may spread and disappear faster than hyaluronic acid types. Also, post treatment with Radiesse on the nose, top up for nose filler is trickier due to fibrosis under the skin and can predispose to lumps and uneven augmentation during top up.
Many people also may think it lasts longer on the nose but I have found it to be untrue – it is actually rather variable in its duration of effect for the nose. Only a handful find that it really lasts up to or more than 1 year. Many find it may have much reduced in a few months, either due to spread or natural dissolution. After all, the manufacturer does promise that it is only supposed to last 12 months like the hyaluronic acid filler. It is not considered a semi-permanent filler anymore.
My recommendation: use it in very specific conditions according to the individual.
A new filler type also known as 少女针 comprising of microspheres suspended in a gel carrier. It is still biodegradable but at the same time stimulates collagen under the skin so that the immediate result from the filler treatment may last anywhere from 1 to 5 years. However, due to its regenerative properties, selective use of it on the correct parts of the face is necessary to avoid problems later on, such as lumps and granulomas.
It is not applied in microdroplets all over the skin like 水光针 or 婴儿针, but is used just like any other filler to volumise facial areas that have lost the fullness of youth. The usage of Ellanse is like a hybrid of Sculptra and Radiesse – used like Radiesse in ease of injection, but the effect is like Sculptra so it may last between 2 to 3 years.
4. Poly-L-Lactic Acid
Also widely known as Sculptra, it is a regenerative filler like Ellanse but less of the filling effect at the start. The volumising effect lasts for a week, after which it is full absorbed, but in a few months, the material of the filler stimulates collagen to increase volume where it is placed. Due to its fluid nature, it is not suitable for nose and chin but ok for the cheeks. The usage is troublesome though, as the solution has to be prepared overnight before it can be used for treatment so once you decide to proceed, you still have to wait at least a day before you can proceed.
An almost permanent filler known as Aquamid that can last 2-5 years - it’s basically a plastic gel. Considering the cost vs the length of time it lasts, it’s easily the most economical filler. The only risk is in the event of problems, it cannot be dissolved easily like the hyaluronic acid based fillers. However, in my years of practice using this brand of filler, I have yet to encounter lump formation with Aquamid.
Filler choice varies from person to person, depending on your specific requirements, budget and desired area of treatments. There is definitely no “one size fits all” in this regard. It’s ok even if you may need different fillers for different areas of treatment as they seldom cross react with one another. It’d be worse if you try to force a certain type of filler in an area it is not suitable for!