Liquid Face Lift: Beautiful can be Eternal
Having practiced medicine for over 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of patients, from all walks of life and with widely-varying medical histories. It’s really quite amazing to work with so many different people, because every person’s case is very unique and requires a specialized approach that considers their medical history, medical goals, and personal preferences about different procedures. Perhaps nowhere else is this unique dynamic more prominent than in using dermal fillers and injectables to sculpt and shape a patient’s facial features to reverse the signs of aging.
Aging vs. Beauty
Whenever I meet a new patient who is interested in dermal fillers, I like to point out one simple fact: aging is inevitable, but staying beautiful can be eternal. What do I mean by that…?
Can your face look the same way at the age of 50, as it did when you were 20? Of course not! Well, you could try, with drastic plastic surgery, but it will look unnatural, and other people will be able to tell that you’ve had work done.
Other people try to avoid aging altogether by using a large number of dermal fillers and injectables, like Juvederm, Radiesse, Belotero and Botox, but results can also be lackluster when overused. You see, dermal fillers are just tools, and in order for the result to look beautiful, these tools have to be used correctly, and not overzealously.
Having performed thousands of cosmetic and dermal filler treatments over the decades, I’ve become a strong believer in the idea that the true purpose of dermal fillers isn’t to reverse aging, but to help you age beautifully and gracefully. When used correctly, these treatments aren’t meant to completely re-define your face, but almost as a sculpting tool; which helps accentuate positive features of your face, while reducing the appearance of the less-pleasing ones. Taking this approach allows the results to look beautiful naturally, without the tell-tale signs that you’ve had work done.
How We Age
To understand how dermal fillers are used, it’s important to first consider the different aspects of aging.
- Dynamic Wrinkles: As you age, you will notice a number of changes to your skin and other facial tissues. For example, some individuals experience a heavy onset of dynamic lines, like gabella and crow’s feet. These types of lines often appear from repetitive movements, like squinting and smiling.
- Gravity and Collagen: Another type of wrinkles arise from the combined effects of collagen loss and the constant pull of gravity. Nasolabial folds are one example of such lines, where the decreased skin elasticity causes the skin to sag more. Jowls are also partly attributable to this same process of collagen loss and gravity.
- Volume Loss: In addition to wrinkles, one of the bigger frustrations some patients have is the hollowness in their cheeks and temples. Whereas once their cheeks were supple and their temples provided a smooth visual transition from the forehead to the cheeks; now, their face appears more hollow, which causes them to look much older than they really are. More than that, this hollowness from loss of fatty tissue causes the skin to sag, because there’s much less volume to prop it up.
Dermal Fillers to Treat the Signs of Aging
Here at my office I use many dermal fillers and injectables to help patients address the unique needs of their skin. In some ways, I look at all of these as palette of paints, and the patient’s unique facial structure as the canvas. The question is always; which dermal filler will be best for each situation, and how do we ensure that the results look natural and accentuate your unique beauty?
For example, in patients who would like to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, we can use Botox to reduce the contraction of specific muscle areas that cause the wrinkle. When injected correctly, Botox can provide very natural results that do not limit your ability to form facial expressions and do not create a plastic appearance.
However, some patients may better benefit from dermal fillers like Radiesse or Hyaluronic Acid fillers.
Radiesse is a dermal filler that adds immediate volume to the treatment area, which helps to plump up the skin for fast wrinkle reducing results. However, it can also provide benefits on a longer-term basis, by helping the body produce more collagen at the treatment site, thereby strengthening skin elasticity.
Hyaluronic acid is another ingredient that can volumize the treatment area to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. For example, many Juvederm, Belotero and Restylane dermal fillers are formulated around hyaluronic acid as the main ingredient. This chemical also appears naturally in our bodies, and works by attracting moisture to the treatment area.
Hyaluronic acid loves water, and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture volume! By drawing moisture to the treatment area, we can build up volume under the patient’s skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It also works great on the lips.
However, these types of dermal fillers may not be the right option for all patients. One of the drawbacks of most fillers and injections is that they need to be boosted regularly. For example, Botox injection treatments need to be repeated as often as every 3 months sometimes, and dermal filler treatments with Juvederm and Radiesse may need to be repeated every 9-12 months. Though many patients don’t mind this, others prefer to extend treatment times as much as possible.
Bellafill for Facial Volume Loss
One dermal filler that caught my attention a few years ago was Bellafill. At the time, this was a relatively new treatment option for facial sculpting, and promised to give patients results that lasted much longer. Having been in the medical field for so long, I’ve learned to be skeptical about new procedures and treatment options, and to carefully learn about these options before suggesting them to my patients.
So, before offering it to my patients I made it a point to learn as much about Bellafill as possible. I’ve talked to other doctors using this product, reviewed the medical studies, and was quite intrigued.
Slowly, I decided to introduce this treatment option to a select group of patients, and the results were striking. The ability to create natural-looking results was quite amazing, and more than that, the results stayed strong for several years. In fact, some patients experienced positive results for up to 5 years, with no booster treatment sessions in-between! It is also the only FDA-approved dermal filler to correct acne scars.
Over the years, the Bellafill dermal filler became one of my favorite tools, and I use it often to help patients who are looking to increase facial volume and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Here are some things you should know about this filler:
- Bellafill has three main ingredients: lidocaine, bovine collagen, and microsphere enhanced PMMA. The lidocaine is a local anesthetic that makes injections comfortable, the bovine collagen provides immediate volume to the treatment area, and the PMMA microspheres stimulate long term collagen production.
- The bovine collagen makes up about 80% of the actual injection formulation and provides immediate volume that takes several months for the body to absorb. The PMMA stimulates natural collagen production so that as the injected bovine collagen is broken down, your body grows your own collagen fibers to take its place.
- Bellafill has a texture that feels very smooth and natural; like your own tissue. Therefore, it will feel very natural when you touch your face at the treatment site.
- Bellafill is quite effective to replace lost volume in the cheeks, temples, and even the earlobe! Many patients are surprised to hear that a dermal filler can be used to plump up a sagging earlobe, but Bellafill can actually do that. By providing volume, the elasticity of the earlobe is increased, which means it stretches less when you wear earrings.
- This dermal filler can even be used around the eyebrows, to fill in hollowness and provide a brow lift by virtue of increasing volume under the skin.
Final Thoughts on Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers like Bellafill, Radiesse, Juvederm, Belotero and the like can be amazing tools when used properly. However, it’s important that these tools are not over-used and don’t distort the balance of the face. For example, using too much filler at the bottom portions of the face can make it appear heavy, while using too much at the top can create a balance distortion.
Instead, by focusing on contouring the face and correcting the contour lines, we can lift the entire appearance of the face. This will help create an appearance that isn’t just natural, but also graceful. And the best part…? No plastic surgery required!
If you’d like to know more about dermal fillers or Bellafill, please give me a call, or fill out the Contact Form!