How do they work?
The fundamental working principle of dermal fillers is that they have a 'plumping' effect. This simply implies that they will plump-up the area which has received the injection, levelling it with other parts of the skin and making it look plumped out, even and no longer sunken. Ultimately, different fillers may achieve this goal in slightly different ways, but the result is that the skin will look plump and firm, young and refreshed.
The treatment is successful by taking advantage of the basic roles and functions of the skin, which can also help in fully understanding the procedure. The human skin is made up of two layers, namely the epidermis and the dermis. The outermost layer is the epidermis and its main function is to serve as protection against the effects of the environment and other components. It controls water loss from tissues and cells, thus serving as a barrier to the outside environment.
The dermis layer is right below the epidermis and constitutes the skin's structural elements, such as nerves, hair follicles and blood vessels. The growth of cells and blood vessels is enhanced through a framework provided by a network of fibres that is formed by protein.
The major component of the dermis is collagen which gives the skin its firm elasticity and strength, offering fundamental support to the skin. As one grows old the ageing process causes the upper layer (the epidermis) to gradually become thin and provides less protection to the dermis layer. In addition, collagen production in the body slows down considerably as the existing collagen becomes ineffective.
This then causes wrinkles, folds, depressions and other forms of skin abnormalities associated with old age. It is at this point that dermal fillers become necessary to reduce the consequences of the deteriorating epidermis and weakened collagen. Dermal fillers technically work as replenishment for the natural collagen which has been rendered less effective by the ageing process. They work as collagen and, depending on the quality of the system used, impressive results can be achieved.
The general working principle is similar for all dermal fillers, but may vary slightly from one type to another. Dermal fillers are usually designed to treat one area specifically, such as the lips. Often, various dermal fillers are marketed under a similar name with each treating a different area of the body, or providing a different level of treatment.