Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers have changed the non-surgical approach to facial rejuvenation as well as now being used for facial sculpting. They are still most commonly known for plumping up lips and filling nose-to-mouth lines (nasolabial folds) but these days dermal fillers have a broad range of other uses. These include highlighting cheek bones, targeting eye bags, concealing early jowls and even nose-reshaping.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring compound found all throughout the body as well as in other residing organisms. It's natural functionalities include giving skin it is elasticity and lubricating joints. Commercially-available HA fillers include the JuvedermTM & VycrossTM ranges by Allergan.
HA is a clear gel that is injected into or just under the skin in small amounts to restore volume and structure. The injections may be performed on an outpatient basis (i.e. in the clinic). Modern HA fillers consist of local anaesthetic to ease the distress of the injections and also to reduce any post-injection pain
The result of HA treatment are long-lasting but not lifelong. Commonly results will last 6-12 months prior to further top-ups are signified. For the lips, 6-monthly treatments may be needed.
Treatments usually take 15-30 mins. A fine needle or cannula (blunt-tipped needle) is applied to inject HA into the skin to soften lines and wrinkles, sculpt the face or enhance the lips.
It is normal to experience some discomfort after the injections. Redness, swelling, pain, itching, bruising or inflammation at the injections sites may also happen. These typically go away after a number of days .
You may be recommended to massage the treated area to help spread the HA and reduce any lumps developing in certain situations.
Cool gentle compresses might assist to minimise any swelling and bruising
Paracetamol can be used for any discomfort after treatment
Ideally you should avoid make-up and direct sunlight on the treated areas until the following day
It is also a good idea to avoid aspirin, or non-steroidal pain-killers (ibuprofen, Nurofen), St Johns Wort or high doses of vitamin E supplements for a week right after treatment. These may enhance bleeding and bruising at the injection site.
Refrain from exercise and alcohol for at minimum 6-hours right after treatment.
It is ok to wash your face as normal the evening of the injections.
As HA is biodegraded, future treatments will be required to maintain the results. Return visits are usually at 6-12 months post-treatment.
People who take medicine to thin their blood (such as aspirin and warfarin) will be at higher risk of bruising so need to be cautious with HA fillers. Likewise, people who take long-term steroids typically have thin skin and can beat higher risk of some complications from the injections - this will be discussed with you in person during your consultation. HA fillers should not be used if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, we would not treat anyone under 18-years old, apart from very exceptional circumstances (such as facial asymmetry issues or underlying bony anomalies. If you suffer from cold sores, please speak to the team regarding this as you may require treatment with an anti-viral medication to decrease the risk of cold sores being stimulated by HA treatment.
Complications with HA fillers are uncommon. As described above, redness, swelling tenderness and bruising can occur at the site of injection.
Allergic reactions are uncommon with HA, as this is a naturally-occurring compound.
Under- or over-treatment is a possibility with HA filler treatment. If the area is deemed to be under-treated, further HA might be given (at cost). If over-treatment has occurred, the best way to approach this in your individual situation will be discussed with you. Occasionally the HA can be massaged to distribute it before the body naturally reabsorbs it; otherwise, injections of hyalase (an enzyme that can dissolve HA) might be indicated.
There have been rare case reports of serious problems associated with HA fillers, including blindness, when the HA filler has been accidentally injected directly into a blood vessel. Fortunately this is very rare and every precaution is taken to reduce this risk.
Prices starts from £295