Tissues involve a non-living matrix with a set of living cells which are there to maintain it; in the case of the soft tissues that are just under the skin, the non-living matrix is made up of fibrous tissue like collagen and and more gelatinous compounds the most common of which is hyaluronic acid.
The reduction in collagen over time is well known and has often been associated with sagging or loosening of skin, but until fairly recently, hyaluronic acid has been ignored. As someone ages, nearly 20% of the hyaluronic acid in their soft tissues is lost, the plumping and filling techniques used in dermal fillers W1 are an attempt to replace hyaluronic acid in more mature patients or to accentuate features in younger ones.
What is hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a highly hydrophilic compound; a white crystalline substance in its purest form, it is found as a translucent gel in skin tissues. The structure of this acid is similar to that of the amino acids which are the basis of skin proteins and as such, it acts as a Zwitterion; this is a fancy way of saying that when fully hydrated, hyaluronic acid is actually pH neutral and has a role in maintaining a neutral pH in our tissues.
Almost all the hyaluronic acid found in dermal fillers is produced by bacteria in large fermenters in a similar way as beer is brewed, thus making it far cheaper than the older method of harvesting hyaluronic acid from animal sources and far more inert and unlikely to elicit an immune reaction. It also makes it vegan-friendly.
Dermal fillers are suitable when applied by an experienced professional almost anywhere on the body. They are often used to accentuate lips and cheekbones, but they can be used to plump and fill the tissues of hands, the neck and even reshape noses.
Hyaluronic acid is constantly being created and broken down in our bodies; the additional hyaluronic acid applied via the filler will be broken down and reabsorbed over a period of 4 to 6 months.
Dermal filler providers
In the UK, dermal fillers are considered an minimally invasive procedure, and are therefore largely unregulated. This means that there are many dermal filler providers on a standard high street, and companies advertising online also give the option for you to purchase fillers and administer them yourself. The overall effect gained by dermal fillers is less about the product that you use and more about the skill and experience gained by the practitioner who administers the injections. It is not recommended to self-inject, and the results vary wildly depending on the competency of the provider. If you have had friends who can genuinely recommend a practitioner as competent when applying fillers, you should probably take their advice.
If you are looking for a dermal filler provider who you can trust to be competent, it may be wise to start at your local dental surgery, many of whom offer dermal filling services, but also have the legislative oversight of being a fully licensed dentist. They, therefore, are often far more qualified and safe than a service you might find in a local beauty salon.