Dermal Fillers

Dermal Fillers to look younger Over 100 cases treated over 5 years.

What are dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers are non-surgical cosmetic treatments used to bring a more youthful appearance by restoring volume or fullness to the face and lips. They work by reducing or eliminating lines, wrinkles and folds in the skin and the effect is seen immediately after treatment.

As skin ages both naturally and because of other factors such as sun-damage, smoking, and poor diet, we lose collagen and elasticity, fat and other natural moisturising substances from our skin. These can be thought of as the natural 'scaffolding' that keeps it looking young and feeling firm. With less of these, our skin becomes thinner and we start to see lines, wrinkles and folds developing. This usually more noticeable on our faces.

Put simply, dermal fillers are used to restore that lost volume in the face by plumping out lines, wrinkles and folds.

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What are dermal fillers made of?

Various kinds of safe, natural and man-made materials are used as dermal fillers; these have been specifically developed over the years for use in the skin.

Two kinds of dermal fillers are usually suggested for the face: semi-permanent and non-permanent. The semi-permanent type (e.g. Radiesse and Sculptra) lasts up to 18 months. The non-permanent fillers, such, as, Hyaluronic Acid (HA) derived Hydra Fill and Restylane, last for around 6-12 months, depending upon the site application and the formulation of the material used.

Dr Harry Singh explains Dermal Fillers:


Hyaluronic acid

HA is found naturally throughout our bodies: in our skin, bones, joints and eyes. It acts as a lubricant and moisturiser due to its ability to attract and store water. Hyaluronic Acid is clinically produced, usually from bacterial, not from animal or human sources.

Some well-known brands of HA dermal fillers in the UK include:

  • Hydra Fill
  • Restylane
  • Matridur

Restylane has robust clinical data spanning over 10 years to underpin its safety and efficacy, with over 6 million treatments worldwide as further testimony.

There are other brands that your practitioner may recommend and you will be advised about their side effects as well as their longevity.

Alternative materials used in dermal fillers

Collagen fillers

Collagen fillers are produced by purifying collagen from animal sources. With collagen you must have an allergy test 28 days before treatment to ensure you are not sensitive to the constituents of the filler. Collagen fillers don't generally last as long as HA fillers and their use has declined. Two examples are Zyderm and Zyplast.


This dermal filler contains particles of synthetic calcium suspended in a gel and its history includes use in surgery and dental surgery. It has the effect of a dermal filler but it also encourages collagen production in your skin to help increase its volume over time.


Sculptra is not a true dermal filler but a volumiser; it is used to reduce lines and wrinkles by stimulating the skin's own collagen production to thicken your skin and to replace the volume lost through ageing. It usually lasts for about 18 months.

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How are fillers supplied?

Dermal fillers are supplied in a pre-filled sterile syringe for injection.

They are manufactured in different thicknesses; some are more gel-like, and others are more liquid.

The thicker ones are used to restore the deeper folds or wrinkles such as those between the nose and the corner of the mouth. The thinner ones are used more superficially for fine lines such as crow's feet.

Is the treatment uncomfortable?

A local anaesthetic cream is used to make the treatment as comfortable as possible. For treatments near the mouth, such as lip treatments, your practitioner will freeze the area with an injection which is similar to a dental anaesthetic.

After the treatment your practitioner will give you aftercare instructions to maximise its benefits.

Are there any adverse effects?

Many thousands of dermal filler treatments have been carried out in the UK and even more around the world, with few serious or lasting side effects.

Most people can return to their normal daily life immediately after the treatment. However, your practitioner will explain the possible side effects during the initial consultation.

The commonest side effects are related to the fact that you have had injections in the area being treated, they typically last only one to three days.

These side effects can include slight bleeding and mild bruising, swelling may also occur around the area. If you have lip treatment swelling can last 3-5 days, otherwise it is transient.

Allergic reactions to dermal filler treatment are rare but can include: redness, itching, swelling, and hardness, or small bumps under the skin. These side effects may last for weeks or months and sometimes longer, fortunately they are very rare.

If you have a history of cold sores, dermal filler treatment in that area might cause them to break out again. Your practitioner may prescribe a course of anti-viral tablets (e.g. acyclovir) immediately after the treatment and for a few days afterwards, to reduce the possibility of a recurrence.

How long do dermal fillers last?

The length of time that dermal fillers last depends on the type of filler used and the area injected. On average, you would expect the results of a Hyaluronic Acid dermal fillers to last around 6-12 months. Thicker dermal fillers tend to last longer than those used for finer lines.

Laresse is another filler that lasts for a similar time to HA dermal fillers, but collagen generally lasts between 3-6 months.

The effects of Radiesse and Sculptra last 18 months or more.

As the dermal filler is gradually broken down and the level of volume you gained lessens, you can choose to the have the area 'topped-up' to retain the effect. However, if you decide not to, the advantage of non-permanent dermal fillers is that the area will gradually return to how it was before the treatment.

Can anyone have dermal filler treatment?

Whilst most people can benefit from this treatment, there are certain medications and conditions that preclude its use. Your practitioner will ask a number of questions to ensure that dermal fillers are appropriate.

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding you would be advised to delay treatment until breast-feeding has finished. This is simply a precaution.

What to do next?

Please make an appointment to discuss the options for skin rejuvenation with our trained medical professional. Dermal fillers can be complemented by Botulinum Toxin treatment such as Botox® as well as chemical peels. The practitioner will also advise you about skin care including sun protection and moisturisers.

Please make sure that you are fully aware of any potential side effects before benefiting from skin rejuvenation treatments.

Dr Harry Singh is trained in the following fillers: Restylane, Softline and Laresse.

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