A dermal filler works by raising or puffing up particular areas of the face. It is most commonly used in areas that succumb to sagging skin, which creates a hollowed look. The specific manner as to how the procedure works depends on the type of fillers being used. Existing options include:
Hyaluronic Acid – The most commonly used type of dermal filler, a hyaluronic acid filler works by drawing fluid to the specified part of the face that needs a lift. This substance is used in popular filler brands such as Juvederm, Captique, and Restylane; the effects of these fillers typically last around 9 months to 1 year.
Fat Graft – A fat graft, also known as an autologous fat, refers to fat cells that are taken from another part of the patient's own body then injected into the recipient site. Since the injected filler is made of actual human fat, the effects of this type of treatment can last for years.
Polymer – Filler brands like Sculptra uses a man-made and biodegradable polymer substance. This is another long-lasting option, with effects lasting up to two years.
Calcium hydroxylapatite – This is the main substance used in another popular filler brand Radiesse, which can keep wrinkles and skin aging at bay for up to 12 months.
Bovine collagen – Fillers like Zyderm and Zyplast use bovine collagen. However, due to the nature of this substance, the patient has to undergo an allergy test at least 4 weeks prior to undergoing the treatment to ensure that he or she will not have any adverse reactions to the injectable filler.
Microscopic plastic beads – Because bovine collagen treatment does not offer permanent results, it is often mixed with microscopic beads that are made of polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA that stay under the skin for good even when the collagen melts away; they therefore effectively extend the effects of the treatment to at least 5 years.
A filler treatment can be carried out by a dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon. Regardless of which material is used as the filling agent, a greater part of the process is generally the same. The patient first receives a local anesthesia to numb the facial area. Once the anesthesia has settled in, the surgeon or dermatologist injects the filler into the predetermined area, just under the skin. For fat graft, however, the fat that will be used as the filling agent is first harvested from another part of the body.
Each procedure will take approximately 15 minutes. However, depending on the severity of the condition and the size of the treatment area, succeeding sessions may be necessary. If so, each session is spaced at least two weeks apart.
Botox is a purified form of the botulinum toxin that is obtained from bacteria. Though it is deadly in larger amounts, the tiny, regulated amount of Botox given to correct wrinkles has been used safely for decades.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it is injected. When those nerve signals are interrupted, the affected muscle is temporarily paralyzed or frozen. Without movement of these selected muscles in the face, certain wrinkles may be softened, reduced, or even removed.
Botox and other treatments made with botulinum toxin are sometimes called neuromodulators or neurotoxins.
Treatments made with botulinum toxin are sold under the brand names Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin.
Laser hair removal is used to reduce unwanted hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, chin and the bikini line. However, it's possible to treat unwanted hair in nearly any area, except the eyelid or surrounding area.
Hair color and skin type influence the success of laser hair removal. The basic principle is that the pigment of the hair, but not the pigment of the skin, should absorb the light. The laser should damage only the hair follicle while avoiding damage to the skin. Therefore, a contrast between hair and skin color — dark hair and light skin — results in the best outcomes.
The risk of damage to skin is greater when there is little contrast between hair and skin color, but advances in laser technology have made laser hair removal an option for people who have darker skin. Laser hair removal is less effective for hair colors that don't absorb light well: gray, red, blond and white. However, laser treatment options for light-colored hair continue to be developed.
The doctor also will offer specific instructions to prepare for laser hair removal. These might include:
Staying out of the sun. Follow your doctor's advice for avoiding sun exposure, usually up to six weeks before treatment, and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily.
Lightening your skin. Avoid any sunless skin creams that darken your skin. Your doctor also might prescribe a skin bleaching cream if you have a recent tan or darker skin.
Avoiding other hair removal methods. Plucking, waxing and electrolysis can disturb the hair follicle and should be avoided at least four weeks before treatment.
Avoiding blood-thinning medications. Ask your doctor about what medications, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, to avoid before the procedure.
Shaving treatment area. Trimming and shaving is recommended the day before laser treatment. It removes hair above the skin that can result in surface skin damage from burnt hairs, but it leaves the hair shaft intact below the surface.