When it comes to tweakments, one of the most commonly asked questions is “What are facial fillers made of?” After all, if you’re getting something injected into your face, of course you’re going to want to know what’s in it!
Facial fillers, face fillers, lip filler, dermal fillers, soft tissue fillers or simply “fillers” – whatever you call them, before we look at what they’re made of, it’s important to understand what they actually do.
Fillers are gel-like volumisers that can be injected into the face to produce a range of results. Think of them as the JLo of aesthetic medicine; whilst it can’t act, sing and dance, this triple threat can lift, smooth and sculpt.
Its juicy versatility is one of the reasons dermal fillers are among the most popular treatments here at The Academy Clinic.
What’s in your facial fillers?
Most facial fillers used in the UK and those used at The Academy Clinic are entirely, or at least predominantly, made from the humectant, hyaluronic acid. You may be familiar with this ingredient from your skincare as it’s considered a hydration hero in topical products. But what is hyaluronic acid and what does it do? Let’s break it down…
Hyaluronic acid is a sugar which occurs naturally in the body, with the largest concentrations located in the eyes, joints and skin. It’s a cushiony lubricant known for its ability to attract water, making it great for hydrating and volumising the skin.
Our bodies constantly make then break down hyaluronic acid but as we age it becomes a case of more breaking than making! That’s why replacing it from synthetic sources makes such logical sense. It also explains why the effects of HA fillers are temporary.
Why not use permanent fillers? Because the complications associated with them are far more pronounced and the risks are just not worth it.
The science bit…
Hyaluronic acid comes in various forms, from topical skincare and skin boosters to deeper injectables. You can even get oral hyaluronic acid supplements, though clearly these won’t give you anywhere near the same effects as topical or injectable versions.
Facial tweakments generally involve fillers made of either cross-linked or non-cross-linked forms of hyaluronic acid.
“Cross-linked” refers to the gel bonds engineered to take on a structure which make HA fillers thicker so they last longer. They also cannot be too firm as this would make them hard to inject and also more visible when placed in the face. Although that may give great cheek structure, it may not work so well for the lips, for instance.
Just like us, hyaluronic acids come in a range of shapes and sizes. The smaller the molecules, the lower the molecular weight and the deeper it can penetrate into the epidermis. This means those with bigger molecules and, therefore, a higher molecular weight, sit nearer to the surface of the skin.
By linking together a mix of high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acids, your filler can give an instant glow with plump hydration and smooth, sculpted skin.
The concentration of hyaluronic acid fillers also varies; skin boosters may include added vitamins and revitalisers to further benefit your skin.
Essentially, the scientists who manufacture HA fillers aim to create products which mimic the look and movement of a youthful face. This allows us to look rejuvenated in a natural way.
Are soft tissue fillers suitable for vegans?
The majority of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. The Juvederm fillers we use certainly do not.
However, these fillers are not cruelty free in the strictest sense, given they are classed as a ‘medical device’. This means that, by law, they must be tested on animals as part of the approval process to ensure their safety before they can be marketed for use by humans.
Allergan, the makers of Juvéderm ® and part of Abbvie, has previously announced its commitment to actively minimising animal testing where possible.
How much do fillers cost?
Our treatments start at £75 for lip filler, and £150 for filler elsewhere.
Remember, you’re paying for the product and the injector’s expertise, so if you see cheap filler being advertised, it’s likely one of these elements is missing. Not to labour the point but, really, it’s your face. Don’t risk it.
We hope you feel more comfortable knowing what’s in your filler!