When you think of fillers, the first thing that might come to mind is their role in smoothing out facial wrinkles–the nasolabial folds, marionette lines, smile lines and other signs of volume loss brought on by sun exposure and the natural aging process. But did you know that injectable fillers are used for a variety of other purposes?
Here, we’re exploring the versatility of fillers, which go far beyond merely addressing wrinkles and creases, to enhancing and rejuvenating various facial features and even other areas of the body. From hand fillers to earlobe fillers, we’ll cover all the ways that dermal fillers can be used to boost your natural beauty.
Types of Dermal Fillers
First, let’s cover the different types of dermal fillers that are currently approved by the FDA–what they’re made of, how they work and how long they last.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are like a drink of water for your skin, providing hydration and plumpness where it’s needed most. These fillers typically last for 3–12 months, depending on the formulation, before they’re absorbed into your skin and naturally eliminated by the body. Popular HA filler brand names include Belotero, Juvederm and Restylane products.
Then there’s calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHa), a naturally occurring substance found in our bones and in a dual-action filler called Radiesse. These biodegradable calcium microspheres form a scaffold upon which new collagen can form, tackling deeper wrinkles and helping restore volume for several years.
Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), the main component in Bellafill, also creates a matrix that supports the skin for lasting results. PMMA is less biodegradable than CaHa, so the effects of this facial filler are maintained for even longer–even up to 5 years.
Finally, there’s poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a biocompatible polyester that forms the main component of Sculptra. Unlike other fillers, Sculptra doesn’t provide immediate results. Instead, it works over time to rejuvenate the skin’s natural collagen production, offering gradual, natural-looking volume restoration and improvement of deep wrinkles and creases.
(There’s another class of filler, too–autologous fat grafting, in which your own fat is removed via liposuction and transferred to another part of the body. But since it’s a surgical technique rather than a minimally invasive procedure, we’ll be covering it in another post.)
8 Innovative Uses for Dermal Fillers
Discover these lesser-known uses for dermal fillers on different areas of the face and body. While some are FDA-approved, others are off-label–a common practice in the world of dermatology and cosmetic surgery that’s considered safe when performed by a qualified professional.
Boost skin hydration
Good overall skin hydration is crucial for a healthy, vibrant complexion and can significantly impact the skin’s elasticity and appearance. Dehydrated skin can accentuate fine lines, wrinkles and texture issues, making hydrating HA fillers an attractive option if you’re looking to improve skin hydration at a deeper level.
Juvederm Skinvive and Restylane Skinboosters are two new product lines designed to increase the overall hydration and radiance of your skin. For both, the injection technique involves injecting tiny microdroplets of hyaluronic acid uniformly all over your skin, subtly increasing facial volume.
Over time, earlobes can show signs of aging just like other parts of the skin, appearing elongated, wrinkled or saggy. This can be due to the natural aging process, where collagen and elastin decrease or from wearing heavy earrings that stretch the lobes.
Earlobe rejuvenation with dermal fillers involves injecting a small amount of filler into the earlobe to restore volume and firmness, giving the earlobes a more youthful and plump appearance. This treatment can also make it easier to wear earrings with comfort and aesthetic appeal.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are commonly used for this purpose due to their excellent safety profile and effectiveness. These fillers are FDA approved for injection into the facial tissue, and while not specifically approved for the earlobes, they are used off-label by experienced practitioners for earlobe rejuvenation.
Nose reshaping, also called a non-surgical or liquid rhinoplasty, addresses concerns such as a dorsal hump or drooping nasal tip, and can also be used to enhance the results of a rhinoplasty.
When carefully injected into specific areas of the nose, dermal fillers can smooth out bumps, enhance the nasal bridge, lift the tip or improve overall nasal symmetry. This treatment offers temporary results, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking improvement without permanent changes or the risks associated with plastic surgery.
Juvederm Vollure and Restylane Lyft are favored for this application due to their moldable yet firm consistency, which is ideal for sculpting the nose. While the FDA has not specifically approved dermal fillers for non-surgical nose reshaping, these products are commonly used off-label for this purpose by skilled and experienced injectors.
Filling under-eye hollows and bags
For many years, using fillers in the tear trough, the area below the eyes, was frowned upon by some practitioners due to the risk of migration and the filler being visible under the skin. Now, new fillers specifically designed to correct under-eye bags, hollows, dark circles and volume loss make rejuvenating this area both easy and safe.
Restylane Eyelight and Juvederm Volbella XC are FDA-approved for use in the tear trough. While Volbella contains a blend of extremely small HA molecules of HA, giving it a soft yet durable consistency, Eyelight has a firmer gel texture engineered to stay put. Restylane Refyne has also been used off-label for under-eye hollows.
Jawline contouring with dermal fillers aims to enhance the definition, symmetry and overall appearance of the jawline. This treatment can address concerns such as a weak jawline, jowls or loss of definition due to aging.
Thicker, more robust fillers are suited for jawline contouring because they can provide substantial lift and volume, creating a more defined and contoured jawline. Currently, the only filler FDA-approved for jawline contouring specifically is Juvederm Volux, while Juvederm Voluma XC and Restylane Defyne are approved for use in the chin.
Alternatively, long-lasting fillers like Sculptra and Radiesse can be used for subtler but long-lasting results.
Acne scar treatment
Dermal fillers can be used to treat certain types of acne scars, particularly atrophic scars, which are characterized by indentations in the skin. By injecting filler beneath the scar, practitioners can raise the indented tissue to the level of the surrounding skin, thereby diminishing the appearance of the scar.
Fillers like Bellafill are FDA approved for the treatment of moderate to severe, atrophic facial acne scars on the cheeks in patients over the age of 21. With its combination of collagen gel and PMMA, this filler provides both immediate improvement and long-lasting results.
Hand rejuvenation with dermal fillers addresses the loss of volume and visible veins, tendons and bony structures that can become more pronounced with age. Injected into the backs of the hand, fillers can restore volume and make the hands appear more youthful and smooth.
Radiesse is FDA approved for hand augmentation to correct volume loss in the dorsum of the hands. It provides immediate volume correction and also stimulates the production of natural collagen, offering long-lasting results in hand rejuvenation. Restylane Lyft, a HA filler, is also FDA-approved for this purpose.
Correcting thinning lips
We’re not talking about standard lip augmentation–although fillers are obviously great for that, too. This is a subtler take that addresses concerns related to thinning lips, which can be a result of genetic factors or the natural aging process. Dermal fillers for lip enhancement not only add volume but also shape and structure to the lips, creating a fuller, more youthful appearance.
Hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm Volbella XC and Restylane Silk are popular choices for this purpose due to their ability to provide subtle, natural-looking results and their reversible nature. Both are FDA approved for lip augmentation and are designed for subtle volume enhancement and correction of perioral wrinkles and lip lines.
Side Effects and Safety Considerations
When considering any kind of filler treatments, the importance of selecting a qualified injector cannot be overstressed. Especially if you’re opting for an off-label use for a specific filler, choose a professional who’s well-versed in performing that specific procedure.
The right board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon will be your guide and partner in achieving your aesthetic goals. Their expertise in facial anatomy, combined with an in-depth understanding of the various fillers available, allows them to recommend the most suitable options for your unique needs.
Understanding potential side effects
Like any medical procedure, dermal filler injections come with their own set of potential side effects. Common reactions can include temporary redness, swelling and bruising at the injection site, which typically resolve on their own within a few days.
Rarer complications include allergic reactions, filler migration or occlusion. Your healthcare provider will discuss these with you in detail, helping you understand the risks and how they apply to your specific situation.
Innovative Techniques and Future Trends
The field of cosmetic rejuvenation is constantly evolving, with innovative techniques that offer more comprehensive results. A prime example is the integration of fillers with Botox or similar neurotoxins, a strategy that addresses multiple aspects of facial aging at the same time. While fillers add volume and smooth out deeper lines, Botox relaxes the muscles that contribute to dynamic wrinkles, such as crow’s feet and frown lines.
This combination approach ensures a more complete rejuvenation, targeting both the underlying causes of facial aging and its visible symptoms, leading to a more youthful, refreshed appearance with minimal downtime.
The world of injectable fillers is vast and ever-expanding, offering possibilities that go far beyond the traditional scope of merely addressing wrinkles or augmenting facial contours. Whether it’s sculpting the perfect jawline, restoring volume to your earlobes or smoothing out the texture of the skin, fillers provide a versatile solution to a wide array of aesthetic concerns.
If you’re considering taking your skin care regimen to the next level, consulting with a professional can open the door to personalized treatment options tailored specifically to your goals and needs, ensuring that you achieve the best possible results.