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Dermal Fillers

What are Fillers Made of

The term filler is a common wordn cosmetic treatmentsthat describes products used to improve skin complexity and appearance. But what are they made of? This blog explains why fillers are used and the ingredients fillers made of.

Fillers are natural soft substances injected beneath the skin’s tissues to help enhance skin complexity and appearance by filling facial wrinkles, restoring youthful cheek volume, and maintaining a smoother appearance. Facial fillers provide interim results that dissociate quickly because body tissues eventually absorb them. They primarily last for 6 to 24 months, depending on a person’s lifestyle and the type of product used. One of the key differences among the filler products is the active ingredients infused in the injectable syringe. There are few possible ingredients in the cosmetic market, and each help improves the face appearance in a slightly different manner.

Why are Fillers Used?

Body proteins such as Collagen and hydrates like hyaluronic acid maintain your skin’s elasticity and firmness. Collagen is a protein produced by body glands and exists in all body parts, like skin, bones, muscles, and connective tissues. It removes skin wrinkles, restores cheek volume, and maintains skin posture after being stretched. Hyaluronic acid is a substance produced by the body to maintain skin hydration. However, as you age, your body glands start to reduce the production of endo-supplements making your skin leathery, thinner, and saggy. Fortunately, dermal fillers can help you tackle ageing skin problems since over 3 million people in the UK have realised its effects on youthful skin appearance in the last two years. According to Luthra & Amit (2015), people use fillers to:

  • Infuse natural volume into sagging skin
  • Improve facial features
  • Cleanse the skin and smoothen skin wrinkles
  • Have plump lips and cheeks
  • Remove dark circles under the eyes
  • Correct acne scars on the face

Additionally, age is not the only reason people use dermal fillers. Some drugs prescribed to treat conditions such as HIV and AIDs can make your skin appear thinner. Therefore you can use fillers to restore healthy cheek or lip volume after using the medications.

What Are Fillers Made of?

The Food Standard Agency (FSA) has approved various filler products that cosmetic practitioners use for skin augmentation. Generally, fillers are characterised by the ingredients they are infused with. The natural ingredientsare sugary molecules derived from animals through a lab generation or a person’s fat transplant. These active ingredients include:

HA (hyaluronic acid)

Hyaluronic fillers are gel-like and soft. The HA is extracted from animal cells before undergoing a proper diagnosis in the lab. For vegans, it can be formed through bacterial fermentation. Cymrot& Natalia (2022) explained that onceHA fillers are injected, the natural acid can retain 1000 times water of its weight in increasing or restoring lips or cheek volume. Therefore, removing fine lines around your mouth and nose is essential. Unfortunately, you need a regular shot of HA fillers every 6-12 months to maintain your desired result.

CAHA (calcium hydroxylapatite)

Berlin et al. (2008) stated that calcium hydroxylapatite, like HA, is a natural substance that exists primarily in animal or human bones. It is extracted and used as filler where microscopic calcium molecules are suspended in smooth-like gel. CaHa is majorly grafted from human bones before being synthesised to create dermal filler. It is thicker and lasts longer than HA fillers for at least 12 to 15 months. Calcium hydroxylapatitestimulatesthe collagenproduction by skin glands to help remove deep-rooted lines and wrinkles. Therefore, it is slowly absorbed by skin mechanisms.

Poly-l-lactic Acid

This acid is a synthetic substance that is biodegradable and biocompatible, meaning it is safe for body use. It has existed in the medical field for many years in health devices like dissolvable stitches. Like CaHa fillers, poly-l-lactic acid is categorised as a collagen stimulator, which supports the natural body rebuilding of collagen to smooth fine lines. After injection, the filler dissipates after a few weeks, but its effect lasts approximately 28 months.


Cosmetic doctors have devised away to infuse collagen into aging people to treat deep-rooted facial wrinkles without using synthetic substances. Like HA, it is derived from animal cells or through bacterial fermentation.

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

It is another biocompatible synthetic substance used for years in medicine. It promotes the release of hyaluronic acid and protein elastin to improve skin complexity. When injected, it remains beneath the skin as a tiny ball to provide semi-permanent support for normal skin mechanisms functions. It lasts almost three years, depending on a person’s lifestyle, skin health, and general body immunity.

Fat Injections

It is the only active ingredient in fillers that require surgery. Crowley et al. (2021) explained that cosmetic surgery harvests your body fat from fatty body parts like the thigh, buttocks, or upper arm using liposuction. Afterwards, the fat is purified before being infused into your face to restore volume to temples, eyelids, cheeks or other areas. It lastslonger than the popular HA fillers but is not that effective.

FrequentlyAsked Questions (FAQs) about Fillers

What Is the Most Common Filler in the UK?

More than a million citizens in the UK annually choose Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers to perform facial rejuvenation at an affordable cost. They provide a natural look and feel real compared to other dermal fillers.

Do Fillers Have Complications?

The FSA has approved the safety of many facial fillers. However, if the cosmetic doctor does not consider factors like skin health and the patient’s immunity, one may experience complications like itching, excess swelling and bruising, cold sores, and blindness.

How Can I Treat Swelling After Filler Treatment?

Swelling is a common side effect that occurs after dermal filler treatment. It primarily lasts for 48 hours. One should avoid applying pressure to the injected area to fasten the healing process by avoiding make-ups, regular touches, or taking blood thinner supplements like alcohol or medications.


Most lip fillers are made of hyaluronic acid (HA), collagen, and CaHa,naturally occurring substances that help in skin complexity and firmness. However, they are other fillers infused with synthetic materials like poly-l-lactic acid and PMMA that also aid in restoring lip volume. Fat grafting is rare but also another way to make lip fillers. Generally, lip fillers are temporary and how long they last depend on individual lifestyles. For instance, dermal filler effects may last for only four months for some people who perform high-intensity exercises that fasten the absorption of supplements, shortening fillers’ lifestyles.


Berlin, A. L., Hussain, M., & Goldberg, D. J. (2008). Calcium hydroxylapatite filler for facial rejuvenation: a histologic and immunohistochemical analysis. Dermatologic surgery34, S64-S67.

Crowley, J. S., Kream, E., Fabi, S., & Cohen, S. R. (2021). Facial rejuvenation with fat grafting and fillers. Aesthetic Surgery Journal41(Supplement_1), S31-S38.

Cymrot, N. (2022). Lip filler with hyaluronic acid-Lip up.

Luthra, A. (2015). Shaping lips with fillers. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery8(3), 139.

Nataly Komova
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