What are dermal fillers?

These days dermal filler treatments are about as common as getting a massage or getting your nails done.

Our highly trained Cosmetic Injectors are helping to create perfect pouts, enhancing cheeks, providing lift and structure and removing unwanted lines using dermal fillers every day. Clients love the instant results that they get from dermal filler treatments; whether it be lip filler, cheek filler or another area. The breadth of treatments available and concerns we can treat with dermal fillers is extensive. With these magic little syringes, ageing truly is becoming optional! So, what exactly is dermal filler? We got our science on to find out just that, and the answer is remarkably sweet.

Dermal fillers come in a range of types and brands. In New Zealand there are permanent and non-permanent fillers marketed by a number of different companies using numerous brand names. At The Cosmetic Clinic, we choose non-permanent dermal fillers for their predictable results and unbeatable safety profile. Non-permanent dermal fillers are made of a special hyaluronic acid gel.


Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid, commonly referred to as HA, is a major component of skin. It plays a fundamental role in tissue repair. According to Wikipedia, Hyaluronic Acid is a polymer of disaccharides themselves composed of D-glucuronic acid and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, linked via alternating β-(1→4) and β-(1→3) glycosidic bonds. In English, this translates to HA being essentially a sugar! I wonder if that’s where the expression sugar lips comes from. The average 70kg person has about 15 grams of this magical sugar throughout their body that regenerates (metabolises) every 24 hours. This means raw HA, which presents in the body as a liquid, only survives for about 24 hours. The body is continuously producing HA; however, production reduces as we age.


Dermal Filler

To produce dermal fillers, men in white coats (er, lab coats) take raw, liquid HA and bond it with another naturally occurring agent to make it into a gel. This ‘hardening’ of the liquid HA is done to ensure the dermal filler can create volume under the skin and takes longer than 24 hours to be metabolised. It wouldn’t really be worth it if those perfect lips only lasted 1 day now would it! As such, ‘softer’ HA products (containing less of the ‘hardening agent’) are used for more delicate structures like lips. Because they don’t contain as much of the hardening agent, they are broken down faster by the body. They are also softer to the touch, making them virtually undetectable from normal tissue (think nice soft, natural lips) and are able to be injected very close to the surface. This is why a lip filler treatment doesn’t last as long as a cheek filler treatment. A Lip Filler typically lasts 4-6 months whereas a ‘harder’ dermal filler (like cheek filler) can last up to from 9 months to 2 years! Cheek fillers need to be injected deeper as they aren’t as soft. However, they can provide much greater lift and structure (hello cheekbones) and last much longer.



HA Gels are non-permanent. Using a product called hyaluronidase, we are able to dissolve the product and completely reverse the effect. So, if there’s any reason whatsoever you would like to un-do your treatment (we can’t think of one), then we have the power to completely reverse it, instantly – like it never happened! Permanent dermal fillers, as the name suggests, don’t have this ability, so if you go down that road and you don’t like it, you have two options – get used to it or have it surgically removed (ouch). For this reason, we go with the non-permanent fillers.


So, there you have it.

Dermal fillers are essentially just sugar. But a complex sugar that requires a highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Injector to know which product to use on what area (it’s often different from person to person) and how deep to place it, how to create symmetry, how to inject it and on and on. It really is an art form and a good injector truly is an artist. If you are considering a dermal filler treatment, why not talk to one of our artistic Cosmetic Injectors with a complimentary consultation to find out what products are right for you and what sort of results you can expect.