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Dermal Fillers – What, When and Why?

At RPA Clinic we can, following a free consultation, provide many non-surgical aesthetics treatments such as; lip fillers, teeth whitening, chemical skin peels, anti-wrinkle injections.

Dermal Fillers – What, When and Why?

What exactly are they?

This is the question I get asked the most when we have new clients come in. You’ve decided to get your lips, or cheeks, or any number of areas treated and have trusted us with this task. So what are we going to inject your face with?

Dermal fillers have actually transformed over the years since their first appearance in the 1800’s (yes they’ve been around for that long), so lets start at the root:

The first dermal fillers were introduced back in 1893 by one Dr Franz Neuber. Dr Neuber did this in the form of fat transplants, taking fat from the clients arm and using it to fill out defects in their face. It’s from here that injections took off! (And surprisingly enough fat transplants are still done to this day).

In the early 1900’s paraffin was being tested and used in an injectable form. The liquid paraffin would be injected using a powerful metallic syringe, which first had to be immersed in hot water before injecting. As you can guess, this didn’t last long and alternatives were already being researched.

Enter silicone. Liquid silicone was first investigated in the 1940’s, and became widely used up to the 60’s. It then gained notoriety after granulomas (inflamed nodules in the skin) were discovered after silicone use, leaving clients worse off than they started. That very quickly became the end of that, and surgeons moved on to using bovine collagen instead. (Yes, bovine being beef!)

From the 1970’s onwards bovine collagen injections were being widely used, but this particular injection form had it’s own drawbacks. As bovine collagen is a foreign body, injecting it into the human body could bring about an allergic reaction. Therefore a sensitivity test was required three weeks prior to treatment, it often took weeks for the effects of fillers to appear, and when they did appear they were not long lasting. Factor in the overall expense of these injections, and you wonder why they ever became popular at all.

Finally, we arrive at today’s filler form: Hyaluronic acid. First approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring compound in our skin. It is able to combine with water and swell to varying capacities when in a gel form, resulting in the sought-after hydrating effect as well as filling. Hyaluronic acid fillers last between 6-18 months depending on the product and, if injected by a medical professional with the correct up-to-date training, has very little risk compared to other methods of augmentation. Because it is a natural substance there is a very low risk of reaction to the actual product, and it is safe to use across all age ranges and ethnicities.

The newest forms of fillers now also have lidocaine (numbing agent) pre-mixed into the gel, resulting in a much easier and less painful experience. Factor in the relative affordability of these products, and endorsement by celebrities, and you can see why we have the lip filler boom!


When and Why?

This is a more complicated question. When would you use filler and why would you use it?

This can be broadly categorised into three areas:

  • Beautification – no defects or loss of volume, simply to enhance features the client is unhappy with or our practitioner thinks the client will benefit from
  • Rejuvenation – As we age, forces of gravity and many environmental factors (sun, wind, dryness) affect our face and neck and begin to show visible signs of damage. Sometimes we may treat not to essentially change something or add volume, but to bring it back to what it used to be.
  • Sagging – Wrinkles appear, the skin becomes saggy, the contour of the face changes due to the atrophy of the tissues (loss of fat). Even the bone skeleton changes (bone absorption) and this has a great impact at the overall appearance of the face as the tissues of the face lose their support.


filler treatment areas


At RPAclinic our goal is to beautify the face, make it look younger, having a physical and pleasing appearance. By treating different areas of the face with small quantities of fillers (even in areas that initially did not bother the patients or never thought to correct) we can achieve dramatic improvement and beautification of the face. So after a careful study of the face, planning the treatment and mapping the face, the face is injected with the appropriate product of Hyaluronic Acid for the particular area.

Find out more about which brands we choose to use in our next post!