Review by A2: Dermal Fillers For The Face

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What did I review?

Dermal Fillers (Galderma) for a lift in the face and total face rejuvenation – some doctors refer to it as a “Liquid Facelift”. It is a medical, but a non-invasive procedure to be done by trained medical practitioners only.

Restylane products are formulated as clear gels that contain Hyaluronic Acid. This substance is naturally found in the body to provide hydration and structure, but is depleted as we age and is also quickly removed from the body.

The gels are injected into the skin to achieve a more youthful look by a qualified aesthetic healthcare professional following a consultation and personal treatment plan based on your individual needs.

The technology includes a broad range of gel textures to fulfil different functions:

  • Products that restore a healthy, youthful appearance by filling lines and wrinkles or adding volume
  • Products that enhance facial balance and harmony by providing shape and contour to facial features, such as the lips, cheeks and chin
  • Products that refresh the skin for a radiant, hydrated look

This means that your aesthetic healthcare professional can tailor your treatment based on the quality of your skin, your desired outcome and the areas where you are receiving treatment.

Who is this treatment for?

Fillers give volume to the face, so if you’re a man or woman, depending on your age and the kind of results you want, then fillers are for you. All skin types are suitable but particularly those who are looking to rejuvenate their look i.e. look less tired and stressed by adding small amounts of volume and shape where time has taken its toll.

I’m in my early thirties (33 to be exact) so I merely wanted to experience subtle fillers for a minor enhancement of my natural features.

Where did I go?

Dr Alistair McAlpine – Lightsculpt Bedfordview

I visited Dr Alistair McAlpine at Lightsculpt Clinic in Bedfordview. Dr Alistair has injected me before with botulinum toxin, as well as lip filler, so I felt comfortable revisiting him for facial fillers.

Lightsculpt contact details – they have branches in Bedfordview, Rosebank and Umhlanga:

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Where was I injected? 

Dr Alistair injected in the popular areas of the face – forehead, temples, bridge of my nose, under eyes (tear troughs), cheeks (for contouring), chin (for contouring), glabellar lines (between the eyebrows and above the nose), nasolabial folds (droopiness around the nose and above the mouth) etc. He did not inject filler in my lips because I had them done earlier in the year – you can read that review here.

Was it painful?

I can be a little nervous around needles sometimes (shock horror), but thankfully I felt zilch! A topical anaesthetic is applied and that helps to numb the area completely. So, no, it isn’t painful, BUT you can feel the needle and hear a sound like “popping bubbles” (that’s just the product going in). For me, I’ve slowly but surely gotten used to needles, but I still need to mentally control my anxiety around them. For most people, this would be a painless experience.

Additionally, the actual filler product has Lidocaine in it (a medication to numb tissue), this means that as the filler is in injected it begins to numb the tissue temporarily (lasts about an hour) in that area which assists with making the treatment more comfortable.

Marking injection points on the face

Here’s a quick video of injecting filler into the temple area…

How long did the treatment take? 

Including a consult, photo taking, numbing cream and injecting – a total of one hour.

What did I look like afterward?

My skin was red, but after an hour it went away. My face also felt tight and throbbing for the rest of the afternoon and evening which gave me a headache. This is apparently due to the lifting effect from the filler. However, it does settle and the next day, my skin was simply tender but otherwise completely back to normal.

What if I need a touch-up?

If your doctor doesn’t ask you for a follow-up appointment after one or two weeks then demand one. It’s VERY important for the doctor to see how you’re reacting to the filler, where it’s sitting and how it’s settling in. In some cases, you may need a touch-up in one area that may have been missed before due to swelling (ask your doctor if there’s unused product from your initial appointment – they will generally keep this for you for just in case if your follow up appointment is within one to two weeks).

How long does the product last?

12 to 18 months, but this does depend on the patient type and lifestyle. It’s probably a good idea to visit your doctor again in nine months for a check-up and maybe a touch-up if need be to maintain the lifted effect without having to fully inject all over again after the product has fully dissolved.

Although not common, fillers can go wrong if too much has been injected or the patient is unhappy with the result. There is a medicine that can be injected to dissolve the fillers which you can ask your doctor about.

Was there downtime?

Technically, no. My skin was a little red (it’s sensitive like that), but after an hour it went away. Whilst there is no massive visible bruising or noticeable alteration, I did feel tender in my face. Taking a mild pain killer that afternoon and relaxing in the evening was all that was needed. But don’t expect to be able to have a night of partying or go to an event that same day – you will just feel uncomfortable.

By the next day my swelling had gone down and I was able to go to gym and life continued as normal.

Injecting cheeks

Post treatment care?

  • Galderma recommends sleeping on your back for the first night. It’s unlikely for filler to shift around, but it’s best to treat your face with care after the treatment
  • No face massages or any other treatment for two to three weeks after the treatment (e.g. laser, skin tightening)
  • Don’t exercise until the next day

When do you see results?

Immediately as the product is injected. Plus, over days and weeks, the product settles into your tissue and you’ll see further improved results.

There is also a long-term hydrating effect and overall smoothing of the skin called the HA effect. This is due to ingredients in the product.

What did I think of the overall treatment?

It’s been four months since the treatment and I’m super happy with the results. The product has settled beautifully into my tissue and looks so natural.

My final result (after 2 months)

How much does it cost?

It’s patient dependent from the perspective of how many areas to inject and how many millilitres of product is used. As well as doctor/practice pricing dependent and what they would charge for their time and expertise. It could cost R2000 to R10000 more or less.

Most doctors are happy to go at the pace of the patient with a treatment plan over a few months to suit the patient budget. For example – one month do filler in temples, next month do filler in nasolabial folds, the month after that do under eyes etc…

Possible allergy/troubling ingredients for some patients?

There’re no known allergies to ingredients in this brand’s fillers, however, any filler injected incorrectly can cause severe complications for patients like fat necrosis. This is why you should ONLY visit doctors who have been trained properly in aesthetic procedures.

What other treatments does it work well with?

Dermal fillers for facial rejuvenation work well with combination treatments such as anti-wrinkle injections, skin quality injectables from Galderma, other injectables for skin quality improvement, microneedling and chemical peels to name but a few. Of course, these are not to be done all in one go. Chat with your doctor and skin therapist and create a treatment plan throughout the year so that treatments don’t interfere with each other or your budget.

Similar products?

There’re a number of well-known and trusted dermal filler brands available in South Africa. They are all different which is why it’s important to ask your doctor about the kind and brand of filler they are injecting and why.

Final thoughts, anything else you should know? Tips?

  • Beware of injecting a little and then thinking it’s not enough and thinking you need more to “see the difference”. The trick to getting a natural result is that you shouldn’t be able to notice the stark difference in the mirror… that’s when you know you’ve gone too far i.e. the much-disliked duck lip or overly filled cheeks. You should still look like your usual self in your reflection, with the difference being noticed in before and after photos. In these photos, you should be able to notice a more “rejuvenated” looking face as opposed to an “alterated” face. Make sense? For example – my before and after photo above still looks like me, I just look less straggly. Rather inject less at first and see how it goes.
  • Injecting botulinum toxin in the same treatment timeslot? This is up to you and your doctor. For new patients, they suggest injecting botulinum toxin a few weeks after fillers to see how things drop and change in the face as it may affect how much toxin you’d actually need.
  • I say this in all reviews… for the ladies, don’t go in the week leading up to your menstrual cycle. You’re a lot more sensitive to pain during this time.

Where can you get it?

Galderma is the exclusive manufacturer and distributor of Restylane products. Use the contact details below for Galderma South Africa to find trained doctors in your area with a special interest in aesthetics for more info:

Website: www.galderma.co.za

Phone: 011 706 2339

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About Author

Rochelle Hall

Rochelle is co-owner of A2 Aesthetic & Anti-Ageing Magazine – she looks after A2’s Blog and the Sales & Marketing for the A2 Print Magazine. Follow her on twitter by clicking the birdy on the top right of this block.

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