What Does a Dermal Filler Do?

Have you ever asked yourself, What does a dermal filler do? You’re not alone. Known as injectables, these therapies address many common concerns. Targeted results can be achieved by selecting the brand that most closely aligns with your goals. Looking for more information? Good – you’ve come to the right place. At OneLife Health & Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, we’re happy to answer all your questions.

What Does a Dermal Filler Do?

Our faces contain four major structural components: bone, muscle, fat, and skin. While it would be great if these components remained the same over time, this simply isn’t the case. A primary culprit of aging is volume loss; fat slides down, vulnerable areas like the temples and under the eyes deflate, and the cheeks look sunken. Muscles also flatten and lose elasticity, just as the skin stretches so that facial contours become blurred.

Dermal fillers are designed to correct these effects of time and give your face a fuller, more lifted appearance. Specifically, they can be used for:

  • Rejuvenating under-eye circles
  • Augmenting the lips
  • Lifting cheekbones
  • Smoothing lip lines
  • Correcting nasolabial folds
  • Restoring facial contours
  • Erasing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Adding volume to temples, cheeks, and other areas

How Fillers Work

Depending on their active ingredients, fillers work in one of two ways. We’ll start with the most common, which is based on the ingredient hyaluronic acid (HA). This sugar molecule, which occurs in long strands, exists naturally in the body. In fact, most living organisms contain HA because it provides crucial lubrication and hydration. Between joints, it acts as a shock absorber; in the face, it provides skin with dewy plumpness thanks to its moisture retention.

What does this have to do with fillers? A lot. Any serum that contains HA immediately plumps the skin. When injected in those tissues below the skin’s surface, they instantly fill the spaces left by flattened muscles, lost fat, and weakened collagen. This activity reduces, if not eliminates, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles so skin looks smoother, rounder, and softer.

The Other Option

Those injectables that do not contain HA rely on an active ingredient, such as Poly-L-lactic acid, to amplify collagen synthesis within the body. Research suggests this happens because injections stretch those cells directly responsible for secreting collagen. When we’re young, these cells are naturally stretched and crank out multitudes of the protein. But this process fades with time, and without the support provided by collagen, the face slowly degrades.

Injectables that work to stimulate collagen production don’t themselves plump the skin. But their effects work, and they often deliver results that last several years or more. In addition, the skin’s overall health improves when collagen increases. This means that more than just the treatment site benefits; your entire face can become stronger, more hydrated, and more radiant.

Most Fillers Improve Collagen

To be fair, research shows that all fillers, including those made with HA, induce collagen production. HA and collagen go hand-in-hand so that higher levels of one prompt higher levels of the other. The difference is that precursor ingredients like HA lead to localized collagen production, whereas injectables with different active ingredients promote collagen synthesis throughout the face.

The effects of injectables are two-fold when patients continue treatments at regular intervals. This means that keeping up with your regimen can lead to the need for fewer injectables later down the road. Your skin, once on the path to rejuvenating itself, will continue in that vein.

A Discussion on Lips

In answering the question of what does a dermal filler do, we would be remiss in omitting a discussion on lips. After all, it’s estimated that one lip augmentation is performed every 20 minutes or so in the US. But despite this enormous popularity, some patients are fearful of the therapy because of the proverbial “duck lips” and “trout pout.”

Using fillers on the lips can make you look more youthful and improve fine lines caused by smoking, sipping through straws, and generally emoting. And yes, the lips can look very natural when a filler is properly administered. The key is to avoid using too much.

Technique is Crucial

Technique means knowing where injectables should be placed and when enough is enough. Going for a lot of filler all at once will push the lips outward, so they look like they’re protruding, rather than increasing the amount of red you see. This leads to dreaded duck lips. Likewise, trout pout occurs when lips’ normal ratios aren’t maintained. As a general rule of thumb, the upper lip should be smaller than the lower by about half.

Making both lips the same size gives way to an unnatural and overdone look. Lips also have a very specific shape that should be respected. Both the upper and lower should taper at the sides. Lips that are the same fullness all the way across look disproportionate. Attention further needs to be paid to the cupid’s bow, which, when followed carefully, further enhances a youthful appearance.

Everything You Need to Know

Some patients are discomfited by the thought of needles used on their faces, but dermal fillers don’t hurt. This is because most contain lidocaine, a numbing agent that makes the injections completely pain-free. When lidocaine isn’t part of the formula, a topical numbing cream or other agent can be easily applied to the treatment site.

You’ll also be in and out of our office before you know it. Treatment can often be completed in less than an hour, and results typically show immediately. Effects will continue to develop in the coming days and weeks, as collagen production increases and your skin’s appearance improves. Equally convenient, fillers don’t require downtime because they’re not invasive; this means you can resume most of your normal activities right after treatment.

Listening to Our Recommendations Is Best

Whether you want your favorite celebrity’s cheekbones or lips, it’s important to know that someone else’s features may not look right on your face. Despite what you think, we see your face from a three-dimensional perspective that is quite unlike what you see in the mirror. Part of our training is to complement your natural beauty rather than alter your appearance.

Another suggestion is to bring in a photo of yourself from a time when you liked your appearance, a better option than bringing in a photo of someone else. This provides a more realistic reference point so we can make suggestions based on how you looked when you were younger. Throughout the course of this dialogue, we welcome your suggestions as well.

Follow Pre- and Post-treatment Guidelines

Following recommended guidelines will help you easily glide through treatment. These steps will also give you the longest-lasting and most visible results. For instance, we recommend you skip alcohol for at least a day before and after your injectable. It’s also best to avoid blood thinners like Ibuprofen, aspirin, and green tea for about a week before and after.

You should stay out of the sun and avoid excessively hot conditions, like saunas and hot tubs. Finally, immediately after treatment, you need to avoid exercise, other than walking, so your filler doesn’t migrate. Chances of this happening are slim, but taking some extra caution won’t harm you.

What You Can Do

Now that we’ve covered what to avoid, here is a list of steps you can take:

  • Use sunscreen every day and reapply often
  • Eat pineapple to reduce any likelihood of bruising
  • Care for your skin with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer

The Treatments We Offer

We’ve already addressed the question, “What does dermal filler do,” but now we need to distinguish between the different injectables available. Our office gives a range of choices to provide you with precise results. Included in our catalog is the Restylane family of products, each formulated with HA to provide natural volume to your skin. Every product under this umbrella has a targeted function: 

  • Restylane: smooths wrinkles and folds in the face and discreetly plumps lips
  • Restylane Silk: subtly enhances lips and corrects lines around the mouth
  • Restylane Lyft: eliminates wrinkles, lifts and plumps the cheeks, and restores volume to the back of the hands
  • Restylane Defyne: corrects facial folds and wrinkles
  • Restylane Refyne: erases lines, folds, and wrinkles
  • Restylane Kysse: provides natural-looking volume in the lips

The first three products under this umbrella – Restylane, Silk, and Lyft – incorporate NASHA technology. This means the injectable gel stays relatively firm, and the HA undergoes minimal modifications so the body recognizes it as a biocompatible protein. NASHA also delivers considerable lifting to restore definition and contouring where it’s injected.

XpresHAn Technology

Those Restylane injectables not formulated with NASHA – Defyne, Refyne, and Kysse – feature XpresHAn technology instead. This provides a more flexible gel that allows for natural movements while still delivering volume.


Another family of injectables, Juvederm products also contain HA. The biggest difference between this line and that of Restylane is texture. Juvederm tends to be smoother, making it more ideal for correcting fine lines and wrinkles in tight areas that demand precise application. Restylane, on the other hand, is more granular and can be used for adding volume. These products also tend to be more malleable so they can be contoured to your facial structure.

The Juvederm umbrella contains these products:

  • Juvederm Ultra: volumizes lips and corrects lines around the mouth
  • Juvederm Voluma: restores volume to the cheeks and augments dimpled or sunken chins
  • Juvederm Vobella: plumps lips and smooths perioral lines
  • Juvederm Vollure: corrects wrinkles and folds that are moderate to severe

Vycross Technology

A feature that sets Juvederm apart from other fillers is Vycross technology, which focuses on high levels of cross-linking between HA molecules. This gives the filler long-lasting results and improves its elasticity so it matches your skin’s natural flexibility.


Made with Poly-L-lactic acid, Sculptra is a filler that relies on increased collagen production to address common aging concerns. By going deep below the skin’s surface, it reinforces skin’s texture and, in time, provides you with a fresher and younger appearance. It also improves skin texture by allowing old cells to slough away and new ones to emerge.

Whereas fillers like Juvederm and Restylane deliver immediate results, Sculptra can take a month or so for improvements to develop. In exchange, results can last two years or longer; with HA fillers, results commonly persist for 12 to 18 months. It’s also important to note that Sculptra provides subtle and very natural-looking enhancements in which people rarely question if you’ve had work done.

Time for a New You

What does a dermal filler do? When it comes to rejuvenating the face, a better question might be what doesn’t it do? From correcting wrinkles to plumping hollows, fillers can be used in a variety of ways. They’re safe and, in time, improve your skin’s health. Call OneLife Health & Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, today to schedule your consultation.