10 Things You Must Know About Dermal Filler Treatments

Dr Heng doing facial procedures 2

You have seen celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Madonna or Nicole Kidman spotting pouty lips and perfectly sculpted cheeks and heard the Kadarshians talking about the benefits of their dermal filler treatments on their social media accounts. Because of this constant influence, you have finally decided to go for a dermal filler treatment to continue looking young and beautiful.

Before you make the plunge and step into the treatment room, these are the 10 things to know about dermal fillers.

  1. There are many different kinds of dermal fillers

    You may not know this, but dermal fillers have been around for decades! The first agent to be approved for cosmetic injection was bovine (cattle- source) collagen all the way back in 1981! Since then, there have been many injectable filling agents developed, and many of them are already FDA approved and HSA (Health Sciences Authority)-approved for cosmetic injection use. Currently in Singapore, the popular filling agents include:

    Hyaluronic acid: Juvederm, Belotero, Restylane
    Human fat: No brands, using your own harvested fat
    Calcium hydroxyapatite: Radiesse
    Polycaprolactone (in gel carrier): Ellanse
    Poly lactic acid: Sculptra

  2. They are not the same as Botox

    Botox is not the only Dermal Filler

    Do not confuse dermal fillers with other injectables like Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport. These are neuromodulators, also known as wrinkle relaxers. Yes these products are also described as ‘injectables’, but they work their magic differently. They work to reduce and relax wrinkles like crows feet, frown lines, and forehead furrows by temporarily weakening specific facial muscles. They don’t fill, but they can be used together with dermal fillers. In fact, for our popular Liquid Face Lift treatment, our doctor uses both Juvederm fillers and Botox to achieve a face lift effect without surgery or incisions.

  3. Highly versatile product for facial rejuvenation

    Facial rejuvenation - Highly versatile product
    While the bulk of the dermal filler is made with hyaluronic acid, within the hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, there are many different types with different uses.

    Those with larger particle size, gel hardness, or increased viscosity have the strength to support sagging tissues, reinforce structure of our cheekbones, forming a great foundation for Liquid Face Lift. Those with a lighter gel hardness, less viscosity can be used to address fine lines, plump lips, or even hydrate the skin.

    Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are highly versatile products and their main benefits include, and are not limited to the following

    • Recontour face shape
    • Revolumise sunken areas
    • Enhance certain facial features
    • Increase overall hydration of the skin
    • Reduce static lines and wrinkles
  4. Some fillers are HSA-approved, some are not!

    Singapore Health Science Authority Board
    Due to the popularity of dermal fillers, there was an explosion of dermal filler brands out in the market. And due to the accessibility of social media and the internet, as well as multi-functional social messaging apps like LINE and WeChat, there are many brands of filler that we know are circulating within Singapore, outside of clinics! To ensure safety and peace of mind, always choose a filler product from a brand that is HSA-approved.

  5. Where and how they are injected will vary from person to person, and change as you age.

    Dermal filler injections are personal and intimate, and the doctors should make the decisions on where to place them based on your face shape and the result that you desire. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to Liquid Face Lift. An aesthetic physician is like a sculptor enhancing a patient’s face – he should always customize the treatment plan for his patient.

    In addition, how your dermal filler treatment is done will change based on your age. When you are younger, you may be focused on having a sharper chin, or a set of pouty lips. However, as you age, the priority of dermal filler treatment will be to correct age-related volume loss, as well as add structural support to cheekbones that suffer from bone resorption.

  6. Good fillers are invisible

    Effects of Good Dermal Filler Treatments
    She has famously proclaimed to have undergone multiple cosmetic injections.
    Can you tell where the injections were placed?

    Duck lips, pillow-face, unsightly bumps along prominent wrinkles. These are very obvious signs that a filler treatment has been done, so much so that they can be noticed by even a lay person. In the expert’s eyes, these are poorly done filler treatments. When administered by an experienced doctor, the end result of the filler should look natural. “A professionally-done filler will have the people noticing you because you look refreshed and attractive, but they will never know what procedure you have done.”

  7. The dermal filler product matters.

    Actually, among hyaluronic acid filler products, there are countless brands. Remember to go for the ones that have been legalized, as these brands have demonstrated their products are reliable, safe and effective. At the Ogee Clinic, we are big users of Juvederm range of fillers. The list of HSA-approved dermal filler brands are as follow:

    If you have been shopping around online, or doing your own research online, you may have found that there are some doctors who swear by certain dermal filler products, only using one brand of dermal filler in their practice, while there are other doctors who use a variety of brands of dermal fillers. Each camp will have its own justifications as to why their approach is the best. The most important aspect is that no matter which brand of filler the clinic is offering, the injecting doctor must have mastery of it And the brand of the product is reliable, the brand has a range of models in their product range to cater to different rejuvenation needs.

  8. The doctor matters

    Every injecting doctor has different treatment philosophies, different techniques, and levels of experience. How to choose? Be sure that your physician understands your concerns and expectations, and communicates with you about realistic results. Do not be afraid to ask about training and certification too. Dermal filler treatments are essentially everywhere now.

    The New Paper Article on Cosmetic Surgery Treatments provided by quacks
    There are even reports in Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao that there are beauticians caught peddling dermal filler injection services in HDB flats, offering a much cheaper alternative to professionally done services in the MOH-approved clinics. Question is, will you dare to try?

  9. There are potential risks with dermal filler treatments

    Most common side effects include bruising, which will resolve on its own after 3-4 days. It pays to be injected by an experienced injector to lower the risk of such side effects occurring. They are not life threatening in any way, but cosmetically, you wanted to come for a dermal filler treatment to look better, not worse.

    Lumps, bumps, and asymmetries. These happen when the injection is not done smoothly, or the filler has been injected in the wrong plane.

    The most serious complication is when the filler is injected into a blood vessel. This can happen when the pressure in the syringe is too high, the needle or cannula of the syringe is inside the artery when the injection was done, or rarely, compression of the artery by the external filler. When this happens the artery becomes blocked, and is unable to supply blood and oxygen to the skin, or other organs it is supposed to supply, causing problems like skin necrosis, nerve damage, even blindness.

    Yes, filler treatments, like all medical procedures, has an inherent risk for potential complications, though the risks described above are really rare (less than 0.1%). And fret not. In the right hands of an experienced doctor and reputable clinic, such complications are literally unheard of. This is why you should always visit an experienced cosmetic injector to be safe. And not just any dermatologist or plastic surgeon. When it comes to dermal filler injection, being a specialist alone doesn’t imply competence in that procedure. There are many specialists who do not routinely perform dermal filler injections. Experience, skill of the doctor and his/her understanding of facial anatomy and product characteristics are very important factors for a successful and safe filler treatment.

  10. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    In Singapore, a syringe of filler can set you back around SGD$500-1200. Costs go up higher depending on the amount of filler material required. For Ogee Clinic’s Liquid Facelift procedure, patients may require 4-6 tubes of filler to reap the optimum benefit from the dermal filler treatment. Because of the R&D, testing, sterility assessments, and precise manufacturing processes involved, filler products from reliable brands like Juvederm comes at a slight premium. When a clinic tells you that it is using Juvederm fillers for your treatment, you can be reassured you are being treated with the right product.

    On the contrary, if we see a deal for an inexpensive filler, be very skeptical. There are fillers being sold as cheaply as SGD$150 per tube, and these are not done in medical aesthetic clinics. At these prices, we highly suspect the quality of the material, and the safety of the product.

A dermal filler procedure is one of the most effective treatments to achieve facial rejuvenation. At the Ogee Clinic, our Liquid Facelift Program focuses on using the best dermal fillers to achieve a face lifted appearance without scalpels and incisions. We hope that you have found this article informative and useful. Be well, look good, feel good, and we will see you around!

Wee Soon Heng

Dr Heng is an aesthetics doctor from Singapore, and is the medical director of The Ogee Clinic. He is hugely passionate about increasing the public’s awareness and knowledge of aesthetics medicine and its latest trends, and is absolutely obsessed about his clinical passions: treating skin pigmentary disorders and performing non-surgical facial contouring.
Wee Soon Heng
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