Hyaluronic Gel Treatments – Non-Surgical Wrinkle Correction
Hyaluronic Acid Gel (brand names such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm) is a natural product in use for over twenty years and has proven to be an effective “filler” for facial skin. It is well suited for treating wrinkles, enhancing lips, and reducing scars. It can also be used to lift areas of the face, and fill areas of depression. While periodic touch-ups are necessary to maintain the result, hyaluronics represent an excellent non-surgical treatment for facial rejuvenation.
What exactly is hyaluronic gel?
Hyaluronic gel is a natural product made using advanced gene splicing technology. It is then chemically modified to create various thickness and elasticity properties. The different hyaluronic products are designed for specific issues in the face. Hyaluronic gels are now used by other specialists, for example, orthopedic surgeons, to replace joint lubrication in patients with arthritis.
What is the purpose of hyaluronic gel?
Hyaluronic gel along with collagen is a primary building block of the skin. When the skin wrinkles from repeated motion (smile lines, lipstick lines, crows feet lines), or becomes depressed or dented (acne scars), hyaluronic gel is lost. Hyaluronic gel is also lost from the lip border as we age, resulting in an apparent shrinkage of the lips. Collagen is no longer commercially available for injections having been replaced by hyaluronic gel.
What does hyaluronic gel do?
The replacement hyaluronic gel is used as a filler material to plump up the skin in the areas where your own hyaluronic gel has been lost. It can also be used, to a limited extent, to build up areas of the face (like the cheekbones) providing contour improvement and limited lifting.
What are the results like?
In the appropriate patient, the results can be dramatic with smoothing of fine wrinkle lines, filling of the deeper lines and scars, and plumping of the lips. At your consultation, we will discuss your appropriateness as a candidate, including the anticipated results.
What happens if I stop the hyaluronic gel treatments?
There is no requirement to continue with your hyaluronic gel injections. In fact, many of my patients reserve the hyaluronic gel use for special occasions, like weddings, family events, or high school reunions. As the hyaluronic gel reabsorbs, there is simply a gradual loss of correction and reappearance of the wrinkles. When it is all reabsorbed, you return to your pre-treatment appearance.
How do we tolerate hyaluronic gel if it’s not from our own bodies?
Hyaluronic gel is found naturally in the skin and other parts of the body. It is produced in a way that does not generate an immune response and rarely produces an allergic reaction. The original hyaluronic gels were extracted from roosters combs and did have issues of reaction, but the current gels are produced from human genes spliced into bacteria. The gel is therefore essentially of human origin.
Can hyaluronic gel be produced from human skin?
Yes. However, there is no real advantage to this and currently, there are no human skin-derived hyaluronics available for cosmetic treatments.
Are there risks of allergy?
Yes, but it’s extremely small. There is no need for pre-treatment testing as the risk is so small.
Are there different types of hyaluronic gel?
Yes, many, and many new ones are coming all the time. The essence (the gel) is the same, the difference comes from the chemical cross-linking of the gel molecules. The different gels have different specific indications, and it is very common to use different gels in the same patient to deal with different issues (deep vs superficial wrinkles, volume enhancement, etc).
How long does the hyaluronic gel treatment last?
The result is variable, generally lasting three to twenty-four months. Different areas of the face seem to absorb the hyaluronic gel at a different rate, and different gels last longer.
What happens when the body absorbs the hyaluronic gel?
It is simply absorbed, much as any protein is absorbed.
Are there other risks to hyaluronic gel?
Yes, although the hyaluronic gel has been used in hundreds of thousands of patients with a very high safety record. Rapid reabsorption of the hyaluronic gel, with loss of the improvement, is the biggest risk. The allergic risks have been discussed, but there is also a very small risk of scarring, cyst formation, blockage of blood vessels, and change in sensation in the areas injected. These and other risks will be discussed at your consultation.
Should I have Hyaluronic gel?
That’s a decision that only you can make. At your consultation we will discuss your alternatives in detail, and help you make the decision that’s right for you.
To learn more about what you can expect during a Restylane Procedure, or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Barnett at either his San Francisco or Walnut Creek office, please complete the form on this page or call 415-362-1221