Dermal fillers have come a long way from the collagen replacement treatments of decades past. Today’s injectables have become an effective alternative to cosmetic surgery. The Juvederm family of products are safe and long-lasting, but it is important to note that many factors affect the longevity of results. Our talented professionals at Advanced Life Clinic in Huntsville, AL will ensure that you are equipped with everything you need to get the most from your treatments.
Your Skin: An Overview
As your largest organ, your skin works hard to protect you from the outside world. Everyday threats such as harsh weather, environmental damage, and harmful microorganisms put our skin to the test. But even while it’s defending us against these threats, it’s simultaneously transferring nutrients, regulating body temperature, and engaging in numerous other vital activities.
The Three Layers
It is important to understand the basics of skin anatomy in order to understand the aging process and how dermal fillers work. Your skin is made up of three layers, each with different functions. From the outside in, these layers are the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis (or subcutaneous).
The epidermis is the outermost layer, which is exposed to the most damage over time. It’s nearly impermeable to water and protects us from the sun’s UV rays. The second layer is the dermis, and this is where the sebaceous glands produce the oils that keep our skin supple and flexible. The innermost layer, the hypodermis, contains fats and connective tissues with deep blood vessels that are important in transferring nutrients.
How Skin Ages
Our skin begins to grow thinner and less elastic as we get older. The sebaceous glands produce less oil and collagen production slows down, leading to more sagging and folding of the skin. Blood vessels become weaker, which may make the skin more prone to bruising. Mature skin does not produce as many of the molecules and nutrients it once had, so it does not rebound quickly and takes longer to heal.
These factors lead to the hollowed, sunken appearance many people experience in the areas near their cheekbones, eyes, and mouth. Fragile skin in these areas loses its elasticity and resilience, succumbing to gravity as it begins to droop and sag. This is why many people turn to dermal fillers to restore plumpness and kickstart the production of molecules that support the skin’s strength and flexibility
What Is Juvederm?
The Juvederm family of products has been proven to lift the soft tissues of the face using hyaluronic acid: a molecule that attracts and holds water. Each product in the family targets a different area and is formulated at varying degrees of thickness for more natural facial contouring.
The formulas are specifically created to enhance common problem areas around the eyes, cheeks, nose, lips, and chin. Dr. DeGraaff and her team are experts at developing treatment plans using these formulations in combination with each other.
Understanding Dermal Fillers
Dermal fillers are intended to augment lost collagen in the skin, and they are injected into the dermis with tiny needles. Thicker formulations may sometimes be injected deeper into the subcutaneous layer. There are a variety of dermal fillers available, including collagen stimulators, permanent fillers, hyaluronic acid fillers, and Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapatite).
For many years, collagen was the only filler available. While it is an effective treatment that is still used, its effects are short-lived and usually last less than six months. By contrast, Juvederm Voluma has been shown to last up to two years.
About Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a chain of sugars that occurs naturally in the skin; however, as we age, the production of this molecule begins to decrease. As a consequence, our skin dries out and stretches thin. Since hyaluronic acid is a humectant, it draws water into the skin. It is a powerful hydrating agent, as it has been shown to hold up to a thousand times its weight in water.
Because the body already produces hyaluronic acid, treatments using this ingredient are generally well-tolerated. They tend to assimilate seamlessly into the skin, and higher amounts of product can actually stimulate collagen production and support nutrient transfer. Some research has shown that long-term use of hyaluronic acid products can even make permanent beneficial changes to the skin.
How Juvederm Is Different
Juvederm offers a patented technology called Vycross, which links higher-weight and lower-weight hyaluronic acid molecules together. This makes a stronger, more stable molecule which resists breaking down in the body for almost twice as long as other fillers.
In addition, the hyaluronic acid used in these products are not derived from animals, making it well-tolerated by the body. The products that use this technology are Voluma, Volbella, and Vollure.
Who Is the Ideal Candidate?
Anyone who is over 21 and dissatisfied with their skin’s appearance can benefit from hyaluronic acid fillers. Many people who want to avoid (or are not good candidates for) cosmetic surgery turn to dermal fillers as a more acceptable option. The popularity of these treatments has grown exponentially because of their safety, effectiveness, and convenience.
In addition, you don’t need to worry if you are already receiving other skin treatments such as skin peels or other fillers. Hyaluronic acid products are compatible with other dermal treatments, so it’s simply a matter of timing. Dr. DeGraaff can help you determine the best way to incorporate hyaluronic acid fillers into your existing treatment regimen.
The Juvederm Family
Ultra is a companion to Volbella, as they are both used for lip enhancement. However, Ultra has a much higher water affinity: a property that makes it ideal for plumping and firming. While it is intended for the lips, it is also approved for the nasolabial folds (skin between the nose and mouth) and smile lines.
Volbella is the thinnest of the gels in this family and counters Ultra with its low water affinity. It does not plump the way Ultra does but is instead intended to smooth the fine wrinkles and “lipstick lines” of the mouth. Since the mouth is a high-mobility area, this product is thin enough that it moves with the lips, giving a more natural effect.
Voluma is the thickest of all the gels, so it is injected into the deeper layers of the dermis. It is formulated with lidocaine to minimize discomfort. It is highly moldable and resists breaking down in the body for up to two years.
Though it is specifically designed to plump and firm the cheeks and surrounding skin, it has been used successfully in other areas as well, such as the mouth, lips, lower cheeks, chin, and jawline.
Like Volbella, Vollure has a thinner consistency that makes it ideal for plumping high-mobility areas near the mouth and chin. Because of its spreadability, it is able to withstand the frequent facial expressions of these areas as the skin folds and stretches. This makes for more natural movements and facial contours.
How Long Will Your Results Last?
Juvederm products last between one to two years depending on which product was used and where. However, this question can be a difficult one to answer, as it depends on a number of factors. While there are things you can do to prolong the effects of treatment, the longevity of the treatment itself can depend on variables ranging from genetics to the amount of sunscreen you wear.
Factors Affecting Longevity
The more damaged your skin, the more treatments you will need to achieve optimal results. Damaged skin also rebounds less quickly, so it is important to take good care of your skin before, during, and following treatment. Dr. DeGraaff and her team will develop a personalized plan for you that will have your skin as pristine as possible for treatment.
Severity of Collagen Loss
If your skin is sagging severely or has deep hollows, it may take more product (and more office visits) to achieve the results you wish to obtain. You would likely need more maintenance treatments and combination treatments. However, in conjunction with a good skincare regimen, you are likely to see dramatic results.
Your lifestyle can also play a large part in the longevity of your results. Habits such as smoking and using tanning beds can speed the aging process and inhibit the effects of the treatment.
In addition, high stress levels affect the hormones and chemicals produced by the body, which in turn affect the condition of your skin. Introducing a holistic approach to your skincare will maximize your results.
Results will last longer in more static areas, such as the nose. In areas with more frequent muscle movements, such as the lips and nasolabial folds, the product will break down faster and be metabolized more quickly by the body. This is why companion products target different areas and work together for optimal results.
Areas of high-mobility, such as the mouth and lips, will sustain more muscle movements that stretch and fold the skin. This continuous activity will break down the product more rapidly and cause it to be metabolized more quickly as well. In more static areas, such as the nose, the duration of results will last longer.
Things You Can Do to Prolong Your Results
Working toward reducing unnecessary stressors in your life has many benefits, but it can most certainly enhance the effectiveness of your hyaluronic acid treatments. Stress releases chemicals in the body that ages skin faster and makes it more difficult to recover from damage. Introducing stress-relieving activities can be helpful in making your results last.
Get Regular Maintenance
It stands to reason that the more product your skin receives, the longer your results will last. Regular touch-ups can go a long way to extend your treatment results and make sure you remain satisfied with the effects. Some research also shows the more treatments you receive, the more your muscles become conditioned to respond effectively to the process.
Radiation damage from the sun can shorten the longevity of your treatment. Tanning beds have a similar effect, so try to avoid UV light whenever possible. Wearing sunscreen and protecting yourself from harsh weather conditions can help to extend your treatment results.
Make Skin Care a Priority
Developing a consistent skincare routine will enhance your treatment’s effectiveness. Ensuring that the skin receives the nutrients and hydration it needs is a necessary component of any treatment plan. Drinking lots of water complements the hydrating effects of hyaluronic acid. Dr. DeGraaff can make recommendations for products and companion treatments that will maximize your results.
Learn More and Get Started
Don’t let aging skin be a source of discomfort and self-consciousness. Our qualified medical professionals are specially trained in designing the perfect products and treatment plan for you, and we are eager to help. Call Advanced Life Clinic in Huntsville, AL today to schedule your consultation.