$6 billion was spent globally on Botox and fillers in 2014.
Our skin is a wonderful barrier for keeping things out of our bodies, so if we want active ingredients to penetrate into our skin, that is when procedures such as dermal needling come into play. By ‘puncturing’ the skin with tiny needles, we are providing channels for the products to get into.
“Dermal needling uses a device that has about 20 tiny needles that vibrate and move over the area being treated. It punctures the skin and allows the product to get under the skin – it feels a bit like scratching,” says Dr Joanna Romanowska, who gives her patients an anaesthetic to make the experience more comfortable. This type of procedure is very effective on PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatments (see opposite page).
Dermal fillers are skin fillers. “They are like plumping up your pillow,” says Dr Catherine Stone, who has noticed a significant improvement in how they are administered. Previously, collagen dermal fillers were used, but the problem with them, she noticed, was they soon disappeared.
“Our bodies build up and break down collagen very quickly, so dermal fillers disappeared just as quickly as they went in.”
Today, Hyaluron-based fillers are commonly used. Hyaluronc acid is naturally found in our bodies; its job is to attract water and plump up the body, but we lose it as we get older.
“So our skin gets thinner and drier. If we put Hyaluronic acid back into our skin in its natural form, it would be gone within a week. Hyaluronbased fillers are stabilised, so they can last four to six months, some as long as 12 months.”
Fillers can treat lines and wrinkles, but avoid the crow’s feet, as the skin around that area is very fine and injections near there can sometimes be visible. Fillers can be used through the chin, neck and cheeks and are good for restoring what is lost from the face as we get older. “We go through ‘bony’ changes in our face as we age,” says Catherine. “Our eye sockets become bigger, we flatten through the cheeks and cheekbones and we lose the support that is holding us up. I liken our face to a tent – once the tent pole collapses, the fabric has to go somewhere, and like our skin, it just goes down.” And that is where dermal fillers come in to plump it back up.