As we get older, our faces develop wrinkles and deep lines. Our skin becomes less flexible (and possibly a little more fatty) and gravity takes its hit. The lack of elasticity in the skin comes from a lack of something called collagen, a substance produced in abundance by a youthful body but much less plentifully as we get older.
To counteract the effect of this lack of collagen, and to fill in the wrinkles, a collection of treatments has been developed, known as fillers. The original fillers were based on injecting collagen into the body to help repair the skin and return its elasticity. But their effects tended to be short-lived (three months or less). So alternatives were sought out.
Enter Hyaluronic Acid
One of the first fillers to use HA, Restylane, remains popular as it can be used anywhere and is easily broken down by the body. The active ingredient (HA) plays a key part in repairing skin damage, especially during recovery from sunburn. The effects also lasted for up to six months, almost double that of a direct collagen injection on its own.
Juvederm was introduced as one of a second generation of hyaluronic acid-based fillers. It offered an improved consistency, which means it didn’t look lumpy under skin, a problem with other fillers.
While good, Juvederm still only lasted around six months. Thus manufacturers continued research to refine the product further.
Beyond HA — CaHA
Enter Radiesse, a longer-lasting, calcium-enriched hyaluronic acid based filler for modern non-invasive cosmetic surgery. The active ingredients do two things:
• support the skin with a scaffolding-like structure
• actively promote collagen growth
This makes Radiesse especially good for tackling deeper lines, as it is delivered via a gel containing the active ingredient plus calcium-based microspheres. All this provides the basis for a long-term treatment (up to 2 years). The longevity is partially attributed to the time needed to break down the CaHA components, added to the fact that the collagen production occurs around the microspheres themselves.
While it is a good all-round filler in many respects, Radiesse is not appropriate for use around the lips. However, it can often be used to produce radical changes such as jawline sculpting, and for reducing the appearance of dark patches under the eyes.
The Radiesse application treatment typically takes less than an hour, with results immediately apparent, unlike other longer-lasting treatments based on a similar active ingredient and structural element.
While it is a relatively pain-free process, dental block or a local anesthetic may be used in particularly sensitive locations to ensure the patient remains as comfortable as possible throughout.