We’ve heard so much about dissolving lip fillers but, technically speaking, don’t they really all dissolve?
“Yes. If you inject any of the currently marketed fillers, over a long enough period of time, it’s believed they’ll fade away,” Dr. Jeff Popp said. “But it could take years.”
He said the distinction between dissolvable versus non-dissolving fillers is whether the largest proportion of the filler is hyaluronic acid. That is a generic name for Restalyne, Juvederm, Perlane and other popular filler brands.
What is hyaluronic acid?
“It’s a substance we already have in great abundance in our joints, where it acts as a lubricant,” Dr. Popp said. “Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are what I call reversible.”
He said there’s an enzyme called hyaluronidase that, if injected into the filler, makes it dissolve away, sometimes overnight. It’s that quick. It’s why hyaluronic acid-based fillers are the only reversible ones.
So what’s a non-reversible filler?
“The non-dissolving ones, which are brands like Sculptra and Artefill, I believe contain microscopic spheres of plastic, while Radiesse has little microscopic particles of bone,” Dr. Popp said. “Those are considered irreversible or non-dissolvable. Although as I noted, given enough time, all fillers dissolve.”
What are the differences among the various filler brands, other than their names? Are they tweaked to make them different?
“It’s all in how the molecules link together, like a couple of people holding one hand versus holding two. They claim the molecules are linked in a particular way to make it work better than their competitors,” Dr. Popp said.
“Honestly, in the real world, the differences between them are either completely unapparent or they’re so minute you really can’t tell.”
Dr. Popp conducted his own experiment with two of the reversible fillers.
“I used Juvederm on half of each face of four of my employees and Restylane on half of each of the other four. Then we studied the results and noted how long it took to go away,” he said. “None of my employees could tell any difference between the two brands.”
What type of lip fillers do you do?
“Well, I won’t do anything but reversible fillers. It expands the safety margin on it tremendously,” Dr. Popp said. “It’s quite rare, but every now and then you’ll put a filler in someone and they won’t like it, it doesn’t meet their expectations or they have an unexpected physical reaction to it.”
He said the added time non-reversing fillers last doesn’t top the ability to reverse the filler and expand its safety margin.
Have a question about fillers for Dr. Popp? Set up your free consultation at 402-391-4558.