NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF. – Despite all the technical advances in aesthetic medicine, there’s still a place for treating fine facial lines with thin hyaluronic acid fillers, according to Dr. Mark G. Rubin, a dermatologist at the Lasky Skin Center in Beverly Hills, Calif.
“In the last couple of years, with all the volumizing products, a lot of people say they don’t treat wrinkles anymore. The idea is if you just put some volume in [a patient’s] nasojugal groove, you inflate the cheek, pull the skin tight, and the nasolabial fold will miraculously disappear. I don’t think that’s really true,” he said at the meeting held by Global Academy for Medical Education.
When patients don’t have good skin elasticity and tightness – and most older patients worried about fine lines don’t – volumizing will improve skin contour but not do much for atrophic lines.
That’s a good time to turn to fillers. “Basically, you are putting putty into a dent. Different wrinkles need different depths of material. We have fillers that are thin like sand, medium like pebbles, or thick like boulders.” Shallow lines need thinner material; deeper folds need volumizing boulders for lift. In some patients, “you need to layer them, boulders first then more superficial fillers to smooth out the surface,” Dr. Rubin said. “There are a lot of medium and deep fillers, but for really fine lines and superficial filling, there’s only Restylane Silk and Belotero.”
However, even superficial fillers need to be diluted sometimes with saline or lidocaine. “There isn’t a perfect filler; you need to create the one that works by changing its characteristics,” he said.
“With Restylane, if you dilute it too much, it turns into water, and you get no lift at all. You can dilute Juvederm down pretty well, but in some patients it still leaves ridges. You can dilute Belotero a lot without losing its ability to create lift, but I think in a lot of patients, Restylane Silk has a little better persistence than Belotero,” he said.
Staying in the dermis is important for superficial lines. “You need to come in at a very acute angle, and you have to see drug coming back at you through the pores. If you are not seeing that, you are definitely too deep. You also need to overcorrect, and see the area blanch a little bit,” he said.
Dr. Rubin warns patients that they might have what looks like a string of pearls under their skin after injection. “We massage [the beads] down with a Q-tip,” rolling it back and forth over the bulges, and they melt over time. A part of the reaction is histamine-related, so antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin) can help.
There can be more serious swelling as well, especially after perioral injections, and “it’s more common with Silk than with regular Restylane. Some patients have erythema that stays a long time, and some have a burning sensation. If it’s not horrific, you wait and see. If it’s still there in 10 days or 2 weeks, my inclination is to dissolve it out and switch drugs,” he said.
Dr. Rubin is a consultant for Merz, maker of Belotero, Radiesse, and other products. Global Academy and this news organization are owned by the same company.