What are dermal fillers made from?

Many of us have heard scary stories about animal fat being injected, and in some practices, this is not far from the truth: Bovine collagen is still a common type of cosmetic filler. However, as allergic reactions and connective tissue disorders, such as lupus and/or arthritis are risk factors associated with this type of filler, here at Gentle Facial Aesthetics, we prefer to use a more natural substance: Hyaluronic acid (which sounds just as enticing as bovine collagen). It is in fact, a naturally occurring substance, found inside the human body.

What is hyaluronic acid?

According to the oxford dictionary, hyaluronic acid is a “polysaccharide molecule which is one of the chief components of connective tissue”, the name originated in the 1930’s from a blend of ‘hyaloid’, meaning glassy or transparent (which probably refers to its colour), and ‘uronic acid’ which if we want to get technical, is any class of compounds derived from sugars by oxidising a hydroxymethyl group to an acid group. In some situations, hyaluronic acid is also called hyaluronan.

Until the late 1970’s, hyaluronic acid was described as the ‘goo’ molecule because of its viscosity. It is an important component of articular cartilage, where it envelopes each cell and is partially responsible for the resilience of cartilage (resistance to compression). Most importantly, hyaluronic acid is a major component of skin and the reparation of damaged tissue (e.g., sunburn, wounds etc)

Hyaluronic acid is highly hydrophilic, this means that it attracts water. When water is drawn into its matrix, it has been shown to create a swelling pressure, this enables it to withstand a large amount of pressure and so, hyaluronic acid has been found useful as a filler. The fact that it exhibits no tissue or species specificity is crucially important to minimise any unwanted effects, potential immunologic reactions, or transplantation rejection.

In 1989 hyaluronic acid was first developed as a dermal filler by Hungarian-born inventor Endre Alexander Balazs who devoted seven decades to studying the compound and realised its potential.

If you are worried about loss of volume, fine lines and wrinkles, and you want to look younger in a  fast and effective manner, dermal fillers would be a great treatment for you. We can tell you what you can use fillers to treat, their side effects, and if they are right for you. Give us a call on 020 3925 3840 and we’ll happily chat through any queries you have.