As we get older, we lose volume in our skin, fat, muscle, and bone. This causes visible signs of ageing like a crinkly forehead, crows feet, and a retracted jawline (to name a few). Thankfully, if you’re self-conscious about your appearance as you get older, and it’s got to the point where it’s affecting your mental health, you might consider dermal fillers.

But what are dermal fillers, exactly? In this article, we’ll explain what they are, how they work, some common problems they treat, and their average cost.

What are dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers are a gel-like substance that are injected directly under the skin. They are used to make temporary cosmetic changes to the face or hands, and reduce signs of ageing. They do this by creating a smoother, fuller, or reshaped appearance. The results for dermal fillers can differ depending on the tissue structure under the skin, as well as the type of filler being used, and the amount applied. They are a 100% safe form of cosmetic surgery that can show immediate improvements, and last up to two years depending on their type (see the “how long do dermal fillers last” section for more info).

Common uses for dermal fillers include:

  • Smoothing “smile lines” that extend from your nose to your lips
  • Smoothing out under-eye circles, and reducing the shadow
  • Reducing the severity of crow’s feet
  • Smoothing wrinkles on the forehead
  • Lifting your cheekbones
  • Fill in shallow contours in the face
  • Adding volume to your lips

A variety of substances are used for dermal fillers, some of which are synthetic, and some natural. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to ask a cosmetic surgeon for their recommendation based on your situation. The most common types of dermal fillers are:

  • Hyaluronic acid—a natural substance found in the skin’s connective tissue. It’s incredibly safe and effective, so is the most common form of dermal filler.
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite—used to treat deeper wrinkles and folds in the skin. It can also help to create a contour around the jawline, and restore volume in the cheeks.
  • Poly-L-lactic acid—used to treat severe facial wasting.
  • Polymethyl methacrylate—a collagen-based substance that can soften wrinkles and treat acne scars.
  • Fat—this can be harvested from elsewhere in your body and reinjected into your face to increase its fullness, fill in deep creases, and plump up shallow contours.

How long do dermal fillers last?

Dermal fillers can last from around five months up to two years, depending on the filler being used. For this reason, if you’d like to maintain the same look, you will need to have the procedure repeated after a certain period of time.

This information from Healthline shows how long the various dermal fillers last, based on their product/brand name.

Dermal filler product How long it lasts
Juvederm Voluma About 24 months with a touch-up treatment at 12 months
Juvederm Ultra and Ultra Plus About 12 months, with a possible touch-up at 6–9 months
Juvederm Vollure Approximately 12–18 months
Juvederm Volbella Approximately 12 months
Restylane Defyne, Refyne, and Lyft About 12 months, with a possible touch-up at 6–9 months
Restylane Silk Approximately 6–10 months
Restylane-L Approximately 5–7 months
Radiesse Approximately 12 months
Sculptra Can last more than 24 months
Bellafill Can last up to 5 years

Dermal fillers cost

The cost of dermal fillers varies depending on the product being used, the amount being used, and the area where it is being applied. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 for the procedure.