Fillers VS Fat: Is there a difference?
Lets just admit it, we’re all getting older day by day. Maybe we don’t realise it immediately, it all starts out as a small fine line, perhaps somewhere unnoticeable in the corner of our eyes or cheeks. Then, it grows a little bigger, splitting into two. Years pass, and all of a sudden, we don’t recognize ourselves anymore. The wrinkles have accumulated, and our skin is sagging and tired, and we barely look the same as we were when we were younger.
We all have had, or will have that panicked moment of ‘How on earth did I get so old?’. Perhaps this is when we turn to the vast multitude of skin treatments and aesthetic clinics we had not even noticed before. There are so many treatments out there that sometimes it gets pretty confusing for us, so today, we’re exploring two seemingly similar beauty treatments, dermal fillers and fat grafting.
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Dermal fillers and fat grafting seem to have the same intended effect, and target similar problems of aging, so of course even the best of us would get them confused. However, on a basic level, dermal fillers are natural hyaluronic acid fillers, which are pre-processed and packed. On the other hand, fat grafting involves retrieving your own fat from undesirable places, and reinserting it into your own face after the fat is purified.
While both treatments focus on getting that youthful look, each of them actually works better for different conditions.
For those who worry more about deep wrinkles, but still want that youthful facial fullness, dermal fillers are for you.
Injectable fillers such as Boletero, Juvéderm or Voluma® are FDA approved, and are used to add volume to one’s face, smoothen out wrinkles, and improve face contouring.
Natural hyaluronic acid fillers are an impermanent filler that usually lasts between a couple of months to a year. Its longevity depends on some smaller details such as the type of filler used, where the filler was injected, and how much filler was injected. The entire procedure is pretty quick, ranging from half an hour to an hour, and there is barely any recovery time needed. In some cases, some bruising and small markings may occur, but they disappear pretty soon after.
Advantages of Injectable fillers:
1) Fillers come in many types, aiming at different issues. The effects of the treatment on wrinkles and volume are remarkable, especially in the lips and cheeks.
2) The treatment is quick and relatively painless.
3) Almost no recovery time is needed, and the process is reversible. If you aren’t happy with the outcome, the fillers can be dissolved away with hyaluronidase.
Disadvantages of Injectable fillers:
1) Doesn’t last forever, so you’ll need to continue getting fillers to keep up the effect.
2) The cost of the fillers from repeated treatments may add up over time.
3) More facial fillers cost more money, so fixing intense volume loss might be costly.
Facial Fat Grafting:
If you’re more worried about the lack of volume in your face, fat grafting might work better for you, especially if you’re looking to increase the volume around your jawline, eyes, or cheeks.
Fat grafting works by retrieving minute amounts of fat from areas such as your thighs or abdomen. Unlike liposuction, the main aim of fat grafting is not to remove significant amounts of fat from such areas. The fat retrieved is refined and inserted little by little into the target areas of your face through a microdroplet. It is widely believed by aestheticians and specialists that fat grafting works through the stem-cell response, and results in a more voluminous and unwrinkled face.
Essentially, fat grafting works by refilling the areas of loose skin and wrinkles.
Advantages of Fat Grafting:
1) After the treatment is completed, the effects are long-lasting.
2) Any area of the face can be targeted.
3) The transferred fat may comprise of stem cells that simulate the growth of tissues.
4) May be more cost effective when volumizing your face, as your own fat, rather than fillers are used. The price of the procedure remains approximately the same no matter what volume of fat is extracted.
Disadvantages of Fat Grafting:
1) More invasive than dermal filler injections
2) The fat transferred may not remain static where they were inserted, and some fat may be absorbed by the body. In the long term, the effect of fat grafting may fade.
3) Besides fat grafting, other treatments may be necessary to get the desired outcome.
4) Fat cells respond to weight fluctuations, and the outcome of fat grafting is also dependent on weight change.
We all want youth, and set out on our skincare journey with our overall desires in mind. However, we have to remember that we all have different skins, and different needs, and resultantly, we all need different types of treatment. The type of treatment does matter, as it is specially created to fit specific goals and objectives. As the one receiving the treatment, we have to make sure we’re seeking out the most suitable treatments for our specific needs.
Get creative, don’t limit yourself to a single type of treatment. Sometimes, the most suitable treatment for you might be a combination of treatments, such as a mix between fat grafting and filler treatments.
An important consideration for undertaking treatments is the time required for recovery. Dermal fillers are definitely more advisable for those who don’t have much time to spare, and can be done in a jiffy without much inconvenience. At most, there may be some irritation or inflammation due to your body finding the filler unfamiliar, but this issue will quickly subside. There are no long recovery periods as no incisions or general anaesthesia is required.
In contrast, Fat grafting may leave you with a longer recovery time. It is, after all a surgical treatment that comprises of two stages; fat collection and fat transfer. In the first stage, a small opening will be made on areas such as the thigh, and a small tube will be inserted and moved around to spread out fat deposits under the skin. After a sufficient amount of fat has been retrieved, it will be sent for refining. The opening will need to be sealed up post-treatment, and you may require stitches. That being said, recovery will take longer than derma fillers, and will probably last about a week.