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What Is a Nasolabial Filler?

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  • Written By: Andrew Kirmayer
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A nasolabial filler is a product used to fill in the wrinkles between the nose and the mouth called nasolabial folds. These skin features appear with age, and when they start to form varies from person to person. An alternative to full plastic surgery on the face is to inject fillers into the area, which can consist of collagen, fat, and neurotoxins. Water-based particles and synthetic materials can be injected. Each type of treatment for nasolabial folds lasts for a certain amount of time, and some can have side effects to consider.

Popular types of nasolabial filler are Clostridium botulinum and Botulinum toxin type B, which both paralyze muscles around wrinkles to leave the muscle in a non-contracted state. These toxins are often injected around the eyes and in the forehead. Their effects are known to last for up to six months at a time.

Neurotoxic fillers are not the only option, and it is common to inject collagen, which can be human or cow based, into a wrinkle site. Cow-derived collagen, also called bovine-based, is used as a nasolabial filler and also around the eyes and lips. Most of it tends to dissipate in a few months, and repeated treatments are necessary to build a permanent level of the substance. An alternative is to mix the collagen with synthetic plastic microspheres, which remain in solution to fix nasolabial folds permanently or for at least several years.

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Another type of nasolabial filler are dermal fillers, which are water-based gels or natural body acids that are injected to fill in facial features. These can last from a few months up to a couple of years. When hyaluronic acid is used, allergic reactions are unlikely since it is normally contained in the body as a carbohydrate, unlike with bovine type fillers. An alternative way to fill nasolabial folds is to transfer fat from other parts of the body. The result can last a long time but is not as predictable as other choices of treatment.

Most kinds of nasolabial filler are available under specific brand names. Each type is more suited for certain parts of the face, varying types of wrinkles, or scars and other skin conditions. The advantages are that the treatment for nasolabial folds is quicker and cheaper than surgery, and there is little recovery time other than to deal with residual swelling after the procedure.

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