So How Long Will Your Fancy Fillers Really Last?

Leah Faye Cooper

Photo: Valua Vitaly / Getty Images

Maybe having thin lips has always bothered you, or perhaps an accident has left you with visibly hollowed cheeks. Regardless, if you’re considering facial fillers as a cosmetic fix, you’ll want to know which one is best for you. How long do fillers last is presumably another question you’re looking to get answered, and given today’s prevalence of facial injections, it’s one that we’ve been curious about, too. Following a chat with New York City-based facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven J. Pearlman, we’re curious no more. Dr. Pearlman recently spoke with us about the most common fillers and how long they hold up. Are you taking notes?

Common Fillers

Hyaluronic Acid
Brand Names: Juvederm, Juvederm Ultra Plus, Juvederm Voluma, Restylane Silk, Restylane, Restylane Lyft
What it is: A clear gel that’s the same compound found in our cells. Brands are categorized by thickness, with Juvederm and Restylane Silk being the thinnest and Juvederm Voluma and Restalane Lyft being the thickest. It can be reversed with injections of hyaluronidase, which breaks down hyaluronic acid.

Poly Lactic Acid 
Brand Name: Sculptra
What it is: A synthetic material that’s compatible with the body. When injected, it shrinks the skin and builds a patient’s collagen. It’s not reversible, but it isn’t permanent.

Calcium Hydroxapatite
Brand Name: Radiesse
What it is: It’s technically the same element that makes bone, but when injected in tiny particles, it stimulates collagen growth. Like poly lactic acid, it can’t be reversed but will eventually wear off.

What it is: Exactly what it sounds like—a patient’s own fat obtained through a surgical procedure that requires sedation and must be done in an operating room. In Dr. Pearlman’s experience, patients retain anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of fat injections, so doctors must over-inject in order to achieve the desired result post recovery.

How Long Fillers Last

Fine Lines: 6 to 9 months
Dr. Pearlman suggests the thinnest hyaluronic acid fillers, Juvederm or Restalyne Silk, which last anywhere from six to nine months.

Deep Wrinkles: 9 months
Deep wrinkles should be addressed with a medium-depth filler, such as Juvaderm Ultra Plus or Restaylene. These injections last about nine months.

Lips: 6 months
“For lips you can either use Juvederm, Juvederm Ultra Plus, or Restalyne” Dr. Pearlman says, adding that Juvederm is best for minor volume increase—and a softer appearance—while Juvederm Ultra Plus and Restalyne gives patients a fuller result. On average, lip injections last six months.

Cheeks: Up to 2 years
Dr. Pearlman recommends Voluma, which is currently the thickest filler on the market. “It really lifts the cheeks outwards,” he says. “You’ll see results for up to two years, but will likely want to come back for a little boost after a year.”

All-Over Facial Volume: Depends
To address significant facial volume loss, Dr. Pearlman suggests Sculptra, which lasts up to two years, Restalyne Lyft, which lasts up to a year and a half, or Radiesse, which starts to diminish after nine months. Fat can also be used, and again, Dr. Pearlman says patients can expect to retain 40 to 80 percent of the original injection after about six months of healing. The end result is usually permanent, barring an illness or accident.

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