Have you noticed deep lines around your nose and mouth making you look older than you feel?
Those etched-in creases, known as nasolabial folds, can add years to your appearance. But you don’t have to settle for sagging cheeks and wrinkles.
At Dr. Lanna Aesthetics, cheek filler is our secret weapon for smoothing stubborn nasolabial folds and restoring a more youthful, contoured look to your face.
What Causes Nasolabial Folds?
Nasolabial folds are a natural part of the aging process.
As we get older, our cheeks start to lose some of their youthful fullness, while the skin around the nose and mouth gets thinner and loses elasticity. This leads to sagging and wrinkling known as nasolabial folds. They typically start to become visible in your 30s and 40s.
Other factors can also contribute to and worsen nasolabial folds:
Sun exposure over time damages facial skin and breaks down collagen. This leads to wrinkles and volume loss.
Smoking restricts blood flow to the skin surface, depriving it of oxygen and nutrients. This accelerates aging.
Genetics can play a role. Having naturally thinner skin or a slim facial structure makes wrinkling more apparent.
Gravity causes skin and deeper facial tissues to droop downwards over time.
Facial expressions like smiling, laughing, and frowning can etch lines around the nose and mouth.
Deep nasolabial folds can make you look much older than you are. You may feel self-conscious about these aging signs. But you don’t have to just accept them as inevitable!
Adding volume back into the cheeks with dermal filler injections can diminish folds for a more youthful appearance.
What Causes Nasolabial Folds to Become So Visible?
Aside from being the result of natural changes that occur in the facial anatomy with age, here are some other reasons:
Loss of collagen and elastin - These important structural proteins in the skin break down over time. This causes cheeks to droop, skin to lose elasticity, and wrinkles to form.
Volume loss in the midface - Fatty tissue in the cheeks diminishes as we age, creating a hollow, sunken appearance under the eyes and cheek area. This volume loss further accentuates nasolabial folds.
The labionasal groove becomes more indented - This furrow running from nose to mouth sinks deeper, casting shadows that make folds more visible.
Gravity - Over decades of animation, facial muscles gradually stretch and facial tissue starts to descend. This pulls the cheeks downward, enhancing the look of jowls and folds.
Thinning epidermis - The top layer of the skin gets thinner with age and is less able to retain moisture. Dry, thin skin shows creases and wrinkles more readily.
Loss of skin elasticity - Elastin fibers deplete over time, reducing the skin's ability to snap back into place after movement. Creases made by smiling or squinting take longer to smooth out.
Sun exposure - UV radiation degrades collagen and ages the skin. Too much sun worsens wrinkles, especially on the delicate skin around the eyes and mouth.
Smoking - Toxins in cigarette smoke degrade collagen. Smokers tend to develop deeper wrinkles around the mouth much earlier in life.
Genetics - Some people are just prone to developing more pronounced nasolabial folds at an earlier age based on their inherited facial anatomy.
How Can Dermal Fillers Fix Nasolabial Folds?
Injectable dermal fillers are the most popular and effective non-surgical solution for softening the appearance of nasolabial folds. Fillers work by plumping up facial tissue under the skin, correcting volume loss in the cheeks to smooth out those stubborn wrinkles.
Here's an overview of how fillers treat nasolabial folds:
Fillers are injected directly into the cheek area under the folds using an ultra-fine needle. This adds volume to sunken areas in the midface.
By restoring lost fullness to the cheeks and smoothing the indented labionasal groove, the exaggerated shadows that accentuate wrinkles are reduced.
The added volume lifts sagging cheeks up slightly for a subtle recontouring effect. This takes tension off the folds so they become less visible.
Hyaluronic acid fillers attract and bind water molecules at the injection sites. This provides a plumping effect that smoothes away etched lines and creases.
Some filler substances stimulate the body's own collagen production for longer-lasting rejuvenation. This helps restore lost facial volume.
Results are seen immediately after injections but there is some mild swelling at first. Final results are visible within a week after this swelling has completely resolved.
For improving nasolabial folds, dermal fillers are strategically injected into two main areas of the cheeks:
The midface: The central part of the cheek area is built up to lift the cheeks subtly and restore lost volume. This relieves the tension causing the folds and eases their indented appearance.
Directly under the folds: More filler is placed just beneath the folds themselves to physically push them outward and minimizing the etched line appearance.
A skilled injector will also identify any other areas that could use subtle plumping or support, such as the temples, lower cheek, and lips. But the main focus is on the midface and directly augmenting the indented folds. A multi-area rejuvenation approach creates the most natural looking results.
What Fillers Work Best for Cheeks and Folds?
The two main categories of dermal fillers used for cheeks and folds are:
Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring substance in skin that provides hydration, volume, and elasticity. Popular HA filler brands include:
Juvederm Voluma - Provides the most lift and projection for midface volume loss. Lasts up to 2 years.
Restylane Lyft - Designed to plump cheeks and reduce nasolabial folds. Provides flexible support that lasts up to 18 months.
Juvederm Volbella - Made for fine lines around the mouth but can also be used under folds for subtle plumping.
Collagen Stimulating Fillers
These fillers work by triggering the body to produce more of its own collagen, for results that get better over time. Options include:
Sculptra - Poly-L-lactic acid microspheres stimulate collagen growth. Effects build up gradually over 6 months.
Radiesse - Calcium hydroxyapatite particles stimulate long-term collagen and lasts up to 2 years.
Both HA and collagen stimulating fillers can be blended together for optimal, natural looking cheek enhancement and fold reduction. The injector will select the best filler composition tailored to each patient and their desired results.
How Long Do Results Last?
Depending on the type of filler used, results can last from 1-2 years:
Hyaluronic acid fillers: 6-18 months, with an average of 12 months.
Collagen stimulating fillers: Up to 24 months.
Over time, the fillers are naturally absorbed by the body and touch-up injections are needed to maintain the youthful improvements. Maintaining optimal results involves repeat treatments on an annual or bi-annual basis depending on the individual.
Many patients find the ongoing treatments worth the investment for the dramatic yet natural looking improvements in their facial appearance. After the initial set of injections, follow up appointments generally require less filler to maintain results.
For longer lasting rejuvenation, some dermatologists recommend combining dermal fillers with other complementary treatments that stimulate collagen, such as:
Laser skin resurfacing
Ultrasound skin tightening
PRP facials (Platelet Rich Plasma)
A multi-modal approach helps sustain improvements for longer periods between filler appointments. A healthy diet and lifestyle also supports vibrant, youthful skin.
Take the First Step Toward Firmer, More Youthful Cheeks
Dr. Lanna leverages her expertise in facial anatomy and passion for aesthetics to shape beautifully balanced cheeks. Her artistic eye and commitment to personalized care result in subtle, gorgeous enhancement. You’ll recognize yourself in the mirror – just looking years younger.
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