December 14, 2022

Dermal Fillers: Effective Facial Treatment Options for your Med Spa

Moxie Team

The lifeblood of any business? A steady flow of new and returning customers. Med spas are no exception—and the key to attracting and retaining clients is providing effective treatment options. Dermal fillers (or fillers for short) are a diverse family of treatments that can be a valuable addition to your med spa's menu, as they are widely popular and can be an effective treatment option for various aesthetic concerns.

Dermal fillers have become an increasingly popular treatment option at med spas in recent years, ranking second to Botox and other neuromodulators. These injectable substances add volume and plump up various parts of the face, resulting in a more youthful and revitalized appearance. 

One major factor contributing to the growth of fillers at med spas is their convenience and relatively short recovery time. Many patients love getting a quick aesthetic treatment with minimal downtime.

On top of this, the number of injectable dermal fillers on the market increases every year, making it easier for med spas to offer their customers a wide range of options that meet their particular needs and preferences. In addition, an overwhelming amount of clinical research can attest to the safety and efficacy of fillers, which has helped med spas gain their clients' trust and confidence.

Fillers are not only safe and effective, but they are a highly profitable treatment option for med spas. The demand for these treatments is high, and clients are often willing to pay higher prices than they would for other aesthetic treatments. A single injector offering only filler treatments can earn a med spa up to $1288 per hour

Overall, adding dermal fillers to your menu of services can be a wise business decision that can help to boost your bottom line. Keep reading if you're considering offering fillers at your med spa! In this article, we'll provide an overview of what dermal fillers are, how effective they are, the various types of fillers available on the market and their differences, and who can perform the injections.

What are dermal fillers?

As their name implies, dermal fillers are compounds that "fill" the face, restoring volume lost in facial skin/muscles due to decreased collagen and elastin production over time. These treatments help smoothen creases, wrinkles and fine lines on the face, giving people a more youthful appearance.

Dermal fillers are a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that only takes about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of treatment areas. It involves tiny injections of gel-like substances into the skin. 

Dermal fillers are also known as fillers, soft tissue fillers, and wrinkle fillers.

Related article: Injecting 101: An Intro to Botox, Dysport, Xeomin & Other Neuromodulators

How are dermal fillers used?

Dermal fillers are not just "wrinkle fillers." Medical aestheticians can use them on different areas of the face:

  • temples
  • eyes, like tear troughs and crow's feet
  • nose
  • mouth area, including the lips, smoker lines, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines
  • cheeks
  • chin
  • jaws

They can also:

  1. make thin lips become plumper
  2. improve the appearance of indented scars
  3. enhance shallow contours
  4. enhance the symmetry and contour of the face
  5. lighten the shadows under the lower lids

How long do dermal fillers last?

Most fillers are not permanent; their effects are temporary because the body eventually breaks them down and absorbs them. Generally, fillers can last from six months to two years. This means a client will need to receive multiple treatments to maintain the desired appearance. 

How long they last depend on factors like the area of injection and the type of filler used. For example, areas that constantly move, such as the lips, cause these substances to be broken down and absorbed by the body faster. 

Are there different types of dermal fillers?

There are various dermal fillers on the market, categorized by their chemical formulation. Fillers are not a one-size-fits-all situation; one filler may be more suitable for treating a particular body area or offering specific results your customer may be looking for. 

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occurring substance in the skin that keeps it plump and hydrated. HA is a common ingredient in cosmetics that claim to be "anti-aging" or to help the skin retain moisture.

HA fillers are the most commonly used type of dermal filler, and in general, offer a natural-looking appearance once injected. With visible effects for six months to a year, HA fillers are a great option for clients looking for non-permanent options. 

A related benefit specific to HA fillers is that they are reversible. In case of an adverse event or if a client isn't happy with the results, you can inject an enzyme that will dissolve the HA filler.

Brand names:

The many different HA fillers vary in the source and concentration of HA, and the chemical composition of the injection. Other factors that differ among fillers include the type of cross-linking agent used and the presence of an anesthetic, typically lidocaine. 

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA)

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA) is another filler based on a naturally occurring substance in our bones that can induce collagen production. CaHA has a thick consistency, making it an ideal substance for treating deeper lines and wrinkles. In comparison to HA, CaHA generally lasts longer (12 months), reducing the number of client visits required for maintenance.

Additionally, CaHA-based products are less likely to cause allergic reactions because they are biosynthetically produced and do not use any animal or plant products in their production.

Brand name:

Poly-L-lactic Acid (PLLA)

Poly-L-lactic Acid (PLLA) is a biocompatible, biodegradable synthetic dermal filler. The same substance has actually been used for over 40 years in the medical field in the form of dissolvable stitches. 

PLLA is a "collagen stimulator" because it stimulates the body to create collagen. The filler gel is absorbed by the body only a few days after treatment.

The downside of this filler is that it is cumulative in its effects, and clients may need multiple treatments before the effects are visible. However, compared to other dermal fillers, results can last two or more years.

Brand name:

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is another biocompatible substance that has had other medical uses over the past century. This filler consists of tiny PMMA balls (microspheres) suspended in a collagen-based gel produced from bovine (cow) collagen.

It is a semi-permanent filler and offers a longer-term solution than the others. Unlike other dermal fillers, the body does not easily absorb or break down PMMA. Instead, the microspheres stay in place and provide firmness, volume, and structural support for up to 5 years. 

However, as it is semi-permanent, injectors should take caution and underfill each injection. Therefore PMMA treatments require several appointments to fill the area with smaller injections.

Brand name:

Autologous fat injections

Autologous fat injections, or facial fat grafting, are the only injectable filler treatments requiring surgery. In this procedure, the doctor harvests the patient's fat from another area, typically using liposuction.

The fatty material undergoes purification before the doctor injects it into the facial areas that need additional volume. Unlike other fillers mentioned, this procedure lasts forever.

While in most cases, trained injectors can administer fillers under the supervision of a physician, only an experienced, board-certified cosmetic surgeon can perform this procedure. 

How profitable are dermal fillers as a treatment option?

The filler market has been valued at an astonishing $6.7 billion in 2021 and is forecasted to surge to $13.4 billion by 2030. This makes fillers one of the most lucrative markets in aesthetic medicine, with an estimated growth rate of 8.01% year-over-year from 2022 -2030.

In 2016, the American Board of Plastic Surgery released a report stating that filler treatment prices range from $687 to $1,930 for a single treatment session. Considering this, if you're planning to take a filler training course or pay for someone else's training, it's possible to recover the cost after only three to four patient visits.

As mentioned above, one of the great things about offering dermal fillers is that they are usually non-permanent, which equals repeat business every three to four months, or longer, depending on the filler you use on your client. 

Who can administer dermal fillers?

Dermal filler injections are medical procedures that require medical knowledge, skill, and training.

If you're a licensed nurse looking at launching a med spa, you can administer dermal fillers in your clinic as long as you are under a doctor's or plastic surgeon's supervision. On the other hand, estheticians and beauty therapists cannot inject dermal fillers.

If unsure, it's best to consult with your state's nursing and medical licensing state boards to learn who can legally administer this procedure in your area since they govern the practice of non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

In Summary

If you want to expand your med spa's offerings, dermal fillers are the perfect addition. With a wide variety of options available, it'll be easy to find a filler that works for your client's needs.

Furthermore, dermal fillers are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures available today. With the ability to provide immediate results, your clients will love the outcome.

Identifying the best treatment options to add to your med spa menu can be overwhelming while launching your med spa. The Moxie team can help evaluate which treatments are ideal for your business, ensure that you don't invest money on the wrong devices and treatments, and do all the leg work so your business can be up to speed in no time—start now with Moxie! Learn More About Moxie and How We Can Help You Open Your Own Med Spa >

*This article is intended to provide a general guide on what professional licenses and conditions are needed to operate a practice or perform certain treatments. This information alone does not authorize, certify, or confer the ability of anyone to perform these treatments, practice outside their scope, or violate the corporate practice of medicine.

While based on currently available information, the rules and policies on scope of practice issues and ownership can, and do, change frequently. Specific training, education, supervision, protocol and regulatory requirements will differ depending on each person's situation in their state. Therefore, each person must examine their own professional situation, skill level, regulating board guidance, and scope of practice before proceeding.

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