Collagen is a key building block within the skin’s structure, responsible for firmness, elasticity and volume. As collagen levels deplete by up to 1% per year, patients are increasingly seeking solutions to help them maintain healthy-looking volume. The skincare market is flooded with collagen products from serums and moisturisers to food supplements, however the efficacy of topical collagen is much debated. Aesthetic treatments such as PLLA fillers can offer more efficacious solutions to volume loss and laxity.
What is PLLA?
PLLA is a bio-compatible synthetic variation of lactic acid. This polymer has been used in the medical field for over 20 years to create dissolvable stitches. PLLA naturally bio-degrades within the body, breaking down into carbon dioxide and water.
How do PLLA fillers stimulate collagen production?
The body naturally responds to lactic acid by speeding up cell turnover and the production of collagen. These benefits, in turn, mean that PLLA can also offer impressive aesthetic benefits. When synthetic lactic acid is injected into the foundational layers of maturing skin, the body responds by increasing collagen production. This stimulation promotes smoother, firmer skin with a noticeable increase in volumisation.
Who would be the perfect candidate for PLLA fillers?
Patients over the age of 30 who are concerned with volume loss due to ageing or weight loss would be ideal candidates for PLLA fillers. The rejuvenation process is gradual, offering a more natural look than hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. PLLA fillers are not suitable for targeted sculpting, or treatment areas such as the lips.
How long does collagen stimulation take?
As PLLA is a powder, it must be mixed with sterile water to reconstitute into an injectable. Patients may notice an immediate glow or volume increase, but this will subside once the water has been absorbed by the skin. Results from PLLA treatments are visible from 4-6 weeks, as the body begins to stimulate new collagen. Collagen stimulation is a gradual process with results lasting 2-3 years, offering patient’s greater longevity and less maintenance than alternative dermal fillers. For optimal results, patients should receive a course of 3 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
What results can PLLA fillers offer?
PLLA fillers offer a significant volume increase, helping to correct the look of dermal deficiencies. The skin is left looking plumped and rejuvenated with a youthful glow. Fine lines and wrinkles are smoothed and lost volume is restored, for a firmer-looking appearance. Alongside anti-ageing benefits, PLLA fillers have also proven successful in the treatment of atrophied scarring that can occur as a result of acne or injury. Collagen stimulation can prove more effective than surface-level aesthetic treatments such as laser and chemical peels for patients who present with more severe scarring.
What would be the long-term treatment plan for mature skin with volume loss?
Once the initial course of 3-4 treatments has been completed, PLLA fillers offer long-lasting results for around 2 years. The synthetic lactic acid is metabolised by the skin in around 24 months, yet many patients find that the extra collagen production helps them to maintain their ideal results for years to come.
This ever-developing product category has proven effective in restoring lost volume, smoothing and firming the skin, providing patients with a natural-looking, bio-stimulating anti-ageing solution. Here at Fox, we’re excited to see what benefits further product developments could offer.