Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan)
Hyaluronic acid (e.g. Restylane, Surgiderm, Juvéderm) is one of the chief components of the extracellular matrix which forms an integral part of our connective tissue. It is often present in our bodies as a polysaccharide and has many different functions. As it is found naturally in our tissues, it only very rarely causes allergic reactions, meaning its use as a filler is virtually harmless. In contrast to botox, injectable fillers treat wrinkles by increasing the volume of the skin. Fillers are not only limited to the cheeks and lips; strictly speaking, they can be injected into any area of the face, including the chin, nose and around the eyes. The filling effect and simultaneous improvement in the quality of the skin lasts between six and twelve months.
Wrinkles used to be filled with collagen but this substance was found to cause more allergies than hyaluronic acid because it is obtained from bovine serum, a protein which is foreign to humans. While there are many other products which remain in the body longer than hyaluronic acid, these may unfortunately lead to indurations, lumps and infections. Such complications can often only be treated with a surgical excision.