Restylane is a purified, non animal product comprising stabilised hyaluronic acid gel “NASHA” – a naturally occurring substance found in skin and which decreases with age. These gels are principally used for volume enhancement. It is absolutely safe, requires no pre-testing, and has very few side effects. Recently, local anaesthetic was added to the formulation which has made the whole process more streamlined as nerve blocking injections are no longer required. The gel itself is quite viscous, and is supplied in single use, pre-packed syringes. Restylane works directly in the skin (as opposed to Botox, which works on the underlying muscle) to literally fill out / plump out wrinkles and add volume and moisture. It binds water and this gives the skin a more youthful, hydrated look.
This is an office based procedure, and takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. The gel is injected into the deep layers of the skin, directly beneath the wrinkle, filling up the wrinkle, not unlike polyfiller! It has no effect on the muscles of facial expression. It can be used to fill deep lines on the face (including the naso-labial lines), as well as the wrinkles mentioned under Botox.
In my practice, I tend to focus on the following areas for soft tissue filling:
- Lip augmentation
- Filling naso-labial and marionette lines
The effect is instant (although there is some mild swelling which settles overnight) and generally long lasting (upwards of 6 months). The gel is completely absorbed after this period, leaving no scarring or residue in the skin or lips. It is widely used across the world, with an outstanding safety record, and despite the plethora of other fillers that have recently flooded the market; few have the track record of Restylane.
There are a number of “variations” of Restylane, all manufactured by Qmed, and all comprising the same “NASHA”. They vary only in thickness, and so can be used for a variety of purposes:
Restylane Touch: 0.5cc syringe. This is the thinnest gel, used for fine lines.
Restylane: 1cc syringe. Moderately thick. Good all purpose filler, and I use this widely.
Perlane: 1cc syringe: Thick. Used where more volume is required as in very thin lips or very deep lines that require a lot of volume.
Restylane LIP volume – NEW: 1cc. Thicker than restylane, but thinner than perlane with particular advantages in lip augmentation
Sub Q: 2cc. Very thick and used for soft tissue augmentation of the face: chin and cheek augmentation. This is injected with a special cannula, not a fine needle, as is the case with the other products.
Restylane Vital: 2cc pen. Very “thin”, non cross-linked gel, injected in minute quantities over the face, upper lip fine lines or neck and upper chest area for better hydration of the tissues. You need at least 3 treatments spaced about 4 weeks apart to improve the skin quality over time.