How Does Restylane Work & Does It Last For Long?

The biggest question when it comes to Restylane is “how long does it last?” To answer that question, we must first understand what the substance is and how it works on your body. Q-Med introduced Restylane to the US in 2010. Since then, there have been over 11 million treatments worldwide. Today, over 65 countries use this dermal filler. A trusted brand, Restylane was the first HA filler to be approved by the FDA for injections into facial tissues. Keep reading to find out if Restylane is right for you.

What is Restylane?

The word “Restylane” actually refers to a number of dermal fillers specifically formulated with hyaluronic acid (HA). The substance is a transparent acid gel injected directly into the patient’s facial tissues. Restylane is non-animal sourced and produced using a natural fermentation process, which significantly decreases the risk of an allergic reaction or disease transfer. This dermal filler is mainly used to add volume and fullness to the skin, erasing signs of aging like fine lines, sagging skin, and wrinkles. Restylane is also used for submucosal implantation, more commonly known as lip enhancement.

Restylane was designed to treat moderate to severe wrinkles with mid to deep implantation into the facial tissues. When injected into dermal tissues, Restylane integrates itself into the tissues and attaches to water molecules with the help of HA. This helps the tissues maintain volume. Over time, your body metabolizes the filler and rids itself of the foreign substance without any damage or residue.

Compared to other Dermal Fillers

Before/After Restylane Treatment

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all dermal fillers are the same. Despite the fact that Restylane is often compared to other treatments like Botox, it has a very different approach. Botox works by interrupting the signals between nerves and muscles. In other words, it prevents you from moving the muscles that cause wrinkles (no frown = no wrinkles). Unfortunately, Botox treatments sometimes make the face appear frozen and unnatural.

Restylane is most similar to Juvéderm, in that they both contain hyaluronic acid. HA is a sugar that binds itself to moisture. Naturally produced by the body, HA is responsible for the plumpness and smoothness so apparent in a baby’s skin. As we age, the amount of HA we produce decreases.

Scientists use a process called cross-linking to make the effects of dermal fillers last longer. However, clinical trials have shown Restylane to be more effective than both cross-linked HA and cross-linked collagen. The average collagen treatment lasts five weeks. Restylane, which is also cross-linked, lasts much longer.

Treatment Areas

Your doctor may use a separate injection or numbing cream to decrease pain before or after treatment. Restylane is applied through an injection directly into the facial tissues. The best part about a Restylane treatment is that results are immediate. The most common areas treated with Restylane are:

  • Lips
  • Laugh lines
  • Sad mouth corners
  • Crow’s feet
  • Frown lines (forehead)
  • Tear troughs (under the eyes)
  • Chin
  • Marionette lines

Restylane can also be used to restore youthful vitality and elasticity to the skin in areas such as the hands and upper torso. But how long the effects of your treatment will last isn’t a simple question. There are many factors that affect longevity. Factors include:

  • Injection site (effects won’t last long if the filler is injected into an area with lots of muscle movement)
  • Skill level of doctor (incorrect procedure can cause permanent damage)
  • Skin type (Restylane may have a negative affect on dark skin)
  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Your body’s metabolic rate (those with a rapid metabolism should expect results to last no longer than six months)

The average Restylane treatment lasts between six and nine months, with lip treatments lasting between three and four months. Tear trough treatments last the longest due to lack of movement in the area (results can last a year or longer). That being said, everyone’s body is different and there is simply no concrete answer to how long your effects will last. The two biggest factors that affect longevity are the doctor’s skill level and your own metabolism.

Side Effects

It’s always important to ask your doctor about the side effects of any medicine, surgery, or treatment. After the procedure, you may experience the following symptoms around injection sites:

  • Swelling (more likely in patients younger than 36)
  • Pain
  • Bruising (more likely in patients over the age of 36)
  • Bleeding
  • Bumps
  • Redness/tenderness
  • Infection
  • Itching
  • Hyperpigmentation
Restylane 2

Before/After Restylane Treatment

Most of these side effects are rare, but expect a recovery period of two to three days. Virtually every patient will experience some swelling, but it should be gone within the first week. Some patients experienced swelling that lasted up to two weeks, especially after lip treatment. In rare instances, patients developed a hard lump at the injection site. This can be treated with an injection of the enzyme hyaluronidase.

Make sure to minimize your exposure to the sun and extreme cold while you are recovering. Do not undergo Restylane treatment while pregnant or breast-feeding.

According to clinical trials, 80% of patients will experience adverse reactions shortly following treatment (most reactions will be mild). African-American patients are more prone to swelling and during clinical trials 9% of them experienced hyperpigmentation after lip treatment that lasted several weeks.

You should not undergo a Restylane treatment if:

  • You have severe allergies
  • You have a bleeding disorder
  • You have inflammation in the area (acne, hives, etc.)
  • You are under 21 years of age
  • You are undergoing immunosuppressive therapy
  • You have had herpes in the treatment area
  • You have had previous skin disease in the treatment area

Is Restylane right for you?

According to reviews, it’s totally worth it. However, a dermal filler treatment isn’t something anyone should do on a whim. Find a skilled and knowledgeable doctor and discuss your goals and options. He or she can take factors like lifestyle, metabolism, and age into account and make a recommendation. Don’t forget to discuss the potential side effects. Since the average Restylane treatment is over $600, this might not be an option for everyone. Serums are an option for those who want a pain-free solution. Click here for more ways to achieve youthful skin without injections.

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