Tag Archives: Non-Surgical Facial Enhancement

The Changing Face of Dermal Fillers: From Collagen to Fibroblasts

The last two years have brought many changes in the market for injectable wrinkle fillers.  The most recent developments are announcements by two leading makers, Allergan and Johnson & Johnson, that they will no longer produce their respective collagen products (the human-derived CosmoDerm and CosmoPlast, the bovine Zyderm and Zyplast for Allergan; the porcine Evolence for Johnson & Johnson). For more than two decades, collagen has been the dermal filler of choice for many dermatologists. With skin allergy testing and the relatively short-life of collagen fillers, it’s understandable that newer products are taking over.

As in many markets, demand and money drive the evolution of new products, and dermal fillers are no exception. The popularity of non-animal hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers (known as replacement fillers because they replace lost volume) and PLLA and PMMA fillers (known as stimulatory fillers because they stimulate collagen and fibroblast production) has been strong in the recent past. Perlane, Restylane, Radiesse, Juvéderm, and Sculptra currently dominate the US market. Dermatologists report these hypoallergenic HA, PMMA, and PLLA fillers as being more versatile, longer-lasting, bulkier, and better for deep-volume filling than collagen.

But what about fine and thin line use, such as for foreheads or smokers lines around the mouth? Collagen was usually considered better for those applications. But Restylane Fine Lines is one HA product that makers hope to take over what used to be collagen territory.

Change is definitely underway. Although fillers that indirectly stimulate fibroblast production are holding sway, direct injection of fibroblasts with Human Dermal Fibroblasts (HDFs) may be an upcoming trend. UK dermatologists are currently testing Valveta, a filler derived from the foreskins of male babies that is reputed to repopulate skin with healthy young cells and be long-lasting, if not permanent.