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Collagen Fillers and Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers: How Different Are They?

Collagen dermal fillers are one of the most popular, non-surgical ways to turn back the aging clock. When dermal fillers were first used by doctors for skin rejuvenation treatments, Bovine collagen was one of the first agents to be used and approved by the FDA. Since then, numerous dermal fillers with different contents have been developed, delivering remarkable anti-aging outcome for many people.

We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director and co-founder of Radium Medical Aesthetics to help us understand more about the different types of dermal fillers and their benefits.

What Are Dermal Fillers?

Dermal fillers, also known as facial fillers or injectable implants, or wrinkle fillers are medical device implants for use in replenishing lost volume of the face and create a smoother, fuller appearance by filling deep, static wrinkles.

Injectable dermal fillers have the capability to give a person a more rejuvenated, youthful appearance for a fraction of what a traditional facelift would cost. In addition, the versatility of dermal fillers led to the surge of popularity for augmenting facial features like the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.

Dermal fillers are loosely categorized into 2 different types – Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and collagen or bio-stimulating fillers.

What are Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers?

HA dermal fillers are considered one of the most popular categories of fillers because of the compatibility with the human body. HA is naturally found in our skin. It is a water-loving molecule that has the capacity to absorb water 100 times its weight. By doing so, it retains the moisture and volume of the skin, restoring the youthful, plump appearance that aging skin lacks.

Because the contents of HA dermal fillers are the same as those found in our body, there is almost no chance of any adverse side effects with the use of HA fillers. Side effects are very rare but it can include redness, swelling, and bruising at the site of the injection. In some cases, the dermal filler may also appear as tiny bumps at the injection site. This problem should usually resolve within a couple of days.

Some of the most popular brands of HA dermal fillers aesthetic doctors use include:

  • Restylane
  • Belotero
  • Teosyal
  • Juvederm

Some research has indicated that undergoing repeated treatments may help to stimulate the body’s own natural production of collagen. This means that less dermal filler treatment is needed over time to achieve the same youthful look you desire.

What About Collagen Dermal Fillers?

There are some dermal fillers that are not made of hyaluronic acid. Just like the HA dermal filler counterpart, these collagen dermal fillers are absorbable materials that are used for the correction of moderate facial wrinkles and skin folds. They can also be used to augment the face, plump the lips, and reduce deep wrinkles and fine lines. The benefits include a longer-lasting effect and the ability to continue to exert its skin lifting and rejuvenative effects.

Two brands of bio-stimulating fillers commonly used by doctors in Singapore are Ellanse and Radiesse.


Ellanse fillers
are made of a biodegradable synthetic material called polycaprolactone (PCL) – a bio-resorbable soft medical polymer. The PCL is suspended in a gel medium made of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC).

When Ellanse is injected into the skin, the CMC provides a visible lift to deficient areas. However, the gel does not last very long, probably about 3 months or so. At the same time, the PCL polymer stimulates collagen production in the skin over time. It replaces the lost volume caused by the resorption of the CMC.

Ellanse is made up of microspheres that degrade very slowly over time. The longevity of dermal fillers is dependent on the number of molecules of the spheres. The more molecules there are, the longer lasting the results will be.

Just like Ellanse, Radiesse is a type of dermal filler that continues to exert its collagen-stimulating effects after the treatment. Radiesse is made of Calcium Hydroxyapatite (CaHA) microspheres suspended in a gel carrier of CMC. Just like Ellanse, CMC immediately adds volume to sunken areas of the face. Over the course of 3 months, the CaHA microspheres induce fibroblasts and neocollagenesis begins, stimulating the production of collagen in the body.

So Which Is Better: Ellanse or Radiesse?

radiesse dermal filler singapore
Radiesse is one of the most well-studied dermal fillers. In fact, Radiesse was FDA-approved in 2015 for the treatment of subdermal implantation for hand augmentation to correct volume loss in the dorsum of the hands.

Although many people are turning to longer-lasting dermal fillers for convenience and cost-savings, always remember that products with longer-lasting effects are more likely to cause side effects such as delayed infection.

Not every dermal filler is suitable for every type of concern you want to address. The best outcome with the least adverse side effects come from getting the most qualified and experienced injector who know your skin well and one who is familiar with using different types of dermal fillers for facial augmentation and anti-aging treatments.

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