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Skin ageing is a biological degenerative process, marked by loss. The number of patients seeking nonsurgical rejuvenation of the face and the body is continuing to increase due to a growing ageing population concerned with physical appearance. Women wish to maintain a youthful appearance and attractiveness represent 92% of all cosmetic procedures.(1) Men are keen to maintain physical characteristics associated with virility.(2) Millennials are also increasingly concerned with preserving their beauty and youth.(3) Among the various treatment approaches, different minimally invasive techniques have been developed and dermal fillers currently come second after botulinum toxin type A (BTA).(3) Their use is increasing worldwide.
"The fear of looking done is the number 1 reason why patients don't seek treatment"*
The range of fillers available for soft-tissue augmentation is constantly expanding. The latest advances in filler technology include bio-stimulators that exert their aesthetic effect by promoting predominantly collagenesis or biological stimulation of new collagen and sometimes also elastin production. Therewith they provide a biological answer to the skin ageing degeneration process, with gradual and often very natural results. Over the course of last years the knowledge on injectable bio-stimulators has grown, and therewith their safety and popularity as they provide subtle longer lasting results.
Facial fillers can be broken into 3 main groups:
Bio-stimulating fillers promote the body’s natural production of some ECM components (mostly collagen) over a period of several months.
Their differences are characterized by their property of inducing natural collagen production.
Calcium hydroxylapatite: Calcium hydroxylapatite is a type of mineral that is commonly found in human teeth and bones and in injectbales the calcium hydroxylapatite particles are suspended in a gel-like solution. The effects of this material last approximately 18 months with minimal inflammatory response.
Radiesse is a biodegradable filler consisting of 30% synthetic CaHA microspheres (diameter of 25-45μm) suspended in a 70% aqueous carboxymethylcellulose gel carrier. The soluble carrier gel evenly distributes the Radiesse CaHA microspheres providing 1:1 correction and gradually dissipates leaving the microspheres at the injection site where they induce collagenesis (collagen type I and mostly collagen type III) by fibroblast activation. Animal studies have shown that this new collagen growth occurs as early as four weeks post-injection and continues for at least 12 months with an average duration of effect of 12 to 18 months, though some results have been noted 24 months post-injection. Radiesse provides both immediate (replacement volume) and long-lasting (collagen biostimulation) volume enhancement. (5)
PLLA is a biodegradable, bioresorbable biocompatible man-made polymer. This material has wide uses in absorbable stitches and bone screws. The effects of PLLA generally become increasingly apparent over time (over a period of several weeks) and its effects may last up to 2 years. There is an inflammatory response. PLLA is an alpha hydroxy acid polymer of the lactic acid L-enantiomeric structure that has been safely used in many applications and in medicine for more than 30 years. Its use has expanded worldwide, associated with good long-term aesthetic results thanks to its biostimulatory-collagen effect. PLLA-based fillers are supplied as a lyophilized powder to be reconstituted with sterile water. The collagen stimulatory properties were evidenced in human in subjects (n=14) who received PLLA injections (3 sessions, spaced 4 weeks apart) at the postauricular level by collagen histochemical determination on biopsies taken at different times. Increase of collagen type-I was shown at 3 and 6 months. This study opened the new class of collagen stimulators. The long duration of action was demonstrated in a first pivotal study comparing PLLA versus collagen (116/117 subjects, respectively); the long-term safety/efficacy was shown up to 25 months. The rationale for several sessions was first documented in a dedicated article; this modality allows the effect through collagen stimulation, a biological process to occur and avoids overcorrection. PLLA fillers are among the most clinically documented products. (6)
The PCL-based collagen stimulator is composed of PCL microspheres suspended in a carboxymethyl-cellulose gel carrier providing immediate and sustained volumizing effects when injected; the morphology, the biocompatibility of the PCL microspheres embedded with the collagen fibers produced all contribute to the creation of a unique 3D scaffold for a sustained effect. Its safety has been investigated in clinical studies and vigilance surveys. It presents the advantage of a slower degradation than polylactic acid (PLLA) or polyglycolic acid (PGA), which both belong to the same chemical family.
Both the S and M products induced collagen production. In animal, the M product induced collagen type-III and type-I at early stage (measure at 9 months), and later predominantly collagen type-I, that deposits around the PCL microspheres (measure at 21 months). Many fibroblasts were found near the PCL microspheres. Interestingly, new elastin fibers were also formed, and neovascularization with new capillaries observed as well. (7)
1. Platelet rich plasma
2. Platelet rich fibrin
3. Polynucleotides like Nucleofill or Nucleadyn
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP): PRP treatments are produced by spinning a small volume of the patient’s own blood through a centrifuge. This separates and concentrates the blood’s components, including platelet-rich plasma and the “buffy coat,” a solution that contains immune cells. The provider combines these two components with a small amount of calcium chloride (which activates and keeps the PRP stable), then injects them into the treatment area. Over a period of months, PRP stimulates the body’s natural collagen production.
Platelet-Rich Fibrin (PRF): PRF is produced using a process similar to PRP concentration. The active material is a fibrin matrix rich in platelets, stem cells, and immune cells. Like PRP, PRF treatment stimulates collagen production and is also implicated in tissue regeneration, though there’s less data on the durability of its effects.
Because both treatments use material from the patient’s own body, so there’s no risk of rejection or similar complications. PRF and PRP effects are durable — typically lasting longer than 18 months.
Polynucleotides: Polynucleotides are most often natural, highly purified DNA molecules extracted for example from trout gonads and activate specialised cells called myofibroblasts and adipocytes. PN containing devices act as short time temporary fillers thanks to the viscoelasticity of the long DNA fragments and improve skin well‐being (cell growth) and steady self‐repair (tissue regeneration). Read more
Exosomes: The use of exosomes at the Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress in Monaco was discussed during many session and some excellent results were presented. However their use is not yet approved and safety and long-term effect not yet established and largely depends on the source. Read more
There is evidence that the neuromodulator or musclerelaxer Botinumtoxin after injection upregulated the expression of type I collagen, decreases the production of some MMPs in fibroblasts, preventing collagen degradation and improves collagen organisation. (8.9.)
ENERGY BASED DEVICES
Intense Pulsed Light/BroadBand Light, Radiofrequency Microneedling, lasers, High-Frequency Ultrasound, Electromagnetic Tec. stimulate collagen production via a controlled damage and repair mechanism.
DERMO-COSMETICS WITH BIO-ACTIVES
There are innovative dermo-cosmetic products containing bio-stimulating ingredients, working more superficial in comparison to in-office treatments and they therefor are potentially an excellent choice as adjunctive care for biological rejuvenation and revitalization for younger looking and acting skin. They are safe to use easy to apply over face, neck and décolletage. Unlike in-office treatments their effects are temporary (fully reversible as regulated), hence they require daily or twice daily application.
Bio-stimulating active ingredients in skincare which have shown to particularly stimulate the fibroblast are for example:
VITAMIN C IS NEEDED FOR COLLAGEN SYNTHESES!
Our skin needs Vitamin C to produce collagen and is not able to produce it, thus relies on external resources for supply. Therefore I highly recommend to either get enough Vitamin C from your diet or use a high quality topical product pre & post biostimulators. Read more
As the biological degeneration takes place in different layers of the skin and it's underlying structures, combining in-office treatments specifically targeting those layers in a series of treatments may provide longer lasting results and give higher patient satisfaction.(13) Safety and outcome rely on the qualification and experience of your cosmetic doctor, dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
MD FAAD Hassan Galadari
Jair Mauricio Cerón Bohórquez M.D.
1. American Society Plastic Surgeons. 2020 national plastic surgery statistics; 2020.
2. Wat H, Wu DC, Goldman MP. Noninvasive body contouring: a male perspective. Dermatol Clin. 2018;36(1):49–55.
3. Wang JV, Akintilo L, Geronemus RG. Growth of cosmetic procedures in millennials: a 4.5-year clinical review. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020;19(12):3210–3212.
4. Evaluation of the biostimulatory effects and the level of neocollagenesis of dermal fillers: a review. Haddad S, Galadari H, Patil A, Goldust M, Al Salam S, Guida S International Journal of Dermatology, 29 Apr 2022
5. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015 Jan; 8(1): 38–49. Calcium Hydroxylapatite Over a Decade of Clinical Experience Jani Van Loghem, MD, Yana Alexandrovna Yutskovskaya, MD,b and WM. Philip Werschler, MDc
6. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2022; 15: 997–1019. Collagen Stimulators in Body Applications: A Review Focused on Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA)
Marie-Odile Christen Read more
7. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2020; 13: 31–48. Polycaprolactone: How a Well-Known and Futuristic Polymer Has Become an Innovative Collagen-Stimulator in Esthetics Marie-Odile Christen and Franco Vercesi
8. Oh SH, Lee Y, Seo YJ, Lee JH, Yang JD, Chung HY, Cho BC. The potential effect of botulinum toxin type A on human dermal fibroblasts: an in vitro study. Dermatol Surg. 2012 Oct;38(10):1689-94.
9. El-Domyati M, Attia SK, El-Sawy AE, Moftah NH, Nasif GA, Medhat W, Marwan B. The use of Botulinum toxin-a injection for facial wrinkles: a histological and immunohistochemical evaluation. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015 Jun;14(2):140-4
10 EADV 2022 Inhibition of extracellular matrix degrading enzymes and bio-stimulation of fibroblasts – A novel approach to mitigate the advanced degenerative process in skin aging Weise J, Vogelsang A, Sperling G, Welge V, Nölter A, Mielke H, Knott A, Harbig S, Stuhr A, Dunckel J, Warnke K, Geloven van A
11. EADV 2021 Multifaceted novel approach to increase skin’s own epidermal and dermal hyaluron content Bussmann T, Warnke K, Krüger A, Möller N, Harbig S, Stuhr A, Dunckel J, Geloven van A, Weise J | Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany
12. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2005, 81: 581–587 Novel Aspects of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Aging of Human Skin: Beneficial Effects of Soy Extract Kirstin M. Su¨del et al
13. Combination Therapy in Midfacial Rejuvenation Humphrey et al. Dermatologic Surgery 42:p S83-S88, May 2016.
*AMWC 2023 Tapan Patel
It is widely known that skin´s own hyaluron is a precious molecule keeping our skin hydrated as it is a powerful humectant (attracting and binding water), hence giving the skin a natural plumpness and bounce. What many don´t know is that skin´s own hyaluronic acid content needs to be replenished continuously, as it´s half-life is only several hours up to one day 1. It´s degradation is fastened by 2 different pathways: an external influence via free radical activity or physical degradation and an internal pathway via enzymatic or biological degradation by a family of enzymes called hyaluronidase or abbreviated HYAL.
There are 6 different ones identified and HYAL 1 is the most active one. HYAL 1 “cuts” large size hyaluron molecules (the most capable of binding water) into smaller molecules, which are eliminated even faster. One of the strategies to maintain skin´s own hyaluron content is to inhibit the HYAL enzymes, especially HYAL1. Comparing photo-exposed skin to photoprotected skin showed significant increase in the expression of L-HA (low molecular weight HA) which are smaller or broken hyaluronic acid molecules. An increase of degradated hyaluron was associated with a significant expression of HYAL-1 (2)..UV, ROS or free radical activity leads to the activation of hyaluronidase (3,4).
You may now wonder how it is possible that hyaluron filler injections can have a lasting effect of several months or even longer than a year. This is because in those injectable gels the hyaluron molecules are stabilized to protect them from the impact of free radicals and HYAL enzymes. Often this is done with chemical crosslinks (BDDE). Manufacturers of those hyaluron injectable gels use different stabilizing or crosslink technologies and different number of crosslinks, which impacts the gels consistency and longevity. They aren´t completely resistant to hyaluronidase, as it can be used to dissolve injected hyaluron. As hyaluron is anyway depleted and replenished every day, this dissolving procedure hardly affects skin´s own hyaluronic acid content. This is a common misconception.
In skin care however, the use of crosslinked hyaluron (hence lasting for months or longer) does not make a lot of sense as we usually cleanse our skin twice daily and thus wash it away. It is too large to penetrate. There are some benefits for crosslinked hyaluron, but it does not impact the longevity of skin´s own hyaluronic acid content. One ingredient derived from the roots of Chinese Licorice plant called Enoxolone (also known as Glycyrrhetinic acid) however, has proven to decrease the HYAL1 activity by 54% (in vitro) (5.6). This is a novel and safe topical way to protect skin´s own hyaluronic acid content from fast degradation and elimination.
However, as mentioned before free radicals increase HYAL1 activity and as we age our skin becomes less resilient against accumulated oxidative stress. Therefore, the most optimal approach to inhibit increasing break down of hyaluronic acid is to combine HYAL1 inhibition with powerful anti-oxidants. In the illustration, which I created professionally, it is Saponin. Saponin is next to a powerful anti-oxidant, also a potent bio-stimulator of the fibroblast for hyaluron (+256%) and collagen (+49%) (6). Furthermore, Enoxolone stimulates melanin production, supports the skin's own repair mechanism against UV-induced DNA damage and inhibits enzymatic elastin degradation. What a power-couple to have in dermo-cosmetic products to manage the biological degenerative process of ageing skin.
1. HA: a key molecule in skin aging E. Papakonstantinou
2. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jul 1; 4(3): 253–258. doi: 10.4161/derm.21923 Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging Eleni Papakonstantinou, 1 Michael Roth, 2 and George Karakiulakis 1
3. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine December 2013, 13:304| In vitro determination of the anti-aging potential of four southern African medicinal plants Authors Gugulethu NdlovuEmail, Gerda Fouche, Malefa Tselanyane, Werner Cordier, Vanessa Steenkamp
4. Bioorg Chem. 2018 Apr;77:159-167. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2017.12.030. Epub 2018 Jan 4. In-vitro evaluation of antioxidant, anti-elastase, anti-collagenase, anti-hyaluronidase activities of safranal and determination of its sun protection factor in skin photoaging. Madan K1, Nanda S2.
5. EADV Poster 2021 A holistic hyaluron-centric anti-aging concept to improve static and dynamic wrinkles Geloven van A, Harbig S, Stuhr A, Dunckel J, Kuhn A, Dippe R, Warnke K, Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany
6. EADV Poster 2021 Multifaceted novel approach to increase skin’s own epidermal & dermal hyaluron content Bussmann T, Warnke K, Krüger A, Möller N, Harbig S, Stuhr A, Dunckel J, Geloven van A, Weise J, Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany
7. Hong et al. Glycyrrhetinic Acid: A Novel Modulator of Human Skin Pigmentation and DNA-Repair September 2009Journal of Investigative Dermatology Conference: 39th Annual European-Society-for-Dermatological-Research Volume: 129
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