Understanding Facial Fillers and Their Ingredients

Understanding Facial Fillers and Their Ingredients

by Aesthetic Doctor, Tracey Garner

As aesthetic professionals, we understand your desire to restore and enhance your natural beauty and to maintain a healthy youthful glow. Here, Facial Fillers often take the forefront as the various filler products available today offer an amazing variety of options to address specific concerns and promote facial rejuvenation with beautiful and lasting results.

As with fashion, there are so many options available that it can often feel overwhelming to choose the best solution for you. Unlike fashion, with facial aesthetic procedures, the repercussions of the wrong choice may be extreme. So, when it comes to your face, it is best to make these decisions with an experienced professional and take on this journey with an aesthetic doctor who can curate the ideal treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results.

Think less fashion and more couture.

There is no approach better than a plan tailor-made for your unique concerns, however, equipping yourself with the right information before you head into your consultation will help you make an informed decision. Knowledge is indeed power.

This guide aims to do just that – explore the science behind the various fillers and their applications to empower you to make informed decisions about your aesthetic journey alongside your aesthetic doctor.


Facial fillers are medical-grade devices, and their administration should only be performed by a qualified aesthetic professional with extensive experience and expertise. Choosing a qualified provider ensures a safe and effective treatment experience tailored to your unique needs. Besides volumising and sculpting, the range of facial fillers today can also improve skin quality and hydration, stimulate collagen production for firmer, tighter skin, and much more.


Facial fillers are not just “one thing”. There is a wide selection of facial fillers available today: most contain Hyaluronic acid, but there are also fillers that contain Calcium Hydroxyapatite, Poly-L-Lactic acid, hybrid versions of the above, and more. Since they all have different structures and functions in facial rejuvenation, it is important to realise that a one-size-fits-all approach is not suitable for facial aesthetics.

Let’s take a closer look at the various facial filler ingredients.


Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Fillers

These versatile fillers offer immediate results for various concerns. Hyaluronic acid attracts and retains moisture, plumping and hydrating the skin. HA fillers offer immediate volumization and hydration, making them ideal for augmenting lips, cheeks, and under-eye areas. They are also incredible tools for restoring foundational support to the face, thereby giving a lifted appearance. HA can furthermore be used in the form of skin boosters to improve skin quality and hydration.

Hyaluronic acid is a compound that occurs naturally in the skin and joints. HA fillers are biocompatible and there are very few cases of allergic reactions. They gradually break down over time and typically require follow-up treatments every 6 – 18 months.

Calcium Hydroxyapatite (CaHA) Fillers

CaHA provides both immediate and long-lasting benefits and is also known as a biostimulator. CaHA contains a specialized calcium molecule that is found in the structure of bone and teeth. It stimulates collagen production by creating the ideal environment for your fibroblasts to function. These unique cells are like little factories in the deeper layers of the skin that are responsible for producing collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which are all important for the structure of the skin and underlying tissues.

Over time CaHA causes firmer, tighter skin that appears less wrinkled and younger. CaHA may also provide short-term volume where it is injected in a less diluted form, but its best claim to fame is collagen stimulation for improved skin structure and quality in the face, neck and hands. The effect can last for around 18 months.

Hybrid Facial Fillers

A newer filler containing a hybrid of Calcium Hydroxyapatite and Hyaluronic Acid has recently started gaining popularity, and with good reason. This HACa hybrid injectable provides immediate filling and lifting, with the benefit of skin quality improvement over time. One of the best applications of this injectable is that it promotes facial harmonisation, removing unnecessary ‘hills and valleys’ or transition areas and giving a more youthful, sculpted and lifted look.

Poly-L-lactic Acid (PLLA) Injectables

PLLA, like CaHA is also a biostimulator. It is a synthetic, biocompatible substance that stimulates the body’s natural collagen production over time. It does this by stimulating an immune response in the body which stimulates Collagen and Elastin production in the skin. PLLA is also found in dissolvable suture materials and facial threads, but in injectable form, it is a powder that we dilute and use as a liquid. It is best suited for tightening saggy skin and improving skin quality. It provides no immediate filling effect but may create gentle volumisation over time, depending on how it is injected.

PLLA can improve facial tightness and firmness for up to two years. Some doctors even refer to it as ‘Spanx for your face’.

Autologous Fat and Stem Cells

Although not as accessible for an in-office procedure, autologous fat can also be used to fill and rejuvenate tissues. The beauty of your own fat is that it contains stem cells, which are the master cells in the body: capable of regenerating and restoring your skin and soft tissue. They are the gift that keeps on giving, providing regeneration of tissues for years to come.


The world of facial fillers extends beyond basic lines and volume correction. Fillers are commonly used to correct and restore the lips, nose, nasolabial folds, jawline and chin, but are seldom combined well for a full-face approach. Advanced techniques and treatment protocols that utilize fillers for a more comprehensive approach to rejuvenation are available.

Just like a good, classic cut on a beautiful garment, signature procedures that are uniquely combined and actioned, can yield beautiful, natural results. Let’s take a closer look at some of these advanced facial filler techniques:


This innovative technique (signature to Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates) utilizes targeted hyaluronic acid injections to enhance lips by treating surrounding supportive facial structures like the cheeks and jawline. The role of the lips in facial symmetry and light reflection is also carefully considered before enhancement. The result is natural, beautifully sculpted lips that complement your unique facial structure. Just like the perfect shade of lipstick, beautiful, natural lips will never go out of fashion.

The Signature N-LIFT® (Natural-Lift)

This minimally invasive approach uses small quantities of hyaluronic acid for strategic placement in the temples, cheeks, jaw, and chin to restore lost foundational support. The improved facial support results in a naturally lifted appearance. It’s ideal for defining cheekbones, jawlines, and chins, offering subtle contouring for a natural, youthful look. Just like a structured and fitted blazer will always improve your look, an N-lift is a beautiful way to restore your classic structure and beauty. It will celebrate and enhance your unique look.

Facial Fat Grafting

For patients seeking a long-lasting, natural solution, facial fat grafting offers a unique option. This procedure utilizes your own body fat, harvested from areas like the abdomen or thighs by lipo-syringing. The harvested fat is processed and then injected it into the entire face either as microfat or nanofat/stem cells. Fat grafting offers dual benefits: volume restoration and improved skin quality due to the stem cells present in the transferred fat.


Your face is a unique and unrepeatable miracle. Your health, lifestyle, and individual ageing needs mean that your aesthetic journey should be uniquely designed for you. During your consultation, your aesthetic doctor will thoroughly assess your individual needs, wants, and aesthetic goals. This collaborative approach will allow them to recommend the most suitable treatment based on the science and properties of each product and procedure. A personalized treatment plan can be curated to achieve the desired outcome, ensuring safety and optimal results.

Think less fashion and more couture. More you.


The field of aesthetic medicine is constantly evolving, with new filler options and techniques emerging. Your aesthetic doctor should be committed to continuous learning and staying abreast of the latest advancements to provide you with the most effective and up-to-date solutions for your facial rejuvenation journey. They should carefully consider your unique situation and recommend a variety of options for you to carefully consider. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ filler or treatment solution for your face. You are unique, and so are your facial rejuvenation needs.

Facial fillers are powerful tools for enhancing natural beauty and promoting facial rejuvenation. By understanding how unique the different ingredients and applications of fillers are, you can make informed decisions with the guidance of your aesthetic doctor. A qualified aesthetic doctor who takes the time to consult you and curate a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs and goals will ultimately help you remain the uniquely beautiful individual that you already are.

Your face is more than a fashion statement. You are uniquely beautiful and deserve a couture, uniquely fitted, and curated aesthetic journey.


If you are considering facial fillers and have questions, schedule a consultation with a qualified aesthetic doctor. During your consultation, ample time should be given to discuss your concerns, medical and treatment history, as well as your budget, lifestyle, and capacity for downtime. Facial and photographic examination should be used by your doctor to assess your needs and explore treatment options, and to create a plan to help you achieve your desired aesthetic goals.

You should have time to receive and consider a quotation and should never feel pressured into a treatment.

To consult with one of our aesthetic doctors, email us at capetown@drnwilkinson.co.za to start your Aesthetic Couture journey to radiant rejuvenation today.

Written by Aesthetic Doctor, Tracey Garner