If you think you know everything about fillers, you are wrong. In this article, we will tell you at least two facts that many probably did not know about. We talked with a dermatovenerologist Alexei Edemsky and learned how everyone's favorite hyaluronic acid is associated with streptococcus bacteria, what "crosslinks" are and what kind of trick is to be expected from them.
How do you get hyaluronic acid and what does streptococcal bacteria have to do with it?
If the beauty industry were human, it would look like the heroine of Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada - gorgeous and merciless. Literally every day, some kind of beauty novelty appears, revealing another flaw that urgently needs to be corrected.
Fillers based on hyaluronic acid have long won a place of honor on the Olympus of beauty and have become a kind of panacea in injection cosmetology. At consultations, doctors promise their patients that they will see amazing results immediately after the first injection - a radiant complexion, elimination of minor imperfections, an increase in lip volume, improvement of the face contour …
One of the advantages of hyaluronic acid is its short duration - the composition is gradually eliminated from the body, so there is a widespread belief that it is absolutely safe. But, according to the dermatovenerologist Alexei Edemsky, both of these facts do not quite correspond to reality.
“Most fillers are made with hyaluronic acid. Their nuance lies in the fact that hyaluronic acid is synthesized in laboratories by bacteria known as streptococci. In the future, it goes through several stages of purification from these bacteria and from other impurities that enter the hyaluronic acid during the production process. But! No matter how perfect the purification process is, unfortunately, microscopic fractions of certain accompanying substances, including the genetic material of bacteria that synthesize hyaluronic acid, remain in the preparation,”says the specialist.
So what do we know about streptococci? This name is translated from Greek very nicely - "chains" and "beads". Such associations appeared among scientists who first saw this bacterium under a microscope. It is not at all cute that this particular bacterium is the cause of diseases such as pharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, meningitis, scarlet fever and sore throat. And this is not a complete list.
“Streptococcus is used in the vast majority of cases of hyaluronic acid synthesis. In some cases, human immunity is able to perceive the hyaluronic acid as a streptococcal infection and begin to fight it. Such problems may not arise immediately, but three years or 5-10 years after the injection of the filler. By that time, a person can already forget that he was doing the procedure. Many people think that, after so many years, hyaluronic acid is completely eliminated from the body. In theory this is true, but in practice it is far from always true. Particles of hyaluronic acid can be in tissues for years,”the doctor emphasized.
This point is aggravated by the fact that there is no analysis with the help of which it would be possible to determine how your body will personally react to the "hyaluron". “It is impossible to predict whether a person will have a negative reaction to hyaluronic acid or not. However, if the patient often suffered from tonsillitis, pharyngitis or other ENT pathologies, the risk of inflammation of the gel increases. I will say again that this side effect can appear in the long term.Immediately after the procedure, the patient may not have such problems, and after a few years, if he falls ill with tonsillitis, the remains of the gel may begin to inflame, although theoretically it should not be in the body by that time,”the expert said.
What are stitches and what is their danger
Another insider information, which not a single cosmetologist will tell at the consultation, concerns the so-called stitches. “Fillers based on hyaluronic acid contain" crosslinks "- chemical agents that bind different molecules of hyaluronic acid into one single structure. Thus, the required dense gel-like consistency is achieved, which will be able to create the required volume in the tissues,”says Aleksey Edemsky.
The trick of "stitching" is that even cosmetologists do not know how these chemical compounds can affect tissues. Especially if the patient has been injected repeatedly. “If we can say that we have antidotes to hyaluronic acid itself, and can theoretically remove it from the body, then this is hardly possible with stitches. It's all about the additional chemical agents they contain. We are not sure that they completely leave the body and do not understand how they biodegrade to the end,”the specialist admitted.
There are many hyaluronkas … it happens
After the two previous points, this one should be taken a little with caution, although we have no purpose to scare the readers. The described negative effects of hyaluronic-based fillers are extremely rare. Aleksey Edemsky reported them as a warning.
Everything in the world has its pros and cons, and when it comes to something that is injected under your skin, you need to understand that it is not completely safe. It is not for nothing that such injections were previously preferred to be done in small doses and only in certain areas.
“15–20 years ago, hyaluronic acid was injected only into the lips and nasolabial fold. Today it is introduced everywhere - face, body, and in those volumes that were not provided at the stage of creating fillers based on hyaluronic acid,”the cosmetologist said. When this technique first appeared on the beauty market, hyaluron was injected in 1-2 milliliters, maximum - 3 milliliters.
“It wasn’t supposed then that hyaluronic acid would be injected in tens of milliliters. People who inject frequently will accumulate a hundred milliliters in their entire lives. Fillers based on hyaluronic acid began to be introduced everywhere from the moment when doctors understood their relative safety and began to develop and practice new techniques. This is also due to the fact that cosmetology is a very commercial industry. It is necessary to constantly offer new procedures, surprise and expand the market. In other words, new areas for the introduction of fillers appear due to market laws. We can say that supply creates demand here,”said the dermatovenerologist. Carefully weigh the pros and cons - both if you are signing up for the procedure for the first time, and if you are thinking of increasing the dosage.