Restylane is a clear gel-like cosmetic filler used to smooth and plump up lines and creases in the face. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Restylane is popular with both doctors and patients because it has advantages such as being long-lasting but not permanent, cost effective, does not require an allergy test, can be used in individuals of all skin types and has minimal side effects. Swelling can occur in the area of the injection, though this is temporary.
Restylane is composed of a clear gel substance called hyaluronic acid that is a natural material produced by bacteria and not from animal sources. Restylane is made from a type of hyaluronic acid called NASHA, which is compatible with human hyaluronic acid molecules, which already exist in the body. After it is injected into the dermis (the middle layer of skin), the hyaluronic acid binds with water and fills up the area, propping the skin up to smooth the line or crease.
According to Dr. Francis Palmer, a cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, Restylane is an effective cosmetic enhancer to fill lines and creases in the face from the inside out. Areas that Restylane can be used in include the nasolabial folds (the creases that run from the corners of the nose to the edges of the mouth), the Marionette lines (folds that pull down the corners of the mouth), facial depressions and pitted scars, jowls (folds from the mouth to the chin), the vermillion (outer) border of the lip and to plump up the lips. Restylane has a firmer consistency than other fillers making it suitable for areas such as the lips and deep lines that require more support.
Restylane contains hyaluronic acid that is biologically compatible to the natural hyaluronic acid in the body. For this reason, Dr. Palmer advises that there is limited risk of an allergic reaction and pre-testing for allergies is not required. However, patients must still inform their doctor of any existing illnesses and medications they are taking. Medications and supplements that can thin the blood such as aspirin, St. John's Wort, Ginkgo Biloba, and high doses of vitamin E should be avoided as they can increase bruising, swelling and bleeding at injections sites.
According to the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Restylane can last for up to six months before the body absorbs it. However, the duration of Restylane and other cosmetic fillers varies from person to person, due to different rates of absorption. The actual injection takes approximately 30 minutes.
Restylane injections can cause temporary bruising, redness and swelling in the area of the injection that usually subsides in three to four days. This is most noticeable when the lips are injected. In some patients swelling can last for up to seven days. Dr. Palmer recommends ice therapy to decrease swelling and redness.