FDA approves dermal fillers for hands so you can have ageless mitts

Youth is evermore in our grasp — almost literally.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved Restylane Lyft, a hyaluronic acid filler traditionally used in the face for use in hands. Another filler, Radiesse, which is made from calcium hydroxylapatite, has also been approved for both hands and face.

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For the uninitiated, hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite injections are used to fill in wrinkles and sculpt the contours of the face, resulting in a more youthful appearance. The former is a natural substance found in the body, while the latter is biosynthetically produced and doesn’t use animal products, thus reducing the risk of an allergic reaction.

“Hand rejuvenation is one of those things that people do because they’re already improving their face and they want to keep the full picture of youthfulness, which includes hands,” says Dr. Ben Barankin, dermatologist and medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre. “If you look at a person’s face and think they’re ageing nicely, but then look at their hands, it can throw it off.”

Like the rest of our bodies, the backs of our hands can betray our age when they lose volume and get thin-skinned, showing more bones, tendons and veins. Sun and liver spots are also a clear indicator of the passage of time, which dermatologists can also address with topical creams and laser treatments.

A before and after shot using Radiesse dermal filler.

A before and after shot using Radiesse dermal filler.

Instagram/Vitalize Medical Spa

Barankin says that although the FDA approval is nice, the fact is that dermatologists have been using hyaluronic acid fillers and Radiesse, in particular, on hands for nearly a decade. And it’s not a big deal.

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“Getting formal approval from the FDA means you have to submit enough data to show that the both works and is safe, and that’s a major submission that requires millions of dollars, hiring lawyers and takes a lot of time and effort.”

But that’s not to say that doctors use these products off-label willy-nilly. They’re already aware that they’re safe to use and where they can use them, and in fact, they don’t actually require FDA (or Health Canada) approval. This recent stamp really only serves to give the product marketing credibility, he says.

To achieve the hands of your youth, a dermatologist would inject the product in three different areas and then spread or mould it around the back of the hand, avoiding the fingers. The aim is to cover the veins, tendons and bones so that there’s more fullness to mask the age-revealing features.

The pain factor isn’t as high as some other injectable treatments (like lip fillers, for example), although it also depends on which product is being used.

“In general, Radiesse is a little more painful than the others because it doesn’t traditionally come with anaesthetic built in. It’s also a thicker product that has to be injected with more pressure, which can make it sting a bit more,” Barankin says.

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There isn’t a lot of downtime associated with the treatment, and aside from some possible swelling for two to three days, and some possible bruising, it’s fairly low-key as aesthetic procedures go. The results can last for up to a year.

“A common scenario is patients who come in requesting the treatment just before their child’s wedding, a special anniversary with their spouse, or a high school reunion,” he says.

“But it’s not a big part of the marketplace. The face is priority number one, then comes the neck and finally the hands. Most people get it done only if they find they have a little bit of money left over after doing their face.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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