A recent study has found that it may be possible to slow the aging process of skin down by injection with dermal fillers. The process boosts the support of the structures that hold up the skin.
Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Medicine have found that the supporting structures or scaffolding of the skin becomes fragmented with age. Fibroblasts (cells in the body that among other things make collagen) produce less collagen with age and shrink. The decrease in collagen causes the supporting structures of the skin to fragment, decreasing the skin support leading to an aged appearance.
Researchers found that injecting the space under the skin with a filler can increase the natural structural strength and support of the skin (extracellular matrix) even after the filler is reabsorbed.
Investigators injected a dermal filler into the facial skin of 21 volunteers over age 70 during a three month period. The results showed that the filler stimulated fibroblasts to begin producing more collagen and boosted the support structure of the skin (extracellular matrix). This not only increased skin support but also seemed to cause an increase in the number of fibroblasts and increase skin thickness. The entire layer of skin grew thicker with more blood vessels to nourished the cells.
“By altering the matrix using an external filler and increasing the internal pressure, we’ve shown that we can essentially trigger a signal for cells to wake up,” a researcher said. “This shows that skin cells in elderly people have the capacity to respond robustly in a very positive way to alterations in the mechanical property of their environment. We still need to know more about how cells sense their environment, but in general it appears we have made a real difference in the structural integrity of skin.”
The findings were published in the October issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.