You may have heard of Ellanse – popularly known as 少女针, a new anti-aging treatment which is becoming more and more sought after. It is an injectable filler, but with significant differences from other fillers. In my practice, I get asked all the time about how it differs from other filler treatments like Sculptra, Radiesse and hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane. All of them are excellent treatments, and the best choice will depend on your needs. I will explain as much as I can about Ellansé so that you can decide if it is suitable for you.
What Is Ellansé and How Does It Work?
Ellansé is a non-hyaluronic acid filler. It is injected into the skin to lift, sculpt and restore lost volume associated with skin aging. Its principle component is Poly-Caprolactone (PCL) microspheres – a bio-resorbable soft medical polymer. The PCL is suspended in a gel carrier made of carboxymethylcellulose (CMC).
When injected into the skin, Ellansé reverses skin aging with a 2-step process:
- The CMC gel gives immediate lifting and sculpting results. However, the gel only lasts for about 12 weeks.
- At the same time, the PCL microspheres begin to stimulate your skin to produce collagen. The collagen stimulation peaks at 12 weeks to give the final result.
Unlike hyaluronic acid fillers, which lifts because of its properties as a gel, Ellanse works by stimulating your body to produce collagen. The results last 2 – 4years.
Why Does Ellansé Last Much Longer Than Other Dermal Fillers?
Ellansé is made of microspheres that degrade differently from other fillers. When Ellansé is introduced into your body, it undergoes a “resorption” process whereby the molecules progressively dissolve. The microspheres retain their original volume until almost all the molecules are dissolved.
The longevity is dependent on the number of molecules composing the spheres. The more molecules there are, the longer lasting the result will be.
Which Areas Can Be Treated?
Ellansé is surprisingly versatile. It is hard enough to sculpt facial features such as the chin and nose, yet moldable enough to restore volume to the forehead. In my practice, I love using Ellansé for the chin because it is so defined, and also for the forehead due to its natural, long lasting results.
Ellansé can be used to treat most areas which hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers can treat, including the:
- Temples and Brow area
- Nasolabial Folds
- Lower Face, Marionette lines
Ellansé vs Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
In my opinion, both Ellansé and HA fillers such as Restylane give excellent results..
Advantages of Ellansé over HA fillers:
- Ellansé is longer lasting than most HA fillers
- Ellansé is more cost effective in the long term
- Ellansé does not cause delayed hypersensitivity reactions (formation of a granuloma – or hardened lump), which, although rare, can happen with HA fillers
- Because Ellansé works by your own collagen production, it does not migrate. (HA fillers can migrate, in rare instances)
- Ellansé maintains its volume better over time.
- Ellansé gives a better aesthetic result for the nose, chin, and forehead
Advantages of HA fillers over Ellansé include:
- There is an antidote to HA fillers – they can be dissolved should a problem arise. Hence, both minor (lumpiness) and major complications (e.g. necrosis) can be treated more easily.
- HA fillers give a more dewy look to the skin. Hence they are also used as Skinboosters to improve skin texture.
- HA fillers are better for fine tuning very delicate areas such as the undereye area.
- HA fillers are cheaper upfront.
- Should you suddenly decide to go for surgery (e.g nose implant), HA fillers can be dissolved. Ellansé cannot be dissolved and you will have to wait until it resorbs in a few years.
Ellansé vs Sculptra and Radiesse
Ellansé, Radiesse and Sculptra have many similarities, and some important differences.
In many ways, Ellansé and Radiesse (also an excellent product) are very similar. Ellansé, however, lasts longer, and gives more skin texture improvement due to more collagen stimulation.
Sculptra is also a collagen simulator like Ellansé, but works very differently. It is a liquid, rather than gel, when injected – so you do not see immediate results, but have to wait a month before it starts to work. You also need 3 sessions for optimal results. Another big difference is in post-treatment care: you need to massage your face after Sculptra treatment, for 5 minutes, 5 times a day, for 5 days, to ensure that the product is evenly distributed. Failure to do this can result in lumpiness.
I do not use Sculptra on the undereye and forehead area, and only perform it for patients who can be sure that they remember to perform the post-treatment massage, to minimize any lumpiness. For people with large volume deficiencies, such as HIV lipodystrophy – Sculptra is perfect because it is more cost effective.
Does Ellansé Have Any Possible Side Effects?
Ellansé is very safe, and most side effects are injection related – mild swelling, bruising and soreness. These are temporary and will resolve with no issues.
Severe side effects of Ellansé are similar to other injectable fillers – necrosis (death of skin) and blindness. These are extremely rare, and can be minimized with good doctor technique.
Because Ellansé is non-dissolvable, any overfilling cannot easily be removed – hence, it is even more important to find a doctor with ample experience, and whom you trust, to have the procedure done for you.
How Do I Know If I Suitable For Ellansé?
As you can see, Ellansé is different from other fillers in many ways. Deciding on the filler which is best for you depends on several factors, detailed above, which you will need to discuss with your doctor in depth.
Ellansé is also more expensive upfront, but in the long term, you will enjoy cost savings due to its longevity.
Together with other hyaluronic acid fillers like Restylane, and other semi-permanent ones like Radiesse and Sculptra, Ellansé now allows doctors to be equipped with a large variety of injectable fillers- to sculpt, lift and restore volume to aging faces in ways which were not possible just 5 years ago, without the need for any invasive surgical procedures.
The outcome of your treatment will depend on several factors, including your doctor’s experience, his/her aesthetic appreciation, your skin texture, your commitment level, and of course, budget. With all these in find, I can recommend the most suitable filler, and give the best outcomes, in my practice.
Watch the procedure being performed here.
I am not sponsored by Sinclair/ Parvus (Ellansé’s distributor) in the writing of this article. The opinions expressed here are my own. It does not replace consultation with your doctor.