Dr Lena Fan – Profhilo®: Revolutionary injectable or pretender to the throne?
Ah, Profhilo®, hailed as the next big thing in aesthetic medicine in an otherwise dull 2020 with few aesthetic innovations.
Some doctors and patients expressed scepticism regarding its efficacy and price efficiency when compared to other injectables, with Profhilo® being a lacklustre stand-in for traditional HA injectables.
Was Profhilo® really overhyped in a year where there were few other exciting treatments to look forward to?
I have to humbly disagree. It is my opinion that Profhilo® is a uniquely different product that has gained a foothold in today’s pantheon of aesthetic treatments. Let me explain why.
First, what is Profhilo®?
Profhilo® is an injectable anti-aging treatment using 100% hyaluronic acid (HA) that intensely hydrates and bio-remodels skin. It stimulates the natural production of elastin, 4 types of collagen, as well as encourages the renewal of fat stem cells to achieve youthful-looking skin naturally. I term Profhilo® a lifting skinbooster, as it both tightens and hydrates skin to an extent seldom achieved with other skinbooster treatments. In addition, Profhilo® is also free from chemical cross-linking compounds and does not contain BDDE, which is widely used to stabilise HA chains and give it a thicker consistency.
Prior to the advent of Profhilo®, HA injectables were mainly used either for skin hydration (skinboosters) or voluminization and facial contouring (dermal fillers) purposes. Profhilo® is made up of a HA hybrid cooperative complex consisting of both low molecular weight HA (L-HA) and high molecular weight HA (H-HA). In Profhilo, L-HA hydrates the skin and retains moisture, while H-HA gives an overall volumizing and tightening effect by establishing a stable scaffold in the dermis. Its hydrating and lifting effects are prolonged as the HA hybrid complex allows for slower and more sustained release of HA ingredients (1). What results next is a natural skin bio-remodelling and an improvement in skin quality lasting up to 6 months.
Produced and patented with NAHYCO® Hybrid Technology, Profhilo® employs thermal cross-linking to bind and stabilise its HA hybrid complexes without the use of chemical crosslinking agents. Profhilo®’s use of pure grade HA minimizes the risk of inflammation in the skin which makes it highly biocompatible, boosting its safety profile and lowering the risk of side effects.
Profhilo® has also been proven to be effective in bio-revitalization as seen in multiple studies, which demonstrated statistically significant improvement in wrinkle severity as well as skin hydration in 70% of patients from an older demographic group (2).
So what benefits does Profhilo® have over existing injectables?
- Highest concentration of HA on the market
With the highest concentration of HA on the market at 64mg/2ml, Profhilo® delivers a deep hydrating effect through all 3 main layers of the skin, something unmatched by other forms of skinboosters.
- Fewer injection points and shorter downtime
Using BAP (Bio Aesthetic Points) Technique developed for the face and neck, Profhilo® is injected into just a few treatment points per side of the face, compared to an upwards of 15 points used in a conventional skinbooster treatment. BAPs are carefully chosen injection points that do not contain major blood vessels and nerves and are areas where Profhilo® spreads easily. There are very few reports of noticeable bruising or soreness when Profhilo® is correctly administered with BAPs, as they reduce the risk of discomfort, bleeding, and downtime, while allowing for optimal diffusion of HA across the face.
- High spreadability and better safety profile
By replacing BDDE chemical cross-links with thermal cross-links, Profhilo® is highly spreadable and disperses quickly across the face with a few injection points. Being completely free of chemical additives, Profhilo® has a very low risk of inflammation and a better safety profile compared to conventional HA dermal fillers. You are unlikely to experience side effects such as lump formation, which may happen with a cross-linked filler if not done properly. While patients report having raised bumps at the injection sites after treatment, they are temporary and usually subside within 24 hours.
- Increases collagen, elastin, and adipocytes
Collagen, elastin, and subcutaneous fat levels decrease naturally with the aging process, evidenced by the development of wrinkles, sagging, and a loss of elasticity in the skin. Profhilo® restores skin integrity by stimulating the natural production of 4 types of collagen and elastin and encouraging adipocyte (fat stem cell) proliferation, subtly adding volume to smoothen fine wrinkles and give a gradual lift to sagging or lax skin.
With all its benefits, should I go for Profhilo instead of Rejuran Healer?
Rejuran is another highly popular injectable treatment containing polynucleotides(PN) that also stimulates collagen production and improves hydration. You can read more about Rejuran in this article, Rejuran Healer Makes Anti-Aging 50% Cheaper, by my colleague, Dr Chua. Despite having some overlap in effects, Profhilo® and Rejuran do not work via the same mechanism of action, hence they are suited for different skin conditions even though they both boast of hydrating and collagen-stimulating properties. Therefore, choose which treatment to undergo based on what your skin needs.
Polynucleotides in Rejuran act as building blocks of DNA, and are excellent for skin repair, anti-inflammation, and tissue healing. Rejuran is able to increase the thickness of skin and its collagen and is more suited for individuals struggling with red and sensitive skin, acne scarring, as well as enlarged pores. Conversely, Profhilo®’s bio-remodelling qualities stimulate 4 types of collagen and elastin production, giving saggy skin a tightening effect, while its HA hybrid complexes that are delivered straight to skin tissue gives deep hydration. In short, I would generally choose Profhilo® for dehydrated and aging skin, and Rejuran for skin that is sensitive or has acne scars.
Of course, I recommend that a consultation be done in order to accurately map out the needs of any individual before treatment is recommended.
Why I favour Profhilo®, and my personalized approach to using it
Profhilo® treatments are ideal for all individuals wanting to reverse mild to moderate signs of skin aging such as fine wrinkles and lax skin. In younger patients who want firmer and more elastic skin, Profhilo offers deep hydration and will greatly improve overall skin quality and prevent skin laxity. With rigorous testing, Profhilo® has been proven to be safe and replicable across both genders and different skin types(3).
It is important to note that Profhilo® is not meant to change or augment facial contours, unlike many HA dermal fillers which are of thicker consistency. Individuals looking for a more dramatic result may consider combining the treatment with thread lifts, dermal fillers, or even surgical facelifts. With its runnier consistency, Profhilo® spreads out evenly across the face, softens lines and gives a gentle tightening effect.
Profhilo® has the added benefit of being compatible for use over different parts of the body- areas not conventionally treated with other injectables. Profhilo® can be used in patients who suffer from skin laxity in their neck, hands, abdomen, kneecap and even décolletage areas.
In conclusion, Profhilo® is a quick, fuss-free and safe treatment, with minimal or no downtime owing to the BAP technique, and is certainly a valuable add-on to other injectable treatments available today with its skin bio-remodelling qualities.
Do you have a question for me?
(1) Agolli, Enis & Diffidenti, Bianca & Zitti, Novella & Massidda, Enrico & Patella, Francesco & Santerini, Chiara & Beatini, Annalisa & Bianchini, Michele & Bizzarri, Stefania & Camilleri, Valentina & Gallodoro, Antonella & Granata, Nicoletta & Laspina, Sebastian & Liberti, Alberto & Lizio, Giovanni & Malgioglio, Anna & Muratov, Aliona & Ottavian, Doariano & Otti, Maurizio & Bellia, Gilberto. (2018). Hybrid cooperative complexes of high and low molecular weight hyaluronans (Profhilo®®): review of the literature and presentation of the Vision HA project. 20. 5-14. 10.23736/S1128-9155.18.00470-3.
(2) Adele Sparavigna, Beatrice Tenconi. Efficacy and tolerance of an injectable medical device containing stable hybrid cooperative complexes of high- and low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid: a monocentric 16 weeks open-label evaluation. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016; 9: 297–305.
(3) Laurino, Carmen & Palmieri, Beniamino & Coacci, Alessandro. (2015). Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerance of a New Injection Technique for High- and Low-Molecular-Weight Hyaluronic Acid Hybrid Complexes. Eplasty. 15. e46.