I’m going to guess that you’ve all heard of fillers (a.k.a. dermal fillers and soft tissue fillers) at least once before - after all, they’re popular treatments for when signs of ageing start to sneak in. But, if you’re thinking about having a dermal filler treatment, it’s important that you’re as clued-up as possible beforehand! So, here are all the As to the most frequently asked filler Qs.
Q. What are fillers?
Fillers are anti-ageing injections which contain a gel-like substance, most often hyaluronic acid, which can give the skin a rejuvenated look. When injected into the skin, dermal fillers quite literally ‘fill out’ lines and wrinkles, volumise hollow, sunken areas of the face and define and reshape facial features.
Q. Where can fillers be used?
Dermal fillers are used to treat static lines (which remain on the face even when it’s relaxed) and for facial contouring. Treatment areas include:
- Tear troughs (eye bags)
- Nose (liquid rhinoplasty)
- Marionette lines (which extend from the corners of the mouth down to the chin)
- Nasolabial folds (lines either side of the nose)
- Chin and jawline
- The backs of the hands
- The neck
Q. How do dermal fillers work?
When filler is injected into the skin, it smooths out fine lines and wrinkles and plumps out areas which have lost volume. Essentially, dermal fillers work in place of diminished fat, collagen and elastin.
Hyaluronic acid (the most common filler substance) makes a great injectable as it attracts and holds onto lots of water - this water then helps create the plumping effect underneath the skin.
Q. What are the benefits of fillers?
One of the biggest benefits of fillers is skin rejuvenation - lines and wrinkles can be filled out and the face can be sculpted with a little help from dermal fillers. There’s even a treatment called the liquid facelift which uses fillers to give the face a firmer, youthful look as an alternative to a surgical facelift.
Dermal filler injections can also be used to alter and define facial features like the nose, chin and jawline, as well as for treating acne scars.
Q. What are fillers made of?
The most common types of dermal fillers are made from hyaluronic acid, including the popular brands Juvéderm and Restylane. Hyaluronic acid is often favoured over other filler substances because it can be dissolved (with an enzyme called hyaluronidase) if anything goes wrong with the treatment or if the client doesn’t like the results.
Another plus of hyaluronic acid is that it's a naturally-occurring molecule found in the skin, which means it’s a safe material that’s well-received by the body.
Q. How long does filler treatment take?
The treatment time will depend on the area being injected and how much filler is needed. But, generally, dermal filler treatments are quick, taking less than 15 minutes. For more intensive filler treatments - like the liquid facelift - the procedure can take about 30 minutes to an hour.
If a numbing cream is used, you’ll have to wait roughly 20 minutes for it to kick in before the treatment begins.
Q. Are there any side effects of fillers?
The dermal filler side effects are pretty minimal and usually disappear soon after the treatment - they typically last a few days. They include things like swelling, redness and minor bleeding near the injection points. You might also experience some bruising, but applying an arnica cream to the area can help keep this at bay.
If any of these symptoms persist, contact your practitioner for advice.
Q. What’s the recovery time of fillers?
There’s no downtime following a filler treatment, so you’ll be able to resume your plans as usual. And any side effects you encounter should clear up within a few days of your treatment.
But, you might want to clear your calendar of important events until any signs of redness, swelling and bruising have disappeared.
Q. Are dermal fillers painful?
Your practitioner will likely apply a topical numbing cream to the target area to help reduce pain as much as possible. Lots of modern fillers also contain lidocaine, which will continue to numb the area with each injection.
Some areas of the face will be more sensitive than others - like the lips and nose - but, talk to your practitioner about pain management options if you’re concerned.
Q. Are dermal fillers safe?
Because there are lots of important arteries in areas of the face which are often treated with fillers, the treatment is medium-risk. But, the risks of dermal fillers are significantly lowered if you choose a medically qualified practitioner for the procedure who has the right training, lots of experience and the appropriate qualifications.
It’s also really important that you chat with your practitioner about your medical history, conditions you might have or any medications you’re taking beforehand to ensure nothing will impact the safety of the treatment.
Q. How can I prepare for fillers?
A week prior to your treatment, avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E and fish oil supplements as these may increase bleeding and bruising. However, if you are taking any prescribed medicines, including aspirin, do not stop taking them. Instead, chat with your practitioner or GP first.
Avoiding alcohol for at least one day before your treatment is also recommended.
Q. Is there anything I should avoid after fillers?
Try not to touch the treated areas immediately after your anti-ageing treatment as this can lead to infection or interfere with the placement of filler. Exercise, alcohol and heat should be avoided for the first couple of days after the treatment and you should wait 1-2 weeks before having any other aesthetic treatments.
Q. Who is not a suitable candidate for fillers?
You shouldn’t have a filler treatment if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in the filler, or if your skin is irritated or infected.
Your practitioner will be able to give you further guidance on this.
Q. How long do dermal fillers last?
When hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers are used, results typically last for 6-18 months. But, their exact longevity will vary from person to person as it depends on how quickly each individual metabolises the filler.
For non-hyaluronic acid fillers, results can last for years.
And there are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about fillers. For more info, check out our dermal filler treatment guide and browse our 8 considerations before getting dermal fillers to make sure you're super prepared!
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