We’ve all read the headlines and seen the pictures. With such negativity around dermal fillers, it seems like it should be a no-go treatment, right?
Wrong! Fillers, when done properly by a medically qualified, experienced practitioner, are considered a safe treatment. With high client satisfaction and very few risks, fillers are not going anywhere!
However, as with all non-surgical treatments, it’s important to know what the potential risks and side effects are.
Too much filler, too soon
Some clients are concerned about “over-fill”, “trout pout” or “pillow face”, which is when too much filler is injected into the lips or face causing the areas to swell to the point of bursting. These horror stories have been widely reported in the media and the one common thread between cases is that the treatment was carried out by unqualified beauty therapists or, even worse, self-injected at home.
Rome wasn't built in a day, neither are natural-looking, plump, hydrated lips! If you have thin, small lips to begin with, 3ml of filler in one sitting will look and feel uncomfortable. The best approach is one of little and often. 0.5ml - 1ml administered initially. Then again 4-6 weeks later, and so on, until you have achieved the look you want.
Not all fillers are created equal
The most popular fillers used in the UK contain hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the skin. Hyaluronic acid fillers are a gel-like substance that creates volume in the skin to give a hydrated, plump look.
Such fillers commonly used include brands such as Juvéderm®, Belotero®, and Restylane®. These fillers are metabolised by the body, so their effects last between 6 and 18 months. They can also be dissolved, quickly, but only using a prescription-only product. Hyaluronic acid fillers are the filler of choice for most aesthetic practitioners.
Rarely do clients report serious side effects with these fillers, but you will likely experience redness, swelling and bruising at the injection site for a number of days post-treatment.
What other types of dermal filler exist?
Some fillers are made from substances not found naturally in the body. These include products such as Radiesse® and Sculptra®, which, again, can result in redness and bruising at the injection site. They tend to last much longer than hyaluronic acid fillers, but they cannot be dissolved, so if you don’t like the effect, removing them is more difficult.
Finally, you may have heard of collagen fillers. These aren’t widely used at all anymore, primarily due to the fact that most were derived from cow collagen, and often produce allergic reactions.
One other thing...Make sure your practitioner is using CE or FDA-approved products. Ask to see the packaging and product. There are lots of imitations on the market and you DO NOT want these in your face!
Pay for the skill, not the ml
Prior to any filler treatment, you should have a face-to-face consultation with a medically qualified, appropriately trained and registered practitioner who is able to safely carry out the procedure. She or he will advise you on the amount of filler required and will usually recommend starting with small doses first.
I know we keep banging on about it, but please choose a medically qualified practitioner! They will know exactly where to inject to ensure safety, and, should anything unexpected occur, they will be able to quickly resolve any complications.
So, what’s the take-home message about fillers?
Well, fillers are an incredible tool to pause Old Father Time and his impact on facial volume loss. They are also amazing for sorting out crooked noses and thin lips - BUT only when administered by medically qualified, highly experienced, aesthetic professionals.
Not only will they take their time in a consultation to explain the whole treatment plan and the associated risks, but they will be more than able to deal with any potential complications, swiftly and easily. And, they will use the best products available and administer them in a gentle and subtle way.