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Ready to Start Fresh? When to Dissolve Your Fillers

Once upon a time, we thought that dermal fillers completely broke down in about 6-12 months. So every 6-12 months, people booked back in for their filler "top up".

We now know that dermal fillers can remain in place for many years. So the cumulative effect of these regular filler treatments, was a slowly, but surely changing face. In some cases, to the point the person looked over-filled and slightly odd.

In these cases, a filler reset is needed.

Lucy Foster, founder of Aesthetics Nurse Lucy, covers some of the frequently asked questions about dissolving fillers.

How do I know if my filler needs dissolving?

There are several reasons why dissolving dermal filler might be the sensible treatment path for you.

The most important use of hyaluronidase injections (the component responsible for dissolving hyaluronic acid) in facial aesthetics, is for urgent situations, in the instance of a blocked or compressed blood vessel - a rare complication of dermal filler. However, it seems in recent months, more celebs are publicising their decisions to electively dissolve their facial fillers, so let’s talk about this in more detail.

Thankfully - for the most part - dermal fillers are made up of hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally produced in the body, which can be dissolved. There are several reasons why patients seek elective dissolving, or practitioners advise the dissolving of dermal fillers:

  • To reverse poor treatment outcomes, think overfilled lips, and incorrect placement of filler
  • To treat filler migration (when the product moves or spreads to other areas)
  • To remove small pockets of isolated filler
  • In the instance of postprocedural complications such as Inflammation, infection, viral reaction, or a hypersensitivity reaction
  • Or perhaps you’re just ready to embrace the ‘au naturel’ look and/or start afresh

Why can't I just have more filler?

If you’ve been advised by a medical practitioner to dissolve your filler, there’s probably a very good reason for it. If you’re experiencing any of the above complications, adding more filler will not only exacerbate existing problems, but it could also lead to more serious complications and impact not only your physical appearance, but your self-esteem. Many practitioners only want the very best for their patients and should guide you through your options in a face-to-face consultation. Having all the necessary information is vital to ensure you make a self-informed decision.

What is used to dissolve filler?

A prescription only medication (POM) powder solution called Hyaluronidase is used to dissolve hyaluronic acid dermal filler. A soluble protein enzyme, when mixed with saline, hyaluronidase becomes a liquid solution that works by breaking up the bonds that hold the hyaluronic acid molecules together and encourages the body to reabsorb those molecules in a natural process. It is important that patients understand that this is a prescription only medicine and should only be used by a trained and competent healthcare practitioner, as with any aesthetic treatment, it does come with potential risks and side effects.

What happens during and after filler dissolving?

Your practitioner may employ a combination approach using both a needle and cannula (blunt device) to inject the hyaluronidase solution into the correct layers of the face. You might also feel your practitioner massage rather vigorously the areas they have injected. This helps aid mechanical breakdown and optimise results. Moderate swelling and sensitivity to the area is expected during and immediately after treatment, so you won’t see the results straight away. It takes about 24-48 hours (or longer in some cases) for the swelling to go down. You can check out the Glowday Filler Dissolving Guide here.

Here's a clip summarising the procedure and results.

How long does filler dissolve take?

This ultimately depends on the area(s) being dissolved, but it is a relatively quick treatment. Due to the small risk of a serious allergic reaction to hyaluronidase, an intradermal test should be carried out at least 30 minutes before dissolving injections to the face take place. I advise my patients to set aside one hour from start to finish, this includes time for an in-depth consultation, application of numbing cream, a skin patch test, and the treatment itself. Hyaluronidase continues to dissolve the hyaluronic acid over the coming hours, and the entire process takes anywhere from 1-3 days.

How much does filler dissolve hurt?

Contrary to popular belief, dissolving filler is not a painful experience. Albeit, most patients will feel some level of discomfort, particularly when dissolving the lips, due to the number of sensitive nerve endings in the area. Many patients that visit me in clinic for filler dissolving are pleasantly surprised at how bearable the treatment is. Applying a strong topical numbing cream to the skin for at least 30 minutes prior to any injections, using very small needles and employing a slow, careful technique are all ways practitioners can help alleviate discomfort.

Do I really need to wait to have more filler after I’ve had filler dissolved?

In short, yes.

There are several scientific studies that show Hyaluronidase can continue to breakdown hyaluronic acid for at least 24-48 hours after initial injection, so if you were to go ahead with more filler to the area immediately after dissolving, it would be a complete waste of your time and money, as there is a very high chance it’ll be dissolved in the process. It is recommended to wait at least two weeks between dissolving and adding more filler, as this gives the tissues time to recover and for any bruising and swelling to settle.

Will it dissolve my own face!?

Hyaluronidase can break down natural hyaluronic acid produced by the body at the same time as dissolving the hyaluronic acid dermal filler product. However, this is temporary as your body reproduces new hyaluronic acid every 24-48 hours, so there is no long-standing effect on your own naturally occurring hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronidase does not destroy other natural tissue such as collagen, so it is not going to destroy the skin or cause significant, long-term tissue damage.

Is there anything else I can do to make the filler dissolve faster?

While the body does break down hyaluronic acid dermal fillers naturally, without the use of hyaluronidase injections to speed up the process, areas of migration and filler lumps can be stubborn and may take years to dissolve by themselves. In some cases, your practitioner may advise you to apply a warm compress and employ a gentle massage technique to help break down the filler gradually, but always check in with your practitioner first.

If you're looking for a pro to reset your fillers, search "filler dissolving" in your area on

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