A Deep Dive into the World of Dermal Fillers
Everything you could ever want to know about the non-surgical way to alter your appearance and enhance your look.
From someone else’s view, we could quite easily have the most perfectly structured face, the cutest nose, the smoothest eyes and the most plump lips.However, as perfect as we may look to someone else, there’s always that one part of our face that will bother us for most of our adult life, that we would love to either enhance or correct. Unfortunately, it’s easy to pick our appearance apart, especially living in such a looks-driven society. We all have insecurities or things we’d like to change about the way we look. What you’ll often find is that most of the people you’ll meet have at least one insecurity which may be completely indistinguishable to you, yet extremely noticeable and troubling to them. What’s more, is that when these flaws or imperfections are on your face, they seem to feel magnified. Luckily, with the growing advancement in technology, there are many things that can be done to fix the flaws you just can’t seem to get past. One of those things is the use of dermal fillers to correct or alter your appearance.
Here you’ll find the answers to every question you could possibly think of when it comes to fillers.
First of all, what are dermal fillers?
Dermal fillers are substances which are injected into the face, usually deriving from hyaluronic acid, which is a water-binding sugar that is naturally produced in the skin.
Now that we’ve got a grasp on what they are, let’s talk about what they’re used for and what the benefits are. Fillers can be used to essentially “fill in” areas of the face which may be lacking some suppleness. They can also be used to smooth out any fine lines, wrinkles, indents in the face etc. Fillers can also be used to contour the face to your desired end result, fix under eye bags and make your lips bigger or more symmetrical. They can be used to enhance your natural beauty or to make a bolder and dramatic statement like so many people opt for, with lip fillers especially.
You may be wondering what exactly lip fillers are made of, well… In the UK they are usually made of hyaluronic acid, as I already mentioned, as well as containing a local anaesthetic. The hyaluronic acid helps to keep hold of water and support collagen and elastin fibres while the anaesthetic reduces pain from the injection.
Although we know that fillers are very popular now, do you ever wonder when they first became a thing? The 1970’s is when dermal fillers were first used, yet these were collagen fillers and the collagen was obtained from animals such as cows. In later years, human collagen was used. The advancement of dermal fillers has been extensive; in the early 2000’s, hyaluronic acid fillers were first developed. It’s lucky they were, because this substance is naturally produced within the human body which means it’s much less likely to cause any kind of unpleasant allergic reaction (which were all too common when it came to animal collagen fillers). Another benefit to these more advanced fillers is the fact that they are naturally absorbed by the body over time which means they aren’t permanent. This means that you can try them out and see if you like them, you can top them up if you do like the look, or you can get them completely removed if you hate it.
I’m about to get into some of the weirder questions which may be on your mind. Have you ever wondered what colour fillers are? Well, they’re transparent. You know, just in case you were wondering. Also, if you’ve ever wondered whether fillers melt in hot weather, they do not. The weather has no impact on your dermal fillers whatsoever. In terms of answering whether fillers are vegetarian or vegan, however, is a tricky question because although hyaluronic acid may be vegan, you should still ask your practitioner about the exact brand they use just to make sure. Another thing to note is that while they may be vegan, they aren’t going to be cruelty free because all fillers must be tested on animals, according to the law. If you’re wondering whether fillers are kosher, then yes, technically speaking they are kosher because they aren’t for consumption. However, seeing as some fillers may contain animal extracts, you may want to pick one that is plant based or chemically synthesised.
In terms of brands of fillers that are available to choose from, there are many different brands which all contain a slightly varied mix of ingredients, all designed to achieve specific results. Some popular brands include: Juvederm, Revolax, Restylane, Belotero, Teosyal and Emervel. Brands you can trust won’t be available for sale to the general public and will only be sold to licensed practitioners and specialist clinics.
When we think of smoothing out wrinkles, we may not necessarily jump to fillers as a solution. People tend to closely associate fillers with lips because lip filler is the most popular dermal filler procedure. When it comes to reducing the appearance of wrinkles or fine lines, our minds may jump to botox. So, what exactly is the difference between fillers and botox? Well, botox is used to reduce muscle activity in the face as some wrinkles are caused by muscle movement; a good example of this is worry lines on the forehead, or crow’s feet. Fillers on the other hand, can be used to get rid of wrinkles which aren’t caused by muscle movement. They can be used for so many other things, such as contouring the face and adding volume to more mature skin, to name a few. Botox and fillers are often used together to achieve your desired look, although it really does depend on what you’re going for.
Now that we’ve had a good look at what fillers are, let’s take a deeper dive into the actual procedures and how they work. So, first things first, you should always have an initial consultation with the practitioner who will be performing the procedure. If the clinic of your choice is a good one, they will offer a free consultation so you can get to know each other, discuss your goals and have any questions answered. If you’re a little bit lost for words and don’t know where to start, here’s a guide on the types of questions you should be asking before you go ahead with any dermal filler procedure:
- Ask your practitioner about their qualifications and level of experience in performing procedures of this nature. Make sure that they are an accredited medical professional.
- Ask what brand of filler they plan on using and ensure that it isn’t a brand that’s widely available for sale to the general public. Also, make sure that the product has all the appropriate branding on the packaging. After all, you have to remember, this is going to be injected into your face and you have every right to know exactly what it is.
- Ask how many treatments your practitioner thinks you may need in order to achieve your desired result.
- Ask how much you should expect to pay for these procedures.
- Ask your practitioner what steps they will take in order to minimise pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- Ask about any potential risks or side-effects you may experience from the treatment. Then ask what the protocol would be if you were to have a rare allergic reaction.
- Ask if they plan on scheduling a follow up appointment after the procedure.
- Ask your practitioner what they plan to do if you’re unhappy with the results.
- Ask what aftercare is recommended for your particular procedure and ask about any activities you should avoid following the procedure.
The way in which your practitioner answers all of these questions (and any others you may have) should give you a sense of whether you feel safe in proceeding with that particular practitioner, or if you need to go elsewhere. The practitioner should make you feel at ease, calmly answering every question you have, no matter how silly they may seem. If at any point you feel doubtful or skeptical about the safety of the treatment or the practitioners’ skills, you should not proceed with the procedure.
However, you won’t be the only one asking questions, your practitioner should also have a list of things to ask you. So, what should you expect to be asked in the consultation? Firstly, your practitioner should ask for details of any medication you may be taking and your medical history in general. They should then ask you what exactly you’re looking to achieve and why you have decided you want fillers, to make sure that you’re making the right choice for you. Yet if they believe that fillers aren’t right for you they should tell you this upfront, explain why and possibly discuss alternative treatments with you which they feel would be more appropriate.
When it comes to getting fillers, people tend to have an endless stream of questions, and rightly so. Fillers are a daunting procedure when you’re uninformed and unsure. So, get ready for some more question and answer time.
Q: How much filler do I need?
A.The amount will vary from as little as 0.5ml, yet this will depend on the area that’s being treated, the product being injected and the desired effect, as well as many other factors such as skin type etc. This wilall be explained to you by your medical practitioner when they assess you.
“One tip to consider when choosing a clinic is to opt for a place that is results driven rather than quantity driven. Clinics advertising prices per ml are are quite clearly indicating that you are paying for quantity and not results. This is extremely important to understand as 1ml of filler can be more than enough for one person, however not hardly enough for another as our facial structures, skin types and depth is completely different.”
Q. How much do fillers typically cost?
A. You can expect to pay from around £300 for a dermal filler procedure. However, yet again, this will vary on how much is needed, the area being treated and the desired effect. Lip fillers are usually the least expensive of procedures usually ranging from £149.00 upwards. If you find it cheaper than this, its important to consider the credibility of the practitioner and the filler used.
Q. How long should a filler procedure take?
A. This will depend upon all the previously mentioned factors, however, typically this will take around 30 minutes to an hour, which can include the consultation before your treatment.
Q. Will I see results straight away?
A. Yes. Effects of fillers are visible immediately following the treatment; however, you will need to wait a few days to see the real effects as you may have to wait for any slight swelling to subside.
Q. Could I get fillers and botox done at the same time?
A. Botox and fillers can actually work very well in combination as they can create a rejuvenated and overall youthful look. It’s perfectly safe for most people to have these two procedures done together and there’s no medical reason why they can’t. Although your practitioner should advise you on what is best for you and that may not be botox in your case. It’s all down to each individual and should be tailor fit to suit you and your needs and goals. Your practitioner may, for example, advise you to try botox first and see the results before deciding if filler is needed. This would ensure that the botox were only used to get rid of wrinkles which the filler had not yet treated.
Q. Can I get fillers done at the same time as other procedures?
A. This is dependent upon the individual, yet the simple answer to this is that yes, you could have other procedures done on the same day as fillers. You could have laser hair removal, botox and then fillers, for example. Usually you will have the filler treatment done last as this will ensure that the movements or frequencies from other treatments do not interfere or disrupt your fillers settling.
Q. Do fillers hurt?
A. This will depend on your pain threshold as well as the area being treated. For example, our lips are very sensitive so you may find it more painful to get your lips done than another part of your face. However, most filler injections contain anaesthetic and if the clinic you’re visiting is a good one, the practitioner will also apply numbing cream to any area being treated.
Q. Will I feel sore after the procedure?
A. The treated area may feel a little bit tender but any swelling or sensitivity should settle within about a week.
Q. Will the filler treatment cause bruising?
A. Minimal bruising or swelling is possible, although your practitioner should take precautions in order to minimise the possibility of bruising. Some things they could do are using a cannula, which is a very thin plastic tube, to administer the filler instead of a traditional syringe or using a local anaethetic for lip fillers. Any swelling should go down within 24 hours and bruising should not last more than ten days.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. As we talked about before, minimal swelling, bruising, redness and soreness are all perfectly normal side effects. If you are still experiencing any of these after ten days, you should definitely contact your practitioner for advice on how to proceed.
Q. Will I feel unwell/ill after the procedure?
A. You really shouldn’t be feeling ill after a filler procedure. You could feel a little sore and tender in the treated areas, which is normal. However, if you begin to feel ill/unwell and especially if you develop a fever, you should contact your practitioner and possibly your GP for advice.
Q. What are the precautions I should take following the procedure?
A. There’s quite a hefty list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to this. Remember, if your practitioner is a good one, they will explain all of these to you and make sure you’re completely knowledgeable on this. Fillers can cause swelling, especially lip fillers, so you may find that an ice pack may reduce swelling and/or any pain you may be experiencing. In terms of wearing make-up after your procedure, if you want to apply it directly after treatment, you can do so, yet you really should stick to mineral based products. You can go back to your regular every-day make-up one day after treatment. One thing you need to avoid is excessive exercise for six hours following your filler treatment. Some more things on the list to avoid are as follows: consuming vitamin E supplements, alcohol or aspirin for 24 hours following the procedure. Another thing to avoid is using a sun bed 24 hours post procedure. You should also wait 72 hours before having any type of facial, facial massage or using a sauna.
Q. Are fillers permanent?
A. Dermal fillers mainly made up of hyaluronic acid are non-permanent. Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the body anyway, which means that eventually the fillers will be absorbed by the body which will cause the effects to wear off. This process will happen gradually, and fillers won’t disappear suddenly so there’s no need to worry about that. Some clinics still offer permanent fillers yet there are so many bad points to consider when thinking about getting permanent fillers. There’s the risk that you won’t like them and won’t be able to reverse the effects. Whereas with non-permanent dermal fillers you can easily do so if you change your mind or don’t like the end result. Another important point to note is that permanent fillers come with an increased risk of side effects. The most important point in my eyes is that our wants and needs change as we age and grow and as do our faces. Your face shape will naturally change with age and you can’t adapt permanent filler to align with these changes, which can cause your features to end up looking disproportionate or unnatural later on in life.
Q. How long do non-permanent fillers last?
A. Hyaluronic acid fillers can last from 6 to 24 months and the exact longevity will depend on the area being injected and the type of filler being used. Lifestyle also has a great impact on this, things like diet and exercise play a huge part in how long they lastas constant movement of the body can break the filler down faster.
Q. Can you get rid of fillers?
A. Non-permanent fillers not only dissolve over time, they can also be removed very quickly and simply. The way this is done is by injecting an enzyme called hyaluronidase which will break down and dissolve the filler over a 24 hour period.
Q. What can I do if I’m unhappy with the end result?
A. You should always talk to your practitioner if you feel at all dissatisfied with the outcome of any filler procedure. This is often an issue that can be resolved quite easily by the original practitioner as they can reassess what needs to be done in order for you to feel satisfied with the results. They might for example add more filler, massage the filler more thoroughly throughout the area or dissolve it altogether. Or in a lot of cases, you may find that you’re just very nervous about some swelling and/or bruising you may be experiencing, and you need some reassurance. The main priority in this case is your safety and wellbeing. So, if you felt at all unsafe with the practitioner or in the clinic, you should not go back there. You should seek out the help of a different practitioner.
UK Law On Dermal Fillers
Let’s talk about the law in the UK regarding fillers. Or lack thereof. Currently, fillers on sale in the UK need to have a CE mark which means that they adhere to certain manufacturing regulations, yet it says nothing about the effectiveness of the fillers themselves. There are currently no regulations in the UK which control who can and cannot administer fillers, which is a scary thought in itself. Just imagine your neighbour getting hold of some and hosting a filler party where there’s alcohol involved (trust me, it’s happened, and the result wasn’t pretty). Obviously, you should only ever allow a trained medical professional to carry out dermal filler treatments. If you’re wondering what age you have to be in order to get dermal fillers (surprise surprise) there is no law restricting your age when it comes to this. However, no self-respecting practitioner would administer unnecessary lip fillers to a 12-year-old, for example. If there is a case of wanting to improve a disfiguration, such as scars, this may be a feasible option as long as a parent or guardian were present and approved of the procedure.
So, if you’re considering getting dermal fillers, think long and hard about if this is the right choice for you but most importantly put your health and safety above everything else.
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