Injectable fillers are used to gently and effectively add volume very precisely in targeted areas such as deep lines to plump up the skin and keep it looking youthful.
It is a range of smooth consistency gels made of hyaluronic acid (HA) – a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps to add volume and hydration
WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WORK
- Dermal fillers have been used for cosmetic reasons for over 30 years. Modern fillers are almost exclusively Hyaluronic Acid-based, making them incredibly safe and effective (as opposed to older filler materials that were based on collagen, silicone oil or a number of other chemicals ‘foreign’ to our body).
- Hyaluronic Acid is simply a type of sugar already found in great quantities in our body, meaning that our skin recognizes it as a ‘self’ molecule, bringing down the risk of allergic and foreign body reactions significantly (to the lowest possible it’s ever been).
- As we grow older, two processes cause the most changes to our face: our skin looses elasticity and volume, and the slower turnover of its cells mean we develop lines and wrinkles, especially along expression lines.
- Dermal fillers work by ‘filling-in’ the areas within or under the skin where expression lines have become deeper, new wrinkles have formed, or volume has been lost. They are a safe, effective and popular option to reduce signs of ageing, without having to resort to more expensive, complicated and invasive surgical procedures.
- Typically, the most commonly treated areas are: lips (to replenish lost volume or to enhance them), marionette lines, naso-labial folds (the creases that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth), and cheeks (to enhance or to replenish lost volume).
- Other areas that can be treated with dermal fillers are: nose reshaping, chin enhancement, permanent frown lines or tear troughs.
- The treatment itself takes approximately 20 to 40 minutes (depending on how many areas are being treated and the amount and types of filler required). The consultation usually starts with a careful assessment and discussion between healthcare professional and patient, where a treatment plan is agreed together.
- Although some modern fillers already contain some local anaesthetic (that reduces the discomfort for the few hours following the procedure), the use of anaesthetic injections or a cream prior to treatment is usually necessary as the treatment can be quite uncomfortable (and being able to maintain a relaxed facial expression is very important in order to obtain the best results). The effect of the local anaesthetic only lasts a couple of hours and full sensitivity is quickly regained.
- After the procedure one can usually return to their usual activities immediately with only some minor precautions (please see below).
- The treatment effect is noticeable immediately although, as some minor swelling is common (especially when treating the lips), the final result can only be assessed after a few days.
- The effect lasts 6 to 9 months, and sometimes longer, depending on the type and density of filler utilized.
ADVERSE REACTIONS AND COMPLICATIONS
- This is the most common complication of treatment. You can reduce bruising by applying ice/cold packs. If you are using aspirin, Clopidogrel, Warfarin or any other blood thinner, you are very likely to bruise or bleed slightly at the injection sites. It is OK to cover up bruising with concealer/makeup from the day after your procedure.
- You may bleed a little from the injection sites during treatment.
- Small lumps. If you feel that an area has been over-treated, you should let your practitioner know as soon as possible as this can be corrected by the appropriate massaging technique if it is addressed in the first few days after treatment. However lumps that can be felt by you but not seen are usually just part of treatment.
- If you feel that an area has been undertreated, again contact your practitioner as soon as you develop any concern and you should be offered a review appointment.
- Rarely numbness and/or tingling or itching over the site of injection may occur for a few days.
- Infection at the injection sites is remarkably rare. These are dealt with using topical (i.e. cream) or tablet antibiotics with no long-term ill effects. If you are concerned that you may be developing an infection contact your cosmetic practitioner for advice.
- Like with any other injectable product, allergic reactions are always possible. However, they are very rare. Please make sure to inform your practitioner of any reaction you may have had in the past to any medication, tablet, or drug prior to treatment.
- If you suffered from facial cold sores in the past, there is a risk that the needle punctures (especially after lip treatments) could contribute to a new eruption. You may be advised to use anti-viral medications prior to treatment and/or for a couple of days afterwards to reduce this risk.
- If you develop moderate to severe pain to any of the treated areas (or nearby) within 2 or 3 days after treatment, or if things do not settle as expected, you should contact your cosmetic practitioner as soon as possible and you should be offered a review appointment.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding. ALL cosmetic medicine treatments are NOT advised during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
- Hypersensitivity to hyaluronic acid or to any of the other ingredients (if you want a full list of the product’s ingredients, please ask us).
- Inflammation or infection at the proposed injection sites.
- Ongoing inflammatory conditions and disorders involving the skin (e.g. L.E., scleroderma, dermatomyositis, etc.).
BEFORE THE TREATMENT
- Wear little or (ideally) no make up.
- Please do not drink alcohol for 24 hour before treatment, as it increases the risk of bruising.
- If you are on any long-term medications, take them as usual. Please make sure to let your cosmetic practitioner know of any ongoing therapy (including non-prescription or herbal remedies) you may be on before treatment, especially if it involves Aspirin, Warfarin or any other blood thinners.
AFTER THE TREATMENT
- Expect some redness and mild swelling around the injections sites. This is very common. Redness settles in a few hours and swelling in 2 or 3 days at most (very occasionally longer). This can be reduced by applying ice/cold packs.
- You may also notice your skin being pale around the area where the anaesthetic cream or injections have been applied. This should only last a few hours as well.
- Often superficial lines in the face are ‘highlighted’ in pink or red following treatment. This effect will settle within a few days.
- Dermal filler applied to the lips usually causes swelling. The amount of swelling is not proportional to the amount of filler inserted. Your lips will settle within a few days to how they should look for the remainder of your treatment cycle. Sometimes it may look as if more dermal filler has been placed into one side or the other but this is due to swelling and in a few days it should even out. However if an individual small lump can be seen, you should contact your cosmetic practitioner as soon as possible.
- Immediately following the treatment, one may feel some hard lumps and ‘chords’ under the skin in the treated areas. This is a combination of the filler and the swelling caused by the injections. It is usually normal, as most of us would be aware of the presence of the filler within our skin (this sensation normally settles in three to four weeks). The important thing is that after the treatment no lumps or irregularities are visible. If you feel or think that the result of your treatment is irregular or lumpy and you are concerned, contact your practitioner as soon as possible as this can be corrected by massaging the filler in the correct place (within the first few days after treatment). Don’t massage lumps that you cannot see yourself, as this will only displace your filler.
- Avoid applying make-up over the injection sites for 12 hours (this is to reduce the already small risk of skin infection).
- AVOID applying direct strong heat to the treated areas for 24 hours (e.g. going to the hair-dresser, using sun beds, any facial/beauty treatments, etc.), as this may increase the risk of bruising, inflammation, swelling and infection.
- Always remember the 3S’s of premature skin ageing and try to limit them: Sun, Smoking and Stress!