They’re a popular way of regaining plump, youthful skin and smoothing out fine lines. But are they safe? Here’s our guide to fillers for beginners
I wouldn’t say that I was in desperate need of fillers but, in the name of research, I recently popped along to Dr Jules Nabet’s clinic in Kensington to give them a whirl. If you read Marie Claire every month (if you don’t you’re missing out!) you might have noticed a new page in our beauty section that sets out to explore aesthetic treatments – one step beyond the bottle – such as fillers, lasers, Botox and liposuction, and, seeing as I would be writing this page, it only made sense to practice what I preach, hence the miniscule amount of Teosyal RHA filler that Dr Nabet injected into my left cheek.
So, fillers; you’re tempted but you don’t know the in’s-and-out’s, the potential complications or – most importantly – where to go to get them.
For starters, never ever consider having any kind of injectable treatment at a beauty spa or salon. For some inexplicable reason, here in the UK we’re unable to regulate who is able to inject filler into someone’s face (the same goes for Botox), throughout the rest of Europe you have to be a qualified doctor in order to perform the treatment. The risks associated with seeing someone other than a doctor – a beautician for example – are plentiful. They won’t have had the same training, they won’t be as familiar with the underlying muscles and structure of the skin, and (here’s the biggie) they are most definitely not able to administer or prescribe treatment if something should go wrong. So, just to be clear, see a qualified doctor or forget about having fillers altogether. [Consult the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Dermatologists’ website to find a qualified practitioner.]
So, why would anyone have fillers? Well, they’re pretty incredible at restoring lost volume to your face. Our skin loses an average 2.1 per cent collagen every year after the age of 18, according to Birmingham-based cosmetic physician Dr David Eccleston, and with that loss comes thinner, less defined, less plump skin. Fillers have been used for decades to restore lost volume, but the fillers themselves have come a long way from their early days.
But, back to Dr Nabet and my fillers. Nabet used a new motorised injection pen that promises to make the injection 50% less painful – personally, I didn’t find it even remotely irksome. The injection pen allowed Dr Nabet to inject a steady flow of HA and apart from the slightest pressure I wouldn’t have even known someone was injecting my face, it was that comfortable. Most filler products contain the pain killer lidocaine too to help minimise any discomfort.
Permanent fillers are thankfully a thing of the past, now aestheticians use Hyaluronic Acid (or HA) to bring extra volume. HA is found naturally in the body and so it’s well received, it can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, plus, through a technique called cross-linking the makers are able to produce various viscosities so you can use a finer solution to plump out lips, a thicker solution to fill cheek bones and a texture somewhere in the middle to fill out lines. It’s clever stuff. Naturally, as with all cosmetic treatments, there are occasions where problems crop up – though these are rare if you see a professional – so check out the BAAPS website beforehand to understand the risk you’re taking.
There are various types of filler products available to practitioners. Juvéderm is one that’s widely used and comes in varying viscosities so it can be used in different areas of the face. Dr Nabet used the new Teosyal RHA on my cheek. What sets Teosyal apart from other fillers is that it takes into account just how much our face moves (I don’t know about you but my face is pretty expressive!) and so this filler is able to stretch with the movements of the face – the result is such that even I can’t tell there’s anything there. With just a touch of Teosyal RHA Dr Nabet has evened out my face and I can laugh, gasp and (only occasionally) cry and you can’t see anything untoward going on under the skin. It’s a game changer.