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...
So, facial fillers – you might be tempted by a little fill over baby botox but don’t know the ins-and-outs, potential complications or, most importantly, where to go to get them.
We also spoke to Dr Terry Loong of W1 Knightsbridge to get the lowdown on facial fillers, from what happens during the procedure to possible side effects and cost.
The first thing you need to know, above all else, is 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) – in the rest of Europe you have to be a qualified doctor in order to perform the treatment.
‘The face has many underlying sensitive structures, for example: nerves, vessels and eyes when treating wrinkles. If the person administering fillers is untrained and not careful, there’s risk of damage, infection, artery occlusion leading to tissue death and scarring. Hence why it’s so important to see a registered medical professional who understands the anatomy of the face and knows the areas to avoid.’
So, just to be clear, see a qualified doctor or forget about having fillers altogether. Here’s everything else you need to know…
Consult the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Dermatologists website to find a qualified practitioner
How much do facial fillers cost?
Let’s get your biggest burning question out of the way first – how much is this whole thing going to set you back? Well, that depends entirely on how much you’re going to have done, which fillers you opt for and who you pay to administer them.
‘Obviously every clinic differs, but the general starting price for facial fillers is from £500 per syringe,’ Dr Loong tells us.
How do they work?
Fillers are pretty incredible at restoring lost volume to your face. Experts argue over when we start losing collagen; many will say it’s your mid-twenties, while others argue that levels start to deplete when we’re as young as 18.
What we do know is that it declines at a rate of about 2% per year, and your body will have stopped producing it altogether by your late twenties.
Fillers have been used for decades to restore lost volume or add lift, while fillers themselves have come a long way from their early days – in the UK, permanent treatments are now a thing of the past.
Do facial fillers have side effects?
‘It’s easy for clients to confuse side effects to reactions, so it’s extremely important to understand what side effects can be expected,’ says Dr Loong. ‘Temporary side effects – those that are completely normal after facial injections – can include; swelling, redness and tenderness.
‘Reactions generally occur immediately after the needle injection and can include; redness, swelling, pain, itching, bruising and tenderness at the injection location. These reactions are generally mild to moderate and usually disappear shortly after injection and are usually resolved a few days after the injection into the skin.’
Does it hurt?
‘There may be a slight discomfort whilst the filler is being injected into the face,’ says Dr. Loong. ‘But we minimise this by applying an anaesthetic cream before treatment. To provide further relief and alleviate as much pain as possible, our fillers contain a pre-mixed local anaesthetic.
‘Before choosing your practitioner, make sure they offer these services with your treatment to ensure you feel as comfortable as possible.’
Dr 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 hyaluronic acid and apart from the slightest pressure I wouldn’t have even known someone was injecting my face, it was that comfortable.
Most filler products also contain the pain killer lidocaine to help minimise any discomfort.
Types of facial fillers
‘The most common type of facial filler is hyaluronic acid, a natural substance found in many areas of the body including eyeballs, joints and skin,’ Dr Loong tells us. ‘Hyaluronic facial fillers helps to maintain shape, even out depressions in the skin and provide hydration.
‘Poly-Caprolactone (PCl) or Ellanse is another popular filler that acts as a collagen stimulator. When injected in strategic places in the face, it triggers the body’s natural response to produce collagen, which provides you with a much longer lasting result.’
Juvéderm is another option that’s widely used and comes in varying viscosities so it can be used in different areas of the face. Dr Nabet used 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! 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 cry and you can’t see anything untoward going on under the skin.
The verdict? I’m definitely in the ‘for’ camp…
Already had facial fillers? Let us know your experience at @marieclaireuk