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Image of a woman's side profile to represent dermal fillers

The dermal filler experience - is it worth it?

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Rutsnei Schmitz from Dubai Cosmetic Surgery

A skin smoother that can be used all over your face in a procedure done in minutes? It’s no wonder dermal fillers are now in the top two most popular non-invasive cosmetic treatments, up there with Botox.

So much more than an anti-ager, fillers can be used to disguise acne scars, define your jaw, and even change the shape of your nose. With so much potential, that’s why the global dermal filler market is now estimated at almost 4 billion USD.

Getting dermal fillers – the basics

The lowdown

Not only do fillers help plump and fill out parts of the skin, but if hyaluronic acid is used, it also hydrates it from the inside, acting as an internal moisturiser.

While fillers under the eyes, lips and cheeks seem to be the most well-known, they can be used pretty much all over the body. This includes smoothing out wrinkles on the hands and chest, as well as the ears. They can also alter nose shape (aka a non-surgical nose job), reduce acne scarring and define your jawline and chin.

Fillers come in several forms, some natural, other synthetic, all completely safe to be used in the body.

Hyaluronic acid (the most common, extremely versatile and used for lines, scarring and redefining lips).

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (enhancing volume in cheeks, plumping frown lines and nasolabial folds).

Poly-l-lactic Acid (collagen stimulator used for lips and deeper wrinkles).

Polymethylmethacrylate (medium to deep wrinkles and acne scarring).

Results are generally seen immediately, with full results visible between a few days and weeks later. Fillers are only semi-permanent so you will need top-ups.

So, when it comes to anti-ageing, what’s the difference to Botox?

To put it simply; fillers act to boost collagen levels in the skin, Botox actively prevents the muscles in your face from making facial expressions known to cause wrinkles and fine lines. And by limiting movement, it limits the ability for wrinkles to form.

Botox is for dynamic wrinkles (lines that are made when your face is moving).

Fillers are for static wrinkles (lines that are always there).

Dynamic wrinkles eventually become static, so it’s common that you will consider Botox before fillers. However, the two treatments are very comfortable together and are often included in a treatment plan together.

Balloons to represent dermal fillers

Decisions to be made

One of the most important conversations to have at any consultation is what look you want to achieve. What are your motivations for getting filler? Do you have acne scars and frown lines? Which bothers you more? Spend time explaining your motivations to your practitioner so they can focus on the most prevalent one.

They may also be able to recommend other treatments you could be investing in that will either compliment your fillers or work as an alternative to tackle other issues.

Also, be clear about what you don’t want. Over full cheeks that could slip into a ‘pillow face’ look? One to be avoided perhaps… The great news is that, unlike Botox, fillers can be dissolved. So, if you are unhappy with the result, return to your practitioner and see what they can do.

Check your diary. Is there a big event you would like to feel brilliant for? There is little to no downtime with filler, but you’ll see the full results a few weeks after you’ve had them. Plus, there may be a little redness at the injection site on the day of procedure.

Finally, what’s the cost? We already know fillers are temporary and if you like how they make you feel, you’ll want them regularly. Can you afford it? The stress of debt often has a more ageing effect than not having filler.

Too good to be true?

So far, it all seems straight-forward. And fillers are incredibly safe to use. However, there are some side-effects of dermal fillers in your cheeks, face or under the eyes to prepare for.

Generally, you can expect to see some bruising, redness, itching and swelling around the injection site. Often, it will be easy to relieve any discomfort with some pain killers and a cold compress, both of which are known to reduce swelling.

You may also notice some lumps and bumps, occasionally, although these should disappear within two weeks of treatment. Massaging the area can help with this, although wait until any bruising or swelling has gone before trying this out.

There is a small chance of…

Rare side-effects of dermal fillers can, in unusual cases, include scarring, blurred vision and anaphylactic shock. However, facial fillers are very low risk when it comes to cosmetic treatments in general. These side-effects are very uncommon and more likely to happen if the procedure is being done by someone untrained. Always choose an experienced and credible clinician.

Are dermal fillers worth it?

No one can make that decision but you.

However, if you are looking for a safe cosmetic treatment that can fill lines, scars, and re-shape the nose, lips and jaw, fillers are not a bad way to go.

Front view of Arab woman wearing a hijab to represent dermal fillers

Top tips

  • In the week before getting fillers in your face or around the eyes, try to avoid taking medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as these thin the blood. Ask a pharmacist or your clinician before taking medication just to be on the safe side.
  • Avoid sunbathing for at least a week after treatment and remember to wear SPF every day.
  • Remember to speak to your clinician about aftercare, how long you should wait between appointments, and what you can expect after your first time getting dermal fillers.
  • You can’t work out for about a week after getting your filler to help reduce the risk of infection. Take advantage and meditate instead.
  • Try not to touch the treatment area for the first six hours after getting your fillers. After this, you can apply light makeup, although wait a day or two if you can.

Dermal fillers vs Botox – a quick comparison

  • Fillers are often recommended for deep wrinkles, and Botox for creases.
  • Botox is typically reserved for the top half of the face, such as the crow’s feet and frown lines.
  • Dermal fillers fill wrinkles and plump the skin as a preventative measure. They can be used on the entire face, from the chin to the forehead.
  • Botox tends to need topping up every three to four months, whereas dermal fillers can last anywhere from four to 18 months.
  • Botox tends to cost around SR56 per unit in Saudi Arabia. With up to 50 units being recommended, this tends to work out at around SR2,800 per treatment.
  • Fillers are often around SR1,200 in Saudi Arabia.

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