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We’re constantly exposed to celebrities and influencers subtly plumping their pouts and lifting their brows for that perfect selfie look. And now, thanks to Instagram’s abundance of face-altering filters, we can see exactly how we’d look with a streamlined nose, plumped up cheeks and Kylie Jenner-esque lips in the blink of an eye.

It’s not surprising then, that in 2019, 13.6m non-surgical treatments were carried out worldwide - 4.3m of which involved hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. This marked a 15.7 percent increase on the previous year, and a 50.6 percent increase since 2015, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s Global Survey.

‘Tweakment’ culture is officially on the rise - it’s easier than ever to nip out on your lunch break for a quick liquid rhinoplasty or a whole new jawline. But this is where the danger lies. Although it can be tempting to get sucked in by social media accounts offering quick-fix, discounted packages, it’s vital to do your homework before choosing a reputable practitioner.

That’s why we’ve created a guide to break down the key pieces of information that you should know if you are considering dermal fillers, and the questions you should be asking before undergoing treatment.

Decided that dermal fillers might be for you? If you’re considering it, it’s important to note that in the UK, non-surgical aesthetics are unregulated. This means that anyone could inject fillers into your face with no legal consequences. That’s why it’s vital to do your research beforehand.

So, what are fillers?

Dermal fillers are small injections of gel that fill in wrinkles and add volume to soft tissue. You can have dermal fillers injected into different parts of the face: around the eye, cheeks, nose, mouth and jawline, as well as lip fillers, which are administered directly into the lip tissue.

How do they work?

Dermal fillers are made up of hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally-occurring substance in the skin. Over time, the body’s natural supply of hyaluronic acid reduces, which causes skin to look less supple and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Fillers help to restore lost volume, smooth lines and wrinkles and plump the face, promoting a youthful look.

Before choosing your practitioner, you should always ask:

  • About their experience and qualifications
  • The name of the product and how and where it is made
  • About any risks or possible side effects
  • What will happen if things go wrong?
  • What insurance cover do they have?

What are the side effects of dermal fillers?

What are the side effects of dermal fillers? Dermal fillers come with a number of potential side effects, ranging from very mild to more severe. Most people will experience swelling (especially with lip fillers) which tends to subside after a few hours or a couple of days at most. Some experience bruising.

It is important to avoid being swayed by glamorous-looking Instagram accounts offering discount packages and limited time offers.

Medical professionals that received training in aesthetics can not only confidently inject into the face, but they are also well-equipped to deal with any complications that may arise. Their medical training means they can instantly recognise when something has gone wrong, making it a much safer option than, for example, a beauty therapist who may not have adequate training or knowledge of facial anatomy.

Serious side effects are rare, but can include

  • Infection
  • A lumpy appearance under the skin
  • The filler migrating from the intended treatment area
  • Scarring
  • Blocked blood vessels, which can lead to tissue death and permanent blindness

Look out for these complications after treatment and, if you think you might be suffering with any, seek advice from a medical professional immediately.

The most popular places for dermal filler:

  • Lips - One of the most popular dermal filler procedures. Involves injecting filler to the lips to plump and add volume.
  • Nose - Dubbed the ‘non-surgical nose job’, this is much more affordable than a surgical rhinoplasty. Practitioners inject fillers into the nose to create a more streamlined appearance. Particularly popular with those who wish to smooth bumps and achieve a more ‘turned up’ appearance.
  • Cheeks - Filler injected into the cheeks raises the volume of the area around the cheekbones, creating the illusion of a more defined bone structure.
  • Tear troughs - Softens the appearance of under-eye bags and smooths the area, for a more youthful appearance.
  • Jawline - This treatment involves injecting filler into the area to create a stronger and more contoured jawline. The treatment is popular in men who want to achieve a more angular look.

How long do dermal fillers last?

This will depend entirely on how your body reacts with the product and what type of dermal filler is used, but most tend to last between six and 18 months.

Our recommendations:

  • Don’t expect your dream results instantly. For many, it can take a few sessions to get the desired look. A skilled practitioner will refrain from injecting too much product into the face at any one time, so be aware that top-ups might be required before you’re completely happy with your results.
  • It’s best to avoid having the procedure just before an important event, like your wedding day. It’s always best to ‘test’ it out beforehand, at least six months prior, so you can be sure you’re happy with the way you look. You can always get a top up just before the big day.
  • Although it can be tempting, never just go for the cheapest option. Often, treatments will only be discounted if the practitioner is not experienced or the product being used is not high quality.
  • Always do your research before choosing a practitioner.

If you have had dermal fillers that has gone wrong, our solicitors can help you. Read more about making a dermal fillers claim here.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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