Updated: Aug 21, 2019
THE DEAL WITH DERMAL FILLERS
In my last post I discussed Botox – both the general concept and some common misconceptions on it. This post relates to another very common cosmetic treatment that Mindful Aesthetics Group offers: dermal fillers. Like Botox, dermal fillers are a non-permanent injection-based procedure that not only aid in smoothing out wrinkles but also add volume to certain areas of the face. Typically-targeted spots include the lips, eyes, cheeks and jawline – the general areas people tend to highlight when they cry “Holy crap, your _____ look incredible!” upon seeing your latest profile picture. As always (in case you haven’t read my previous articles) I’d like to note that MAG supports the use of cosmetic procedures as part of a wider umbrella of healthy living, but in no way do we condone the manner in which certain players in the cosmetic medicine industry promote negative body image in order to encourage people to undergo aesthetic procedures. If you ever find yourself believing that you ‘need’ to look a certain way in order to be happy and whole, then I’m sorry – I understand the feeling, and it’s not fun, but it’s also not true. At the risk of sounding sappy, you’re beautiful and whole already, whether you believe that or not!
Of course, as I also mentioned in my last post, there are many reasons that people may seek out cosmetic procedures – and we fully acknowledge that for lots of people they might truly enhance their quality of life. We’ll always hold a consultation before performing such procedures in order to ensure that you’re seeking the most appropriate treatment for the right reasons. In the UK, for utterly confusing and frustrating reasons, there are no laws preventing unqualified people (most often beauty therapists or hairdressers) from administering Botox and dermal fillers. I’ve noted previously how important it is to seek such procedures from a fully-certified practitioner, but I actually only found out about this rather large and dangerous legal oversight whilst researching this article. Because of that, I really want to stress how important it is – if you decide to undergo cosmetic treatments – to check the qualifications of the doctor who’ll be performing them. We strongly advise against approaching uncertified providers for such treatments; it is virtually impossibly that they’ll be operating with top-quality products from trusted sources, and most likely will also lack full insurance. Don’t take the risk: safeguard your well-being by only approaching reputable and qualified professionals.
DERMAL FILLERS vs. BOTOX
Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about dermal fillers in a little more detail. Like Botox, they’re incredibly popular – and due to certain similarities between them they’re often confused. They’re actually very different, however, and I’ll try my best to explain the distinction below.
Similarly to Botox, fillers are administered via needle - most commonly consisting of small injections of a substance known as hyaluronic acid in specific facial areas. In my previous article I touched upon the dangerous qualities that the botulinum toxin, from which Botox is made, possesses. Whilst I also noted that (due to the miniscule amounts of the toxin used) Botox injections are incredibly safe when performed by a qualified medical practitioner, you may still be reassured to know that hyaluronic acid – on it’s own – is far less dangerous than botulinum. In fact, many human skin cells produce it naturally: it’s one of the compounds that helps them maintain their moisture levels, which makes it a pretty crucial component of healthy skin. Depending on the area of the face you wish to target the filler may include certain other substances instead, but when performed properly it remains an incredibly safe procedure regardless of the specifics.
That said, as with any procedure involving injection it can cause certain side-effects such as swelling, tender-feeling skin and redness. Whilst such phenomena may feel like bad reactions to the treatment, they are entirely normal and are to be expected with any facial treatment that utilises needles. Many confuse natural side-effects with negative complications, so it’s useful to clarify which are which before you might have to make the distinction in reality.
The biggest difference between Botox and fillers lies in their effect on the tissue that lies beneath the skin. Whilst (as mentioned in the previous post) Botox relaxes facial muscles in order to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles that these muscles cause when contracted, gel-like dermal fillers give the target areas a good plumping; smoothing out wrinkles that are present on the surface and giving the skin a more youthful look as a result. So instead of directly-effecting certain muscles, fillers add volume to thin areas of skin. Both help to reduce the signs of ageing, but do so in very different ways.
The two procedures take a similar length of time to show results (between one and two weeks, usually) and are both non-permanent, with fillers maintaining their effects for around four-to-six months and Botox lasting for up to four months.
I mentioned that, whilst rare, fillers can have certain side-effects similar to Botox injections such as swelling, tenderness and reddening of the skin. Very occasionally (almost never, especially when the filler is administered by a qualified professional), a complication known as vascular occlusion – the blockage of a blood vessel that is accidentally injected with the substance – may occur. This can lead to localised skin necrosis; where the cells in the area that’s no longer receiving enough blood begin to die. Patients may also suffer infection stemming from the targeted areas, but the chances of this are incredibly low. Both Botox and fillers are very, very safe, and have been proven to be so for many years. Although any medical procedure carries risk, cosmetic treatments such as these are very much at the safe end of the scale.
So, there you have it – an overview of the ins-and-outs of dermal fillers. Of course, should you seek them, any reputable doctor will openly and happily answer any questions or concerns you may have on the treatment before performing it. If you find them to be evasive or reluctant to engage with such queries then you should probably reconsider your choice of practitioner. It’s a murky world we live in, people, and sadly there are some shady folk out there who may not have your best interests at heart. Stay vigilant and never be afraid to back out of a treatment if you feel uncomfortable.
Everyone at MAG cares greatly about delivering the safest and most high-quality procedures and information, so if you decide to book an appointment then we will do everything in our power to ensure that you leave feeling happy, confident and safe. When it comes to your well-being, that’s our priority.