What you need to know before getting dermal fillers

By Dr. Aaron Stanes

Treatment guide

Discover the vital information you MUST know about dermal fillers with our detailed guide written by expert cosmetic doctors.


    Dermal fillers are volumising gels that add volume to the area where they are injected. They are temporary, wearing off gradually over time, and can be reversed with dermal filler dissolver.

    Dermal fillers have variable longevity, lasting from 12-24 months on average. The longevity is affected by the type, as well as your own metabolism. New studies have shown that hyaluronic acid dermal fillers may last many years in some people.

    The dermal filler used for your treatment will be chosen based on its specific properties. ideally, these properties should closely resemble the tissue the filler is being injected to augment.

    Using more viscous (thicker fillers) them in the wrong area may lead to an unpleasant appearance and feel, however they do last longer. This is more commonly seen when using bone-mimicking fillers in the lips with the goal of achieving a long lasting result. This should be avoided.

    There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dermal filler

    Everyone will need different types and volumes of dermal filler based on the areas of concern, and what their goals are.

    The most important things to consider when making an informed decision about your treatment are:

    1. Your tolerance for risk and downtime.
    2. Your budget.
    3. Your expectations (what result you want or would be satisfied with).

    About the cost and expectations of your treatment

    If you want a more pronounced transformation then your treatment will be more involved, and have a higher cost. If you cannot tolerate risk or downtime, or have a limited budget, then your result will be more subtle.

    The following factors determine the cost of your cosmetic treatment:

    • The areas treated.
    • The complexity of each area treated.
    • The extend of treatment in each area.
    • The type of product used.
    • The amount of product required.
    • Whether you have paired treatment combinations, or one simple treatment.
    • How much of a difference you want to see.

    Cosmetic treatments are an art based on an imprecise science. There will always be a degree of variability in the result, no matter how skilled your practitioner is. An experienced practitioner will be able to reduce this variability, but it cannot be eliminated.

    Final thoughts

    Usually, most people achieve a satisfying result. However, results exist on a continuum between to conservative a treatment (‘I don’t see a difference’), and too aggressive (‘this looks fake and unnatural’). While the sweet spot in between is always the goal, it is preferable to be more conservative. This is because you can always build up a result with an additional treatment. This is more predictable and controllable than reversing an overdone treatment.

    Treatment specific information

    Non-surgical rhinoplasty

    1. Over-treating the nose will lead to a distortion of the natural shape and contour, and must be avoided. We advise allowing for 1-2 initial sessions to build your result, and then maintaining as infrequently as possible. A minimum of 9 months between maintenance sessions is ideal
    2. Approximately 10% of patients will require more than 1 treatment to achieve a stable result.
    3. The average result of a non-surgical rhinoplasty with dermal filler is 1-2 years.
    4. Generally, the second session will last longer than the first, and the third will last longer than the second.
    5. If you stop maintaining your result, it will gradually wear off, leaving you with your original nose.

    Learn more about a non-surgical rhinoplasty

    Lip enhancement

    1. Over-treating the lips leads to an increased risk of filler migration beyond the red border of the lip. This must be avoided.
    2. Achieving a nice lip enhancement is best done in stages if a more pronounced result is desired.
    3. You may not notice a significant difference after your first treatment, especially if you have naturally large lips.
    4. There is no set time in which you should have a ‘top-up’. Lip fillers may last many years, and topping up simply because a specific amount of time has elapsed will lead to overfilling. Judge the need for a maintenance treatment based on how your lips look, and how they feel to touch.
    5. Everyone will need slightly different volumes. 0.5ml and 1ml options are simply marketing tools. Very few people need these exact amounts.
    6. Beware clinics openly offering 0.5ml treatments. Ask yourself what happens with the other 0.5ml. Perhaps you are receiving the second half of someone else’s half-used syringe of filler?
    7. Many results you see online of lip filler treatments are accentuated due to swelling. Certain techniques yield more pronounced swelling which can give the appearance of highly defined lips (Such as the Russian technique), but do not always achieve better final results.
    8. A properly performed lip enhancement should have only mild discomfort.

    Learn more about a lip enhancement

    Under eye fillers

    1. Under eye treatment is complex. Dark circles and hollows may exist due to a combination of poor skin quality, skin redundancy, skin pigmentation and volume deficiency of the cheek, temples and under eye. Only by adequately addressing all causes will the best results be achieved.
    2. Dermal fillers address volume deficiency, but are not suitable for everyone (particularly those with poor skin quality).
    3. You may require fillers to correct volume deficiency of the cheek and temple as a component of your treatment
    4. The delicate nature of the under-eye skin mandates a conservative approach when injecting filler in this area. If too much filler is injected in one session, there is a high probability of lumps, swelling and blue discolouration of the skin.
    5. Accordingly, after your first session you may be underwhelmed at the degree of improvement. This is normal, as most under eye corrections with filler should be done over multiple sessions.
    6. To further improve your under-eye area, you may require laser, skin tightening, or rarely, skin excision.

    Learn more about under eye fillers

    Dermal fillers

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