Woman getting fillers injected into her cheek at a clinic.

Cosmetic injections are hot right now. Well, they have been for a long time, especially after Kylie Jenner said getting them was “the best thing” she’s ever done. But for every seemingly miraculous transformation, there’s an equal number of horror stories involving botched procedures. Which brings one question to mind: do fillers ruin your face?

It’s understandable to have doubts about getting dermal filler. As a matter of fact, you should be cautious. After all, it’s an expensive treatment and many things can go wrong. That’s where we come in. Here, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in procedural and dermatologic surgery shares essential advice and guidance.

What Are Dermal Fillers?

Fillers are implant-like substances that restore lost volume, enhance facial contours, smoothen , and soften creases. They can be injected in different areas of the face, such as the , cheeks, chin, tear troughs, and temples. Basically, anywhere from the neck up that looks sunken or hollow. 

There’s a wide variety of FDA-approved filler products based on the materials. claims that fillers (yes, the same ingredient you see in many !) are the most common type available in the market. They’re considered the most favorable short-term “tweakments” since hyaluronic acid (HA) dissolves naturally after six to 12 months without problems. And if you don’t like the result, you can always reverse it with an injection of hyaluronidase. 

“HA fillers are manufactured in differing degrees of hardness (a.k.a. G prime). Softer HA fillers have more fluid consistency, whereas the harder ones are firmer,” Dr. Gulfan explains. What they have in common is their moisture-binding mechanism that gives the skin an instant plump and .

Your dermatologist can recommend the best type and brand of filler, depending on your goals and anatomy. For example, HA injection may not be suitable for patients who wish to sculpt their jawline. All in all, don’t shy away from asking questions before your appointment.

Face Fillers Side Effects You Should Be Aware Of

Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures like fillers are generally less risky than, say, or implants. Still, side effects may occur. Dr. Gulfan says, “Redness, bruising, and swelling in the injected areas are most commonly encountered post-procedure.” These are normal and will calm down within two weeks.

Bumps can appear if the filler is injected at high volumes or too close to the surface of the skin. In rare cases, these lumps can harden and expand, forming what’s known as filler granuloma. Dr. Gulfan also warns about the possibility of and vascular occlusion. “It’s a complication that happens when HA filler is accidentally injected into a blood vessel. This can result in grave consequences such as blindness and loss of facial tissue.”

Do Fillers Ruin Your Face?

You've probably seen photos or videos of so-called pillow faces – a look that results from using too many facial fillers. Kristin Davis has admittedly “shed tears” after getting harsh comments for her decision to get fillers. This has led her to dissolve the injections and talk openly about the immense pressure women face to look young. Her story, along with many others, is enough to make you wonder, “Do fillers ruin your face?” The answer is no, if managed expertly.

Dr. Gulfan likens injectables to artwork. Everything should be balanced and executed with precision. “Knowing how much to give and when to stop injecting filler is a must. For delicate areas like the lips and under the eyes, conservative volumes are always the rule, and gradual correction is key. We do not aim to inject a lot per area in one sitting.”

She also emphasizes the importance of pre-procedure assessment, which involves getting to know the licensed physician who will administer the filler. Take the time to share your medical history and desired outcomes. In turn, your treatment provider should be able to help you with a treatment plan based on what best fits your facial profile.

Dos and Don’ts After Getting Fillers

If you’re keen on trying fillers, Dr. Gulfan shares her tips on expediting the healing process. 

1. Do a cold compress. 

Inflammation is your body’s response to the trauma caused by the filler injection. To reduce swelling, apply a cold compress to the treated areas during the first 12 hours after the treatment. Wrap the ice pack in a clean cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin.

2. Don’t strain your body. 

Engaging in physical activities on the same day after receiving fillers is a no-go. It increases blood flow and increases your core temperature, which may worsen bruising. On top of that, these two factors can cause the fillers to migrate from the injection sites before they’ve settled properly. So, put your exercise on hold for a day or two!

3. Do a minimalist skincare routine. 

Stick to only a mild cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen at least until there’s no more trace of redness. Steer clear of active ingredients for the time being to be on the safe side. After roughly two weeks, you can continue with your usual skincare routine.

Try using POND'S Age Miracle Ultimte Youth Day Cream along with POND'S Age Miracle Ultimate Youth Night Cream. Both are powered by Retinol-C Complex, which renews the skin, improves texture, and boosts collagen. Basically, these two heroes help your face remain plump and smooth!

4. Don’t sleep on your side. 

Do fillers ruin your face if you’re a devout side sleeper? There’s a chance, unfortunately. Dr. Gulfan advises not to massage your face or sleep on your side or stomach, as the pressure can cause the filler to spread. Don’t worry, you can lie down however you want 24 hours after your treatment.

5. Don’t apply makeup. 

While dabbing concealer on your face is the fastest way to cover up your bruise, it can potentially introduce bacteria or irritants to the needle’s point of injection. Refrain from any makeup products for the first few days after getting fillers to minimize your risk of infection.

Now we can settle the “Do fillers ruin your face?” debate once and for all. No, they’re not going to distort your visage. At the same time, they can’t fix every imperfection or stop the natural aging process. When it comes to fillers, remember that less is more. People should be able to notice your beauty, not what was done to your face.