The Complete Guide To Cheek Fillers

Do you want to give your cheekbones a prominent look? The idea of going under the knife to achieve this can be scary. The good news is you don’t have to. Cheek fillers are a non-surgical procedure that can increase the volume around your cheekbones, giving them a more defined look and reshaping as well as contouring your face. You can also use cheek fillers to restore lost volume in the face which helps give a more lifted and youthful appearance. In this guide, we will discuss what are cheek fillers, what the procedure involves, benefits, risks and how to know if they’re right for you.

What Are Cheek Fillers?

Cheek fillers, also known as dermal fillers, are a type of non-surgical cosmetic injection that uses colourless gels. They can enhance the cheekbones to provide shape as well as definition and add volume to the face. Many people also choose cheek fillers as they successfully smooth fine lines and wrinkles, which can help you achieve a more youthful complexion. The composition of cheek fillers can vary depending on the type of products used. This will depend on your provider and requirements. However, most medical clinics exclusively use hyaluronic acid dermal fillers for cheek enhancement. This is because they are dissolvable with hyaluronidase and hence safest to use on the face.

How Do Cheek Fillers Work?

Loss of facial volume is a natural sign of ageing. Luckily, specialised dermal fillers can restore these areas, amending sagging that results from fat loss. Most dermal fillers contain hyaluronic acid – a natural substance found in our bodies. Once injected into the skin, it helps stimulate collagen production in that area, which allows the skin and contour to achieve a youthful look. Cheek fillers are administered using either a needle or microcannula or both via injections on each side of the face. 

Depending on the placement of filler the end result can be to increase volume, contour, reshape and/or lift the mid-face. Cheek filler can also soften the nose-to-mouth lines (nasolabial folds). It is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure which means the recovery time is quicker and the results are generally immediate but aren’t permanent. 

What Does Cheek Filler Procedure Involve?

Before the procedure, you should have a consultation with a medical provider like an aesthetic doctor. They will decide whether you are a suitable candidate for the treatment. You may receive pre-procedure advice such as avoiding alcohol and may be asked to stop blood thinners like Aspirin and Ibuprofen before the treatment. During the procedure, a numbing cream will be applied to the treatment area to minimise discomfort. The filler is then injected beneath the skin and gently massaged to distribute the contents evenly. The number and depth of the injections, how much filler is used at each site and whether a needle or microcannula are used will depend on your facial anatomy and the goals of the treatment.

Whilst the result of cheek fillers is immediate, there may be some bruising and swelling. Usually, the final result is apparent once the filler settles and any swelling subsides which may take 3-4 weeks. During this time there may be some asymmetry or unevenness. Whilst this is normal, you should let your doctor know so that they can firstly reassure you and also they may be able to speed up the resolution with a firm massage in the office.

The Best Dermal Fillers for Cheek Enhancement

The type of filler used is also dependent on the aims of the treatment as well as your facial structure. Popular options include premium fillers like Juvederm ultra 4, Voluma or Volift. Juvederm Voluma and Volift provide greater volume, more structure and last longer than Juvederm ultra 4. Belotero intense and Restylane are also other leading brands of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers that provide good cheek enhancement results. 

The amount of cheek filler you will need will depend on your current face structure, desired outcomes and the type of filler used. For example, you will likely need more filler if you have extensive face hollowing or volume loss in the cheeks. If you opt for thicker fillers like Voluma then you may need less filler than standard fillers like Juvederm ultra 4 or Belotero balance.

Cheek Fillers Aftercare

After your treatment, your doctor may apply an ice pack to the area to help reduce any redness or swelling. If there is any bruising they may provide you with an aftercare cream such as BruiseMD. After the procedure, there will be a few aftercare instructions to follow. You will need to avoid intense heat such as hot yoga or saunas as well as strenuous exercise for the first few days in order to reduce swelling. It is also best to avoid wearing restrictive helmets or goggles for a couple of weeks if they compress the area where the filler was placed. Your doctor may also encourage you to continue icing the treatment area to reduce swelling. After your treatment, you may experience short-term discomfort due to bruising and swelling. However, this is normal – and often nothing to worry about. Swelling usually settles after a couple of days and bruising usually a week.

Here are some general aftercare dos and don’ts: 

  • DO apply a cold compress to the treatment area to reduce swelling.
  • DON’T take ibuprofen or aspirin (unless you are normally on these for another medical condition)  after the treatment as this can increase bruising.
  • DO avoid face massages, Bikram Yoga, saunas, tanning beds, and intense heat for at least 2 weeks.
  • DON’T touch the treated area for at least 6 hours.
  • DO avoid strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours.

Please note, your doctor should also advise you of any additional steps. These will take into account your situation and your treatment. 

How Long Do Cheek Fillers Last?

These days, cheek fillers are not a permanent procedure. All hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are gradually broken down by your body and removed. This makes them a more viable option than surgery if you do not want to commit to a permanent change. Depending on the type and brand of filler, they can last anywhere between six months and two years. However this can be shorter or longer depending on how quickly your body breaks up the filler. If you want to prolong the effects of the treatment, you can top up the filler. However, try to wait for a noticeable amount to dissolve to avoid filler gradually building up. Overtime this will help you maintain a natural result.

Benefits Of Cheek Fillers

There are many advantages of cheek fillers that patients can benefit from. The top reasons people say they like cheek fillers are:

  • Immediate result and quick recovery time
  • Pain-free or minimal discomfort
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Not permanent
  • Can be modified and adapted to suit your face as it changes with time
  • Anti-ageing benefits due to overlying skin appearing smoother and fuller

Are Cheek Fillers Safe?

Cheek fillers are a safe procedure when carried out by an experienced medical professional such as an aesthetic doctor, dentist or nurse practitioner. Choose your clinic and doctor wisely, and always do your research to make sure they are qualified to carry out the procedure. Cheek fillers often use hyaluronic acid dermal, which our body naturally produces. 

These types of fillers can be broken down and reabsorbed over time by your body. However, they are particularly safe because they can be dissolved sooner. If you don’t like the outcome or there is a problem, they can be immediately dissolved with hyaluronidase enzyme.

That being said there are some important risks to consider. The most serious complication is if the filler is injected into a  blood vessel or on top of it hence blocking the blood flow. This is called vascular occlusion. Thankfully this is an extremely rare side effect in procedures performed by experienced medical professionals. It is also best to use hyaluronic acid facials filler as these can be dissolved with hyaluronidase in such an emergency.

How Much Do Cheek Fillers Cost?

In general, the cost of cheek fillers in the UK can range from £200 to several hundred or even thousands of pounds. This depends on the complexity of the case, type and amount of filler used and the experience and skill of your practitioner.  Normally, the cost also includes aftercare. When considering costs also take into account fees for consultation and top ups or touch ups as these are usually separate.

Side Effects Of Cheek Fillers

Most people experience very little downtime after cheek fillers. If they do have anything it is likely to be short-term side effects (usually clear between 7 to 14 days):

  • Redness/swelling.
  • Bruising, which can cause minimal discomfort
  • Itching

Uncommon short/medium-term side effects include:

  • Infection
  • Migration of filler from one area to the other 
  • Lumps or nodules

Rare but serious side effects include:

  • Blindness
  • Tissue death

These are very rare if you have your treatment with an experienced practitioner at a reputable clinic. They will ensure that the procedure takes place in a clean aseptic environment. They will also place the filler with careful attention to your anatomy to reduce the risk of blocking a blood vessel which can cause tissue loss or even blindness. If after your fillers you experience any side effects, you must consult with your doctor immediately who will advise what the best management plan is.

Booking an Appointment

Before considering any type of professional treatment, make sure you have a detailed consultation with a medical practitioner at a reputable clinic. They should also give you the space and time to ask questions and express your concerns and goals. A good provider will assess you and advise if you would benefit from this treatment. They may also recommend alternatives if they think these are better. If they recommend treatment, they should give you a clear idea of the plan, costs and what to expect in terms of outcomes.

At City Skin Clinic, we are committed to personalised skincare and beauty. Through our virtual skin clinic, we offer safe and effective personalised skincare treatments. Our doctors treat skin conditions like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and skin ageing using bespoke protocols. Book a virtual appointment or use our online consultation form to begin your journey towards great skin.


Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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