Guide to Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are becoming an increasingly popular procedure here at City Skin Clinic and all over the world.

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers have very rapidly ascended in popularity due to their versatile use as wrinkle fillers as well as volume enhancement for areas like the lips, cheeks, under eyes and hollows of the face. Dermal fillers are also crucial in facial sculpting and reshaping in areas like the nose, chin and jawline.

Based on our experiences from our clinic, we’ve put together a guide with some of the most common questions about dermal fillers treatments. If you are considering the procedure, but require some more in-depth information, continue reading this page. We will discuss dermal fillers in their entirety, from what they are and how long they last to the many benefits the treatment possesses.

What Are Dermal Fillers?

Dermal fillers are a widely popular cosmetic procedure that involves a gel-like substance being injected beneath the skin. They are used to restore volume into different areas of the face, such as the cheeks, mouth and lips. As well as restoring volume, dermal fillers can smooth out lines and soften any creases in the skin or augment your features, helping you to enhance your facial contours while achieving a youthful look. 

How Do Dermal Fillers Work?

Dermal fillers are injectable gels used to fill in wrinkles or provide volume to soft tissues. Whilst dermal fillers have many uses throughout the body (including chest and hand rejuvenation), they are most commonly used for treating facial and skin concerns. These gels can either be made from:

At City Skin Clinic, your procedure will always start with a consultation, where one of our aesthetic medical professionals will discuss the treatment with you. Depending on your cosmetic goals, a series of injections can be involved in the procedure. Before administering the injection, the targeted area of your face will be numbed with an anaesthetic cream or an anaesthetic injection. This will help you feel more comfortable during the procedure. 

Main Uses

The key uses of dermal fillers treatments in the face are:

How dermal fillers work depends on the type of dermal filler used and where it is injected. In general, injecting dermal fillers into the skin causes plumping of that area which helps smooth wrinkles, enhance definition and volumise the face depending on the type of filler and technique used to inject it. 

Thinner fillers such as Restylane skin boosters can be injected superficially into the skin to improve hydration, skin texture and elasticity. Thicker fillers such as Juvederm Ultra 4 and Voluma can be used to fill in deep lines and folds like nose to mouth lines or volumise sunken cheeks and enhance thin lips. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are not only temporary but can also be dissolved with an enzyme called hyalase. This is very useful should you not like the result or if there is any asymmetry, lumps or reaction to the product where you might need the removal of the filler.

Types Of Dermal Fillers

There are several different types of dermal filler. Each one can be used in different areas of the body, such as your lips, jawline, cheeks, mouth, cheeks and around your eyes. Below – are some of the most common types of dermal fillers used today:

The most common type of dermal filler used on the face is hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. These are colourless gels that are made up of synthetic hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring substance in the skin) and are temporary.

How Long Can Dermal Fillers Last?

How long your dermal filler will last will depend on several different factors – your skin type, type of filler used, and the area injected. Typically, the effects of the filler will last up to four to six months. We understand that most clients wish to maintain the effectiveness of their filler. In these instances, further injections will need to be administered. This is something your aesthetic medical professional will discuss with you. 

Dermal Filler Aftercare

Generally, the recovery time for dermal fillers is short. Most treatments will settle within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. It is likely that some patients will experience bruising/swelling of the treated area for the first few days, but this should usually go down after a week. We recommend using an ice pack to help bring down swelling and minimal bruising. We urge our clients to stay hydrated throughout the recovery process and avoid strenuous activity for the first few days after the procedure. This will assist their recovery. 

At City Skin Clinic, we offer all patients a free follow-up consultation within the first 4-6 weeks following their treatment. It allows our clients to ask any questions they may have regarding their treatment, and we check to see if they are happy with their results. 

Benefits Of Dermal Fillers

There is a long list of benefits associated with dermal fillers, which highlights why so many people turn to this treatment. Let’s explore some of them below: 

Enhances Your Natural Look

Many of our patients want natural-looking results, and we are proud to say our treatment helps them achieve precisely that. Dermal fillers allow patients to retain the natural movements and expressions of the face, giving them their desired look. 

The Treatment Is Minimally Invasive

Dermal fillers are much less invasive than plastic surgery. The recovery time is short, there is no need for patients to go under the knife, and their daily activities can resume as normal after the treatment. Generally, the treatment is less intimidating than surgical options. 

The Effects Of The Treatment Are Reversible

Unlike surgical treatments, dermal fillers are reversible. The effects of the treatment are not long-lasting. If a patient doesn’t like the effect of the filler, it will wear off after a few months. Alternatively, you can dissolve hyaluronic acid dermal fillers sooner. For many patients, this puts them at ease as they do not have to commit to permanent surgery. 

Boost Confidence

Many patients who receive dermal fillers from City Skin Clinic – report a boost in their confidence levels after the treatment. Signs of ageing such as wrinkles, a loss of volume and skin sagging in some regions of the face can affect patients’ self-esteem. The treatment helps them restore a youthful look, helping them regain the confidence they once lost. In addition, treatments like lip fillers, non-surgical nose reshaping and jaw/chin fillers can help quickly treat isolated concerns that patients have had for a long time.

Dermal Fillers Vs Botox

Some people confuse dermal fillers with Botox. Although the two treatments share some similarities, they are very different. Both treatments are minimally invasive and aim to target fine lines and wrinkles. However, unlike dermal fillers, Botox cannot replace any lost volume in the face. Nor can it treat deep folds (such as lines around the nose to mouth area) or ingrained wrinkles. Instead, it is only effective on dynamic facial lines that are due to muscle movement.

Botox also works differently than dermal fillers. It freezes the muscles in the targeted area. This minimises movement in that area, which helps to soften or eliminate the appearance of fine lines and reduce their progression. The results of Botox injections can take 2-3 weeks to appear and last up to 3-4 months. The effects of dermal fillers are immediate though final outcome takes 3-4 weeks as the filler, bruising and swelling settle. Fillers can last up to 24 months depending on the type of filler, where it is injected and your metabolism.

Are Dermal Fillers Safe?

Reputable brands of dermal fillers when used correctly and appropriately are safe. However, the practitioner and the clinic play a huge role in this. Failure to pick GMC registered doctor or GDC registered dentist or GNC registered nurse working in a medical clinic setting could be putting yourself at risk. 

Dermal Fillers Side Effects

Dermal fillers treatments have been used safely for many years with some surveys suggesting that at least 1 in 5 women in the UK has had dermal fillers. However, it is important to appreciate that there are some potential side effects and risks of complications. Generally, you can can reduce these risks by seeing a trained and experienced practitioner. Nonetheless, it is still very important to consider that something could go wrong.

Common Risks

However, these side effects are often nothing to worry about – and will usually clear within one to two weeks after treatment. If you have any concerns, we advise you to get in touch with your doctor. Some of the most common side effects include:

  • Bruising of the treated area
  • Swelling 
  • Redness of the skin 
  • Itching
  • Slight discomfort/pain around the treated area
  • Rash

All of these side effects are temporary and if they occur, they are quite easy to manage. They are also all usually apparent straight away although bruising or swelling can become more evident the morning after the treatment. Pain can be minimised with numbing cream. Generally, redness usually disappears quite soon after treatment.

Rare & Serious Risks

There are of course some very rare but much more serious complications of dermal fillers treatments such as:

  • Severe allergy
  • Skin or soft tissue infection
  • Occluding a blood vessel
  • Lumps and granulomas

Severe Allergies

The risk of severe allergies can be reduced by taking a medical history. This helps to assess the risk or likelihood of being allergic and careful monitoring during the procedure. If a severe allergy develops, this is usually spotted during the treatment and can be managed immediately. A good clinic should have an emergency protocol, equipment trained staff to properly manage an allergy if one develops. 


Generally, the risk of any skin infection can be reduced by cleansing the skin with an anti-microbial solution. In addition, the procedure should be performed under aseptic conditions. Signs of infection normally appear within a week of the injection if there is anything. This is why it is important to go to a clinic that can provide follow up. They will spot and treat any infection early on. 

Vascular Occlusion

Blocking a blood vessel is a rare but extremely serious risk of dermal fillers which can lead to skin death, cartilage loss in the nose and in upper face fillers, even blindness. You can reduce these risks by seeing experienced medical practitioners like doctors and dentists who have knowledge of facial anatomy and use techniques to reduce the risk of blocking a blood vessel. They are also able to monitor for any signs of occlusion during and after the procedure and administer hyaluronidase injections in an emergency if there is any concern about occlusion in order to try and resolve it. 

Lumps and granulomas

These are not common but if they occur it is usually weeks or months after treatment. They are normally due to an inflammatory reaction. Lumps can often be massaged to resolve although targeted correction with hyaluronidase injection may be needed to soften them and break them up. Granulomas are rarer than lumps but if they occur usually needed treatment with hyaluronidase injections usually alongside antibiotics and steroids. 

Long-Term Effects Of Dermal Fillers

If an experienced and qualified injector does not carry out your dermal filler procedure, it can lead to some potential long-term effects. Patients may notice persistent lumps or nodules and even scarring. Improperly placed or inappropriately chosen filler can also migrate to surrounding areas and persist in these to cause swelling and an unnatural appearance. For example, in areas like the lips, lip filler migration can create an artificial ledge around the mouth and a “duck-pout” appearance. Worst of all, poor injection technique and low quality//unregulated fillers can also lead to persistent inflammation and scar tissue formation.

Improper use of dermal filler can also result in allergic reactions, infections, swelling and embolism. However, a qualified doctor has the experience to administer dermal filler whilst minimising the risk of negative consequences. We always recommend that you do your research on your chosen clinic. You should always ensure that you are in the hands of experienced professionals, like our team at City Skin Clinic.

Top Tips For Choosing Dermal Fillers Treatments

The most important thing to do before having dermal fillers treatments is to do your research. Firstly, spend a little time thinking of the top 2-3 things you would like to achieve with the treatment. This will help you place a limit on what you have done initially and make sure that if you have a treatment it will address your main concerns and goals.

Budgeting for Dermal Fillers

Place a comfortable budget for yourself and a maximum you’re able to spend. This is important because sometimes you can only achieve certain results with multiple treatments or a combination of Botox and fillers. Hence, if that is out of your budget, it may be best to hold off treatment. That way you won’t end up having a less optimal treatment and then get disappointed with the outcome. Also, appreciate that these treatments are not and should not be cheap. The cost of having a treatment by a skilled and experienced doctor, in a clean and professional clinic using top quality filler is high. Steer clear of cheap options where the cost-cutting is likely to be due to a reduction in the quality of the person, product and/or clinic.

Prioritise Your Safety

Safety is also paramount. You can minimise the complications and side effects of dermal fillers by using the correct product and going to a qualified and skilled doctor. You should also look for somewhere that places an emphasis on safety and offers follow up as part of the treatment. They should also offer hyalase should you need to dissolve the treatment because of an allergy, asymmetry or you don’t like the outcome.

Choose Someone You Trust

Finally, at the consultation make sure that you feel comfortable. It is important that they encourage you to ask questions. Also, every effort should be made to assess your medical history as well as aesthetic concerns and goals. There should not be any coercion or attempt at encouraging you to have treatment straight away if you want to take your time and consider the options. 

Remember, dermal fillers are popular because when done well they can help enhance and revive the appearance of your skin. They are safe and effective as long as you select the correct provider. Additionally, they should make every effort to minimise risks. They will also work with you to address your concerns and follow you up to ensure that you are well and satisfied.

UPDATE: We’re moving our aesthetic services online!

We’re excited to announce that due to popular demand we have decided to focus on expanding our online skin services! Unfortunately, this means that we’re no longer accepting new patients for aesthetic treatments including dermal filers at our clinic in London. However, we are welcoming new clients to our online skin clinic. Through this we offer anti-ageing treatments under the care of our aesthetic skin doctors. Book a virtual consultation today to start 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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