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I’m beginning to notice a theme setting in now I’m reaching an age where my face has stopped loving me as much as it did. Seemingly, my friends are also at a similar stage in their faces’ lives and for the second time in as many weeks I went to see a friend who has been to the Doctors Laser Clinic and had some treatments. She had some fillers done in a couple of areas on her face by our very own Dr Malcolm Willis. She looks fantastic, which encouraged me to find out more about them.

It’s suggested that the sale of dermal fillers is going to increase by 13% in the next four years –
which will mean there are lot more of us walking around with some form of synthetic or man-made material in our faces. So, my question had to be: is it safe?

And the answer, seemingly, is easy: in the right hands, yes – in the wrong hands, NO.

How do fillers work?

Fillers are used in areas of the face to plump up sagging bits or to fill out deep wrinkles. They can plump lips, enhance shallow contours and improve the appearance of scars as well as reducing the signs of ageing in hands.

There are two different types of fillers: permanent and non-permanent. The Doctor’s Laser Clinic use the non-permanent Radiesse and the Belotero range of natural HA fillers which gets resorbed into the body after 6-18 months. It’s simply injected into the skin right at the heart of the problem area.

All of which sounds simple and straight forward. Because it is. But it can go wrong when bad
fillers are used by people with a lack of training and understanding.

What goes wrong

Lots. We’ve all seen examples of bad lip fillers (charmingly called the “trout pout”), one of the most famous being Leslie Ash. As we age, our lips often become thinner and to correct this, she set out to get fillers. Instead of having a proper filler, she had an injection of liquid silicon; as well as being potentially life threatening, this resulted in the disastrous over-sized lip that took quite a bit of correcting.

Outside of the celebrity scene, though there are other, more common perils.

With the popularity of these relatively minor treatments, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of people offering fillers as a service. And this is where the problem lies. As an industry, it’s still relatively new which means there are a lot of issues around regulation – you could be given fillers by someone with as little as half a day on a training course and even worse than that, they could be using a product that’s been dubiously purchased with no guarantee of what it’s made of or the levels of testing to which it’s been subjected. This kind of practice has led to an increase in people with scarring or ending up with unsightly lumps under the skin that can only be removed by surgery (and other even worse outcomes).

But it’s really easy to avoid these sorts of problems if you go to a reputable practitioner who uses the best products which have been trialled and tested.

When fillers go right

Fillers can give your face (or hands) a brilliant new lease of life. When done by the right
professional you should see a subtle, natural looking change which gives you back some of your fresh and youthful glory (which, I now realise, we certainly didn’t appreciate anywhere near enough at the time).

When I saw my friend, I absolutely didn’t notice that she’d had any treatments. Neither did her husband or any of her other friends. But I did notice how good she was looking and it was only when I told her that she told me why she looked so good. On closer examination I still couldn’t tell – and neither can anyone else but they’re all telling her how great she looks…

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