Do Fillers Make Your Face Puffy?

There are a lot of things in this world that will make your face puffy: crying while watching The Notebook, seasonal allergies, and losing a fight with a bee hive. However, there is one specific question that many patients ask Dr. Qazi: Do fillers make your face puffy? 

How Do Fillers Work?

Fillers work in 2 ways: first, once injected, the material creates instant volume under the skin. This effect can balance the face, de-age the hands, fill in under-eye circles, plump the lips, and create contour. The second effect fillers have is boosting your body’s collagen production. This happens over the course of a few months after the injections. Collagen is a protein that is responsible for skin texture, so when the body makes more collagen, skin texture improves.

The purpose of dermal fillers is to create volume in the face, hands, and neck to improve the overall appearance. However, fillers can sometimes get a bad rep due to the phenomenon of “filler face” or “pillow face.” This occurs when the face becomes overly puffy after a patient receives fillers. 

Do Fillers Make Your Face Puffy?

In the short term, it is completely normal for the face to be a little swollen after getting dermal fillers. In the long term, fillers do not normally cause puffiness. However, there are rare cases where patients get unlucky or their fillers are improperly injected by an inexperienced esthetician. 

There are 3 situations where your face might become puffy after getting fillers. These scenarios are nothing to worry about, just something to be aware of. 

1. Swelling After Injection

A majority of puffiness occurs immediately after you get your fillers. This is completely normal. Think of it this way: your skin is surprised because the fillers are new, and your skin throws a temper tantrum for a few days before it gets used to the idea. 

When you get dermal fillers, you can expect a few days of light swelling and bruising. For most people, they clear up within a day or two. Even patients who are easy bruisers don’t report more than a week of swelling. 

In this case, the face puffiness after fillers is just temporary. It can be lessened by applying a cold compress to your face in 20 minute intervals. 

2. Fillers & Allergic Reactions

It is extremely rare, but it is possible for patients to experience an allergic reaction to fillers. Incidences of bad reactions to hyaluronic acid fillers only occur in 0.02% of cases. It is slightly less rare for patients to be allergic to the anesthetic that comes mixed in with most brands of filler. For this reason, if you have a history of allergic reactions to anesthetic, it is very important that you notify Dr. Qazi during your consultation

The good news is that most allergic reactions will be immediate and very obvious. If you start experiencing itchiness, rash, excessive swelling, and redness while in the treatment room, Dr. Qazi will be able to act fast to address the reaction.

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    If you have an allergic reaction after you leave the office, it can be treated with an antihistamine or a common allergy medication like Medrol. In most cases, it is possible to treat the allergic reaction to lessen symptoms and not have to dissolve or remove the fillers. 

    It is highly unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to your fillers. The best way to tell the difference between normal swelling and allergic reaction swelling is to look for additional symptoms such as itchiness, changes to skin color, and the development of a nodule near the treatment area. 

    3. Over Injection (AKA Pillow Face)

    The only other scenario in which your face may become puffy is if too much filler is injected. This is usually referred to as “pillow face,” and we can all probably name a friend or an influencer who has fallen victim to over indulging in dermal fillers. 

    The good news is that pillow face is easy to avoid. All you have to do is: 

    • Make good choices about who you receive procedures from. As a rule of thumb, never get injected with fillers in a non-medical office setting. Only schedule appointments with experienced, board-certified cosmetic physicians like Dr. Nadir Qazi
    • Stay patient. If you don’t see immediate results, don’t go marching back to the office and demand more filler. If you do, you will end up looking like an Instagram filter gone wrong. Instead, just wait patiently for your results to show. If you still want creator contour, request a small increase when you go in for your follow up procedure. 
    • Never treat cosmetic procedures like a DIY project. If you want something to make yourself, go refurbish a chair. It is possible to buy dermal fillers online and inject them yourself, but this is a terrible idea because so many things could go wrong. Just don’t do it. Schedule an appointment at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic instead. 
    • Choose a cosmetic physician who believes in keeping results natural. Dr. Qazi’s philosophy is that the true beauty lies in subtlety and natural-looking results. The purpose of cosmetic procedures is to enhance the beauty that is already there, not turn you into someone you are not. 

    Should I Worry If My Face is Puffy After Fillers?

    Some puffiness after fillers is normal, it will go away within a few days. The only time you should be concerned is if your face is puffy, itchy, and you feel hot. If those symptoms occur, it is possible that you are having an allergic reaction. In that scenario, you should contact Qazi Cosmetic Clinic and Dr. Qazi can help you. 

    If your face is puffy for longer than a week, that probably means that your fillers were overdone. This is a common mistake for practitioners who are new to fillers or who don’t understand the art of subtlety.

    If you find yourself in this boat, you have 2 options: You can either wait it out until the fillers dissolve naturally, or you can have your fillers reversed at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic. However, not all fillers can be dissolved, so the second option is only available if your fillers are made up of hyaluronic acid. 

    The bottom line is that you really don’t need to worry about your face getting puffy from fillers.

    Getting puffy face from fillers is normally temporary and it heals relatively quickly. Having your face puff up as the result of a bad reaction is exceedingly rare. The only other way for fillers to make your face puffy is if you insist on doubling the normal amount or if another practitioner overfills. Generally, there is nothing to worry about when you get fillers 

    What Are the Different Types of Fillers?

    When patients ask “do fillers make your face puffy?” their second question is normally: “What is the best type of filler?” There are 4 types of fillers that each have their pros and cons. 

    1. Hyaluronic Acid – This is the material behind popular filler brands like Juvederm and Restylane. It is most commonly used to treat wrinkles, fine lines, and fill in areas that lose volume. Hyaluronic acid fillers typically last between 6 months and a year before the body naturally dissolves them.

    The biggest benefit of hyaluronic acid is that it can easily be reversed with an injection of hyaluronidase. This means if your practitioner overdid your fillers, your case of pillow face can be easily reversed at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic. 

    1. Calcium Hydroxylapatite – The brand name filler Radiesse uses calcium hydroxylapatite. It is best for creating contour, restoring volume in the cheeks, giving the jawline more dimension, and treating deep skin folds. The results last 1 to 3 years depending on the usage of the filler. 

    The biggest downside to this type of filler is that it cannot be reversed. At this time, there is no substance that will act as a dissolving agent for it the way that Hyaluronidase dissolves hyaluronic acid. Some initial research suggests that sodium thiosulfate shows promise as a reversal agent for Radiesse fillers, but it has yet to be tested thoroughly. 

    1. Poly-L-lactic Acid – This is one of the longest lasting types of fillers with results that can extend for up to 2 years. The brand name is Sculptra, and it is normally used to fill in volume in the face and hands that has been lost to aging. 

    Much like Radiesse, Sculptra cannot be dissolved prematurely. If you dislike your results from Sculptra fillers, your only option is to wait it out. 

    1. PMMAArtefill (also called Bellafill) is made up of microspheres of polymethyl methacrylate that are suspended in bovine collagen. It is a lost-lasting, nearly permanent filler because it cannot be dissolved by the body. 

    Artefill and Bellafill cannot be dissolved with a reversal agent, so they are not recommended for anyone except seasoned filler patients who are prepared for the results. 

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      The Best Way to Avoid Puffy Face with Fillers

      If you are worried about fillers making your face puffy, there are a few things that you can do to protect and prepare yourself ahead of time. 

      The most important consideration is to always be careful when booking procedures. You can avoid pillow face and other adverse side effects by properly vetting your cosmetic physician. Always read the reviews, examine the before & after photos, and check that the practitioner is board-certified. It can also be helpful to look at the practitioner’s work. If they tend to overfill lips and inject too much Botox, then it is probably best to pick someone else to do your fillers. 

      If you have concerns about the potential for an allergic reaction to fillers, it may be beneficial for you to get an allergy test. While it is unlikely that you will have an allergic reaction to the filler, that is definitely something that you would like to know ahead of time. 

      Finally, it is important to remember that a small amount of puffiness after fillers is completely normal. This is just part of the healing process as your skin adjusts to the new material. You can minimize swelling and bruising beforehand by quitting smoking, avoiding blood thinners, and limiting your sun exposure. 

      After the procedure, a cold compress can help bring down the swelling. An over-the-counter antihistamine, such as Benadryl, may also be beneficial to your recovery. Be sure to ask Dr Qazi about which medications and activities are safe for you after the procedure. 

      Is There an Alternative to Fillers?

      If you happen to be allergic to any of the ingredients in dermal fillers, you do have other options. For wrinkles and fine lines, RF microneedling can help smooth out your skin and restore your youth. If you want greater contour, sugar threading may be beneficial. 

      When it comes to treating lost volume, patients who can’t get fillers are normally advised to try a fat transfer. While this is a little more involved than dermal fillers, the procedure has no risk for allergic reaction because it uses your body’s own fat cells to create volume. 

      Do Fillers Make Your Face Puffy? Get Answers to All Your Burning Questions!

      The best thing you can do for your health is to ask lots of questions about procedures that you are considering. If you have questions about dermal fillers, schedule a consultation at Qazi Cosmetic Clinic to get more information. Dr. Qazi is happy to answer all your questions and to help you determine if fillers are right for you. 

      By: Dr. Nadir Qazi

      Dr. Nadir Qazi is a board certified physician specializing in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and an instructor for advanced injections and laser techniques.

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