Thinking of having dermal filler post lockdown? Here are the facts, with expert advice on how to do it safely.

With lockdown restrictions easing and after a year that many feel has significantly ‘aged’ them, more people are considering having an aesthetic treatment. Not only those who have previously had a cosmetic procedure but also people who have never had one and have now noticed the tell-tale signs of aging after spending so much time on Zoom calls. However, it is important to choose your practitioner, treatment, product used and timing of treatment wisely.

After the first lockdown in July 2020, figures from the Aesthetic Complications Expert Group (ACE), the organisation responsible for supporting medical practitioners in the management of non-surgical aesthetic complications, handled a large increase in the number of complications as practitioners returned to their clinics.

Of all of the complications reported:

⦁ 80% of incidents occurred where the practitioner had less than 12 months’ experience.
⦁ 80% of practitioners where incidents were involved were only giving treatments one day a week.
⦁ 53% of incidents occurred on lips.
⦁ 32% of complications were on the midface.

Internationally accredited and award-winning aesthetics expert Dr. Martyn King, owner of Cosmedic Skin Clinic, Founder of ACE Group, Vice Chair of the the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and Brand Ambassador of UTH, said:

“As clinics re-opened and treatments resumed, the number of complications seemed to soar to a record high. I believe this was in part due to the sudden demand for treatment and due to less experienced practitioners restarting treatments after a few months break.”

The majority of complications that required assistance in their management were following lip augmentation treatments with problems including poor results, bruising, lumps and nodules, swelling and impairment of the blood supply to the lip area.

So, what steps can be taken to reduce the risk of a complication occurring?

Dr. King has the following advice:

⦁ Do your research – always thoroughly research your treatment and practitioner and be sure to choose one that is a member of a professional organisation, such as the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, the Aesthetic Complications Expert Group or the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners. Do not rely on social media posts as these are not necessarily reflective of the practitioner and may contain misleading or inaccurate content. The Aesthetic Complications Expert Group has a ‘Find A Practitioner’ map which you can use to find a clinic local to you. https://uk.acegroup.online/map/.

⦁ Ask questions – prior to your consultation, you should have a good understanding of the treatment you are considering and know what questions you should ask. Do not be afraid to ask questions, certainly at my own clinic, I welcome questions and it helps to ensure that patients know exactly what the treatment involves, potential side-effects and risks and that expectations are met. I strongly recommend that patients read the patient information leaflets produced the Aesthetic Complications Expert Group (uk.acegroup.online/leaflets/), as these are written for patients, using non-medical terminology and are non-promotional.

⦁ Make sure they are asking the right questions – to minimise risk, patients should look for their chosen practitioner to take a full medical history, including previous COVID-19 infection and vaccination dates. Treatment should not take place until a full medical history has been taken, a consent form signed, and aftercare advice provided. If this is not offered to you, be cautious about attending for treatment.

⦁ Know your products – When choosing a dermal filler product there are a few things to consider – what type of filler will be used, has it been sourced responsibly from the manufacturer or reputable pharmacy, what is the safety profile for the product, how long will it last for, what fillers in the range are suitable for treating what areas? I believe the newly launched ⦁ UTH range provides aesthetic practitioners with everything they need in its range to deliver safe, effective and long-lasting results across the spectrum of patient needs. Practitioners and patients should be looking for product ranges comprising of the highest quality raw hyaluronic acid material. Another advantage is that UTH dermal fillers are manufactured using glass syringes so there is no potential contamination of the filler from chemicals which may occur with a plastic syringe.

⦁ Get the timing right – this point is not just in reference to lockdown easing, but also you will need to think about when your COVID-19 immunisation will take place. Although current evidence is limited, the ACE Group and I recommend that practitioners should not be performing soft tissue filler treatments either two weeks before or three weeks after COVID-19 vaccination due to a slight risk of problematic swelling and nodule formation. This guidance would apply to all current COVID-19 vaccinations.