Site Logotype
Dermal Fillers

How Do Fillers Work?

Facial fillers have become increasingly popular in recent years as a non-surgical way to rejuvenate the skin and combat the signs of aging. These injectable treatments promise to restore volume, smooth wrinkles, and enhance facial contours. But have you ever wondered how fillers work their magic? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the science behind facial fillers, their various uses, potential side effects, and what you should consider before getting them.

Understanding Facial Fillers

Facial fillers, also known as dermal fillers or soft tissue fillers, are gel-like substances injected beneath the skin’s surface to restore lost volume, soften wrinkles, and enhance facial features. They are primarily composed of hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite, or poly-L-lactic acid, each offering unique properties and benefits.

The Science of Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are the most common type used in cosmetic procedures. HA is a naturally occurring substance in the body, responsible for maintaining skin hydration and volume. As we age, our HA levels diminish, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles.

HA fillers work by replenishing this lost HA. When injected into the skin, they attract and bind water molecules, creating a plumping effect. This not only adds volume but also hydrates the skin from within, resulting in a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite and Poly-L-lactic Acid

Calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) fillers function differently. CaHA stimulates collagen production, a crucial protein responsible for skin elasticity and firmness. As the filler is gradually absorbed by the body, the newly formed collagen continues to support the treated area, providing long-lasting results.

PLLA fillers, on the other hand, work by encouraging the body to produce its own collagen. This gradual collagen stimulation leads to a subtle but natural-looking improvement in skin texture and volume over time.

Common Uses of Facial Fillers

Facial fillers are incredibly versatile and can address various cosmetic concerns. Some of their common uses include:

Smoothing Wrinkles and Fine Lines

Fillers are often used to soften and smooth wrinkles and fine lines, particularly those around the eyes, mouth, and forehead. They provide an immediate rejuvenating effect, making the skin appear plumper and more youthful.

Restoring Volume

As we age, we tend to lose volume in certain areas of the face, such as the cheeks, temples, and under the eyes. Fillers can restore this lost volume, creating a more youthful and refreshed look.

Enhancing Lip Shape and Fullness

Lip fillers are a popular choice for those looking to enhance the shape and fullness of their lips. They can create a subtle or more dramatic change, depending on the patient’s preferences.

Contouring and Sculpting

Facial fillers can be used to contour and sculpt the face, defining features such as the chin, jawline, and cheeks. This can create a more balanced and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Treating Acne Scars and Skin Depressions

Some fillers are suitable for improving the appearance of acne scars and other skin depressions. By filling in these indentations, fillers can make the skin’s surface smoother and more even.

Preparing for Your Filler Treatment

Consultation with a Qualified Practitioner

Before anything else, schedule a consultation with a qualified and experienced practitioner. During this consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your goals, concerns, and expectations. Your practitioner will assess your skin, recommend the appropriate type of filler, and create a personalized treatment plan. It’s crucial to choose a practitioner who is skilled in administering filler treatments and has a solid track record of patient satisfaction.

Share Your Medical History

Be prepared to provide your practitioner with a detailed medical history. Inform them about any medical conditions you have, medications you’re currently taking (including over-the-counter drugs and supplements), and any allergies you may have. This information will help your practitioner determine if you are a suitable candidate for filler treatment and if any precautions need to be taken.

Avoid Certain Medications and Supplements

Your practitioner may advise you to avoid specific medications and supplements in the days leading up to your treatment. Some substances can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. Common items to avoid may include:

Aspirin and other blood-thinning medications

These can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding. Your practitioner may recommend stopping them a few days before treatment.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Drugs like ibuprofen can have similar effects to aspirin, so it’s best to avoid them prior to your appointment.

Herbal supplements

Some herbal supplements can also affect bleeding and bruising, so consult with your practitioner about which ones to avoid.

Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Balanced Diet

Leading up to your filler treatment, it’s essential to stay well-hydrated and maintain a balanced diet. Proper hydration can help your body recover more efficiently after the procedure. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can also promote healing and skin health.

Avoid Alcohol and Smoking

Alcohol and smoking can negatively impact your body’s ability to heal. In the days leading up to your treatment, it’s advisable to abstain from alcohol and refrain from smoking. These substances can increase the risk of complications and affect the longevity of your filler results.

Plan for Downtime

While there is usually little to no downtime associated with filler treatments, it’s a good idea to plan for some rest and relaxation after your appointment. You may experience mild swelling, redness, or bruising at the injection sites, and it’s normal for these side effects to subside within a few days. Plan your schedule accordingly to give your body time to recover.

Arrive with a Clean Face

On the day of your treatment, arrive with a clean face, free of makeup, lotions, or sunscreen. Your practitioner will clean the treatment area thoroughly before the procedure to reduce the risk of infection.

Discuss Any Last-Minute Concerns

Before the treatment begins, take the opportunity to discuss any last-minute concerns or questions with your practitioner. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the procedure and what to expect during and after.

The Treatment Process

Getting facial fillers is a straightforward process typically performed in a medical office. Here’s what you can expect during the procedure:

Cleansing and Numbing

The treatment area will be cleansed, and a topical numbing cream or local anesthetic may be applied to minimize discomfort during the injections.


Using a fine needle, the filler is injected into the predetermined treatment areas. The number of injections and amount of filler used will depend on the desired results and the type of filler chosen.

Massage and Evaluation

After the injections, the practitioner may gently massage the treated areas to ensure the filler is evenly distributed. They will then evaluate the results to determine if any additional filler is needed.


There is little to no downtime associated with filler treatments. Some redness, swelling, or bruising may occur at the injection sites, but these side effects are usually mild and temporary.

Potential Side Effects and Considerations

While facial fillers are generally safe, they are not without potential side effects and considerations:

Common Side Effects

Temporary Bruising

Bruising at the injection site is common but usually fades within a few days.


Mild swelling may occur, especially in the first 24-48 hours post-treatment.


Some redness at the injection sites is normal and typically resolves quickly.

Rare Side Effects


Although rare, there is a risk of infection at the injection site.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to fillers are uncommon but possible.

Nodule Formation

In some cases, small nodules may develop under the skin and may require further treatment.


Results Are Temporary

The effects of fillers are not permanent and typically last 6 months to 2 years, depending on the type of filler used.


To maintain results, you may need periodic touch-up treatments.

Choose a Qualified Practitioner

Ensure your treatment is performed by a qualified and experienced medical professional to minimize risks.


Facial fillers offer a minimally invasive way to enhance your appearance and combat the signs of aging. Understanding how different fillers work and their various uses is essential for making an informed decision. If you’re considering facial fillers, consult with a reputable practitioner to discuss your goals, expectations, and the most suitable treatment options for you. With proper care and guidance, you can achieve a more youthful and refreshed look while preserving your natural beauty.

Tatyana Dyachenko
Latest posts by Tatyana Dyachenko (see all)