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Dermal Fillers

How To Reduce Swelling After Getting Face Fillers

Explore the phenomenon of swelling after cosmetic fillers in our comprehensive guide. Learn about the factors contributing to post-filler swelling, discover immediate aftercare practices to manage it, and gain insights into the role of hydration, nutrition, and supplementary remedies.

Cosmetic fillers have revolutionized the world of aesthetics, offering a non-surgical route to enhancing facial features, restoring volume, and reducing the signs of aging. However, as with any cosmetic procedure, understanding the intricacies of the treatment process and its potential effects is essential for those considering or undergoing such treatments. Among the range of considerations, the phenomenon of swelling after receiving fillers stands as a common and intriguing aspect that demands exploration. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the realm of swelling after cosmetic fillers, unraveling the factors contributing to its occurrence, discussing immediate aftercare practices to mitigate it, and addressing the role of hydration, nutrition, and supplementary remedies. While swelling is often a natural and expected response, it’s important to differentiate between the norm and instances where professional evaluation is necessary.

What Are Facial Fillers?

Dermal fillers are a type of cosmetic treatment that involves injecting various substances under the skin to add volume, restore youthful contours, and minimize the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and folds. They are commonly used in aesthetic medicine to enhance facial features and create a more rejuvenated appearance. Dermal fillers are a non-surgical option for those seeking cosmetic improvements without the downtime associated with surgery.

Dermal fillers can be made from different materials, each with its own unique properties and uses. Some common types of dermal fillers include Hyaluronic Acid fillers (HA Fillers), Calcium Hydroxylapatite fillers, Poly-L-Lactic Acid fillers and Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) fillers.

Dermal filler treatments are usually performed in a clinical setting by trained healthcare professionals, such as dermatologists, plastic surgeons, or skilled injectors. The procedure typically involves injecting the chosen filler into targeted areas using a fine needle or cannula. The results are usually noticeable immediately, and the effects can last from several months to over a year, depending on the type of filler used and the individual’s metabolism.

What Causes Swelling After Fillers?

Swelling after receiving cosmetic fillers is a common and expected side effect. It occurs due to a combination of factors related to the injection process, the filler material itself, and the body’s natural response to the treatment. Here’s an overview of what causes swelling after fillers:

Injection Trauma

The act of injecting a foreign substance under the skin can cause some degree of trauma to the tissue. This trauma triggers the body’s inflammatory response, leading to swelling, redness, and sometimes even mild bruising.

Filler Material

The filler substance itself can contribute to swelling. Fillers are typically composed of hyaluronic acid, collagen, or other materials that attract water. These substances can draw in water from the surrounding tissues, leading to temporary swelling at the injection site.

Inflammatory Response

The body’s immune system responds to the presence of the filler material as it would to any foreign substance. This immune response includes releasing inflammatory molecules and increasing blood flow to the area, resulting in swelling.

Injection Technique

The technique used by the injector can also influence the extent of swelling. If too much filler is injected in a specific area or if the injection is done too superficially, it can lead to more pronounced swelling.

Individual Variability

Each individual’s body reacts differently to filler injections. Some people are more prone to swelling due to genetic factors, skin type, and overall health.

Location of Injection

The area where the filler is injected can impact the degree of swelling. Areas with thinner skin, such as the lips and under the eyes, are more susceptible to noticeable swelling.

Post-Treatment Care

How you care for the treated area after receiving fillers can influence the extent of swelling. Following post-treatment instructions, such as applying cold compresses and avoiding vigorous exercise, can help minimize swelling.

Immediate Aftercare Tips to Reduce Swelling After Fillers

Elevating and Resting

Elevating the treated area, especially your head and face, helps to facilitate fluid drainage away from the injection sites. This can reduce the accumulation of excess fluid and minimize swelling. When you elevate the head, you’re assisting the body’s natural lymphatic drainage system, which helps remove waste and toxins from the tissues.

Resting after receiving fillers allows your body to direct its resources towards the healing process. Physical exertion, strenuous activities, and excessive movement can increase blood flow to the treated area, potentially exacerbating swelling and delaying the healing process. Resting gives your body the opportunity to focus on repairing and recovering from the injection procedure.

Hydration and Nutrition

Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health and healing. Hydration helps maintain proper blood circulation, supports the function of your body’s lymphatic system (which helps remove waste and toxins), and assists in tissue repair. Eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet can provide your body with the necessary building blocks for tissue repair and healing. Nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein are particularly important during recovery.

Avoiding Certain Activities

After receiving cosmetic fillers, there are certain activities you should avoid to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Strenuous activities, hot environments, alcohol consumption, facial treatments and  sleeping face down can exacerbate swelling, increase the risk of bruising, and potentially affect the results of your treatment. 

Using Over-the-Counter Medications

Using over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be helpful in managing mild discomfort, swelling, and pain after receiving cosmetic fillers, but it’s important to exercise caution and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.  You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol), antihistamines, and paracetamol. 

Arnica and Bromelain Supplements

Arnica is an herbal remedy derived from the Arnica montana plant. This cream has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, essential for reducing bruising, swelling, and pain associated with injuries, surgeries, and various skin conditions. Bromelain is an enzyme extracted from pineapple stems and juice. Bromelain may have anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce swelling and inflammation.

Massaging Techniques

Massaging techniques can be used to help distribute filler evenly, reduce the risk of irregularities, and promote healing after receiving cosmetic fillers. However, it’s important to note that not all areas require or should be massaged, and proper technique is crucial to avoid disrupting the filler placement. Before touching your face, make sure your hands are clean to avoid introducing bacteria or contaminants.

Massaging is typically recommended after the initial swelling has subsided, which is usually a few days after the procedure. Avoid massaging too early to prevent disrupting the filler placement. Use gentle, controlled pressure when massaging. Avoid pressing too hard, as excessive pressure can lead to displacement of the filler.

Also, you should use upward strokes and light taps. This can help encourage even distribution of the filler and prevent it from settling in one area. In some cases, circular motions with very light pressure can be used to help blend the filler. However, this technique should only be employed under your provider’s guidance.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While some degree of swelling is normal after receiving cosmetic fillers, there are certain situations in which you should seek medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms or conditions, it’s advisable to contact your healthcare provider or the medical professional who administered the fillers for guidance and evaluation:

Excessive Swelling

If the swelling seems excessive, disproportionate, or significantly worsens over time, it could be a sign of an abnormal reaction or complication.

Severe Pain

Intense or worsening pain that is not improving with time may indicate a potential issue that requires medical evaluation.


If you notice significant differences in swelling between the treated area and the untreated side of your face, it’s important to have it assessed by a healthcare provider to rule out any irregularities.

Signs of Infection

If you experience increased redness, warmth, tenderness, or the development of pus at the injection site, it could indicate an infection and should be addressed promptly.

Allergic Reactions

If you notice symptoms such as hives, itching, difficulty breathing, or swelling in other areas of the body after receiving fillers, seek immediate medical attention as these could be signs of an allergic reaction.

Changes in Skin Color

Unusual changes in skin color, such as excessive redness or bluish discoloration, may warrant medical evaluation.


If you develop a fever along with swelling, it could be indicative of an infection or other complication and should be assessed by a healthcare provider.

Persistent Swelling

If the swelling persists beyond the expected recovery period and shows no signs of improvement, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider.

Unexplained Symptoms

If you experience any other unexpected or concerning symptoms that you believe might be related to the filler treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to a medical professional.


Swelling is a common and expected side effect resulting from a combination of factors including the injection process, the type of filler used, individual variations, and the body’s natural response to the treatment. While swelling can be temporary and part of the natural healing process, it’s important to be aware of when to seek medical attention to ensure optimal recovery and results. Post-treatment care plays a pivotal role in managing swelling and promoting a smooth recovery. Following healthcare provider instructions is paramount. Incorporating immediate aftercare practices such as cold compresses, head elevation, gentle facial massage (when recommended), and rest can help minimize initial swelling and enhance comfort. Avoiding activities like strenuous exercise, alcohol consumption, and sun exposure during the initial recovery period can further aid in mitigating swelling.

Tatyana Dyachenko
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