12 Dos & Don’ts of Dermal Fillers – explained by an Aesthetic Doctor

12 Dos & Don’ts of Dermal Fillers – explained by an Aesthetic Doctor

by Dr Tracey Garner

Dermal fillers have taken the world by storm. They are the ideal non-invasive way to improve facial contour, balance, and the early signs of ageing. We love them because they have little downtime and may be used over time to keep you looking naturally young. There are, however, some very important dos and don’ts to consider before and after your dermal filler treatment.

Table of contents

  2. 7 Things to Do to Ensure a Successful Dermal Filler Treatment
  3. 5 Things Not to Do when it comes to Dermal Filler Injections


Dermal fillers are substances that can be injected under the skin to restore volume and smooth out wrinkles. Their uses are far more than just skin-deep as they can also provide deep support, contour, and a lifted appearance and can also be used to balance facial features and improve symmetry. In experienced hands, dermal fillers can also strengthen or weaken muscles in order to naturally restore facial function.

Most dermal fillers contain Hyaluronic acid (HA) – a complex sugar that is found throughout the body. HA is especially found in the skin and subcutaneous layers, where it provides hydration and structure to the skin. When injected, HA fillers are stable in the skin as they are cross-linked (or chemically stabilised) in order to provide longer-lasting volume and regeneration. They can also integrate into the normal tissue which ensures natural results. The beauty of HA is that it provides immediate results with little to no downtime. It can be dissolved by injecting an enzyme under the skin, and therefore any unwanted results or side effects can usually be treated quite easily.

Now, let’s talk about the dos and don’ts of dermal fillers, before and after your treatment.

7 Things to Do to Ensure a Successful Dermal Filler Treatment

Dermal fillers provide immediate results with little to no downtime and it has become common practice to quickly have a facial filler any time you need a boost. The truth is that fillers are registered medical devices that also carry the risk of unwanted effects and serious side effects. When you embark on your filler journey, it is essential that you are aware of a few vital things.

Consult with a certified aesthetic doctor that you can trust

You should only ever have filler injections done by an aesthetic doctor in a registered medical practice. Your aesthetic doctor should go through your medical history and treatment needs before determining a treatment plan. You should be fully informed of possible side effects and complications, and you should also be offered other potential solutions to your concerns. Over and above this, you should also be given time to consider your options, get a clear treatment plan and quote, and be given the opportunity to ask questions.

Your aesthetic doctor should guide you in the process and give you time to make educated decisions.

Remember, medical aesthetics is a rapidly expanding field and requires years of experience and ongoing learning to master. Ensure that the doctor you are going to visit is a qualified medical doctor with training and experience in facial aesthetics.

Your consultation should take place in a registered medical practice and should involve an in-depth consultation before any work is done. It is vital to share your whole medical history to ensure that you receive the best treatment recommendations for your unique needs as some disorders may be a contra-indication to dermal filler treatments, and your safety should be the number one priority!

Once your doctor has assessed your unique situation, needs, and desires, they will be able to best advise you on the ideal treatment plan.

Make sure you understand the procedure

Take the time to understand what your dermal filler procedure entails.  During your initial consultation, your doctor should explain the process to you, including what to do before and after your treatment, the injection technique to be used, the expected results, and any potential side effects. Understanding the procedure helps you make an informed decision and manage your expectations.

On the actual day of your dermal filler treatment, you will be asked to wash your face and gargle in a prep room. This helps to reduce the risk of infection and long-term nodule formation. At the time of your treatment, your doctor will confirm your procedure with you and ensure that you currently have no contra-indications. Then she will sterilise your skin and spend time marking the areas to be treated. This ensures accuracy and safety when injecting. Once everything is ready the procedure will take place. Your doctor may apply a topical anaesthetic if you are having lip filler. During and after your procedure some molding or shaping of the filler may be done and ice or pressure may be applied.

Follow pre-procedure instructions to the “t”

Your doctor/clinic should always send you pre-procedure instructions in advance of your treatment. It is important to go through them carefully and follow them to the “t”. By following the pre-procedure guidelines, you can minimise the potential for complications and optimise your results.

These instructions may include things such as avoiding certain medications and alcohol, as they can increase the risk of bruising and swelling, and therefore impact your experience and results.

Embrace a “gradual, less is more” approach to dermal filler injections

A gradual approach to dermal filler injections is always recommended for optimal results. At our practice, we always embrace the “less is more” philosophy, as it allows for a natural-looking outcome and reduces the risk of overfilling and exaggerated results.

It is better to start with a conservative amount of filler and add more in subsequent sessions if needed. This approach also provides the flexibility to adjust your next treatment, based on your preferences, and will allow you to reduce the signs of ageing gradually and gracefully.

Get help assessing your skin type

What does your skin type have to do with dermal fillers? Well, your skin type and structure play a role in the choice of dermal filler and the kind of results you can expect. Different types of dermal fillers may be suitable for different skin types and concerns.

During an aesthetic consultation at our practice, our specialists assess your skin type, as well as analyse its health, texture, and elasticity. By understanding your skin type and structural needs, your doctor can then tailor your treatment plan to address your unique needs, ensuring the best possible outcome.

Embrace sun protection leading up to and after your treatment

Protecting your skin from the sun is crucial both before and after your dermal filler treatment. In the first few days after your filler treatment, filler is heat sensitive and so anything that can increase the temperature of the body or skin should be avoided such as direct sun exposure and exercise.

UV rays can accelerate the aging process, leading to skin discoloration, uneven texture, and wrinkles. Prioritise sun protection by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF daily (we recommend the Heliocare range), wearing protective clothing, and seeking shade when the sun is at its strongest.

By protecting your skin from sun damage, you can maintain the results of your dermal filler treatment and prevent any potential harm.

Stick to your follow-up appointments

Regular follow-up appointments with your aesthetic doctor are important for assessing the results of your dermal filler treatment and adjusting the treatment plan as needed to ensure that you maintain and even improve your results over the years. These appointments also serve as an opportunity to monitor any side effects or complications. If you have any concerns or are dissatisfied with the outcomes, discuss them with your aesthetic doctor during your follow-up visits.

By maintaining regular follow-ups, you can ensure the best possible outcome and address any issues promptly.

Stay hydrated before and after your dermal filler treatment

Hydration is essential for optimum skin health, including before and after a dermal filler treatment. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers work best when the skin is well-hydrated, as one of their key features is that they provide volume by absorbing water. Not only will adequate hydration ensure optimal results, but it will also ensure that you feel well during and after your treatment.

Make sure to stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water – good hydration habits contribute to overall skin appearance and help maintain the longevity of your filler results.

5 Things Not to Do when it comes to Dermal Filler Injections

While there are several important tips to follow for successful dermal filler treatments, there are also some common mistakes to avoid. Avoiding these 5 things can help minimize risks and ensure a safe and effective treatment.

Do not skip the aftercare instructions

Adhering to the aftercare instructions provided by your doctor is crucial for optimal results and a smooth recovery. These instructions may include avoiding intense physical activity, excessive sunlight exposure, and certain skincare products. Neglecting post-care instructions can impact the results of your dermal filler treatment and your overall health, and may also lead to the development of complications such as filler swelling or dermal filler migration.

It is also important to be patient and allow your body to heal naturally, as rushing the recovery process can lead to complications and affect your treatment outcome.

Do not disregard potential risks and complications 

Although dermal fillers are generally safe, there are potential risks and side effects associated with any procedure. It is important not to disregard these risks, especially if you have a specific medical history or existing health conditions.

Discuss any medical conditions, concerns, or potential risks with your doctor before undergoing treatment. Being well-informed about the procedure and its potential risks contributes to a safer and more satisfying treatment experience.

Don’t choose based on price alone

Choosing a dermal filler or provider solely based on cost can be risky. High-quality and safe treatment may reflect in the price, as it involves the expertise of an experienced professional and the use of reliable products. Compromising on quality to save money may result in poor outcomes or even complications. Additionally, undergoing excessive dermal filler treatments in a short period can increase the risk of overfilling and undesirable results.

Should you have a poor filler outcome due to a poorly placed product or poor product choice, you may have to miss work or public engagements. The emotional distress that can result from a poor aesthetic outcome is a road worth not venturing down. If you need to have your filler dissolved you will endure extra expenses and risks, and you would do far better to choose a reputable aesthetic doctor to do your treatment well the first time around.

Allow enough time between treatments to evaluate the results and avoid overcorrection. Working with a qualified and experienced professional who can guide you on appropriate treatment intervals is crucial.

Avoid unrealistic expectations

It is important to set realistic expectations about what dermal fillers and facial injections can achieve. While they can effectively address volume loss and certain types of wrinkles, they may not be suitable for addressing major skin sagging or deep-set wrinkles. Understanding the limitations of dermal fillers is essential to avoid disappointment.

Dermal fillers are a tool for enhancement and improvement, not total transformation. Having a healthy self-image and realistic expectations contribute to a more satisfying treatment experience.

Don’t ignore unusual side effects

Although adverse reactions are rare with dermal fillers, it is crucial not to ignore any unusual side effects. If you experience prolonged swelling, unusual pain, skin discoloration, widespread bruising, visual changes, or any other severe reactions, it is important to promptly report them to your aesthetic doctor. While minor side effects such as temporary swelling or bruising are common and usually resolve on their own, severe reactions may require immediate medical attention. Your doctor can assess the situation and provide appropriate guidance or treatment if needed.


Following these guidelines is essential to ensuring a safe treatment experience and achieving the best possible results with your facial dermal fillers.

In summary, always start with an in-depth consultation with a certified and experienced aesthetic doctor. Make sure you understand your upcoming procedure and follow all pre- and post-procedure instructions. Then; stay hydrated, wear a good sunscreen, follow a healthy lifestyle, and maintain regular follow-ups to maximise the benefits of your dermal fillers. Embracing a gradual approach with your aesthetic doctor will deliver natural results that will keep you looking gracefully young.

If you’re considering dermal fillers, contact our team at Dr. Nerina Wilkinson + Associates to book a consultation. Our experienced team of aesthetic doctors will provide personalised care and help you achieve your aesthetic goals while prioritising your safety and satisfaction.

Written by Dr Tracey Garner