When people make appointments with qualified medical practitioners to get fillers, there’s usually only one “after” they’re picturing: smoother, plumper skin. For the most part, this is what they get. But when patients sit down in Dr. Mike Roskies’ office for their first appointment, they’re presented with a long list of other, less desirable after-effects, too.
Roskies is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon and the medical director of SpaMedica in Toronto. In an ordinary, non-quarantined week, he sees about 25 to 100 patients for injectable fillers, and patients range in age from their teens to their eighties. Each patient gets “The Talk” about what to expect when they leave Roskies’ office. He says thanks to Instagram and other social channels, the taboo around getting these procedures has been lowered and the results overexposed to such a degree that people approach fillers a little too casually, without considering the aftereffects. “People need to treat this like a medical procedure with a medical risk; it’s not like going for a manicure,” he says.
While people used to wait until they saw visible signs of aging to act, many in their late twenties and early thirties are now hitting up doctors’ offices as a preventative measure. Roskies says most people want to enhance what they’ve already got instead of trying to build whole new features. For the most part, people are using hyaluronic acid fillers, the same component found in many topical skin care products designed for anti-aging and skin plumping.
There are, however, three categories of filler: permanent, semi-permanent, and non-permanent. The one you choose affects your outcome. Permanent fillers are made of silicone. Though silicone is safe for procedures like breast augmentation, Roskies says clients should steer clear of it for anything related to the face because anything that goes awry is not easily fixable. Semi-permanent fillers are made out of products like Sculptra, which stimulates collagen production in the injected area. While the filler itself doesn’t stay in your system, its effects last a lifetime. Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is non-permanent. Composed of a sugar molecule which is also produced naturally in the body, it generally dissolves and is excreted by the body in six to nine months. And if a client wants to get rid of it sooner, the area can be injected with an enzyme which will dissolve the filler completely within two hours.