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Fillers are a fantastic way to plump lips, or turn back time and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles – but, if you get bruising after fillers you’re not going to want to be showing off your new look immediately (trust me, been there, worn the T-shirt!) so, how can reduce your risk of bruising after lip fillers or dermal fillers – or at least get any bruises that do occur to fade faster? Here’s our expert guide…
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Is It Common to Bruise After Fillers?
It’s very, very common.
In one study looking into the incidence of bruising after injectables, it was found that between 19-24 per cent of people having fillers ended up with at least one bruise.
As I said when I wrote about tackling bruising after Botox before, I’ve had a lot more Botox jabs than I have fillers and while I’ve never bruised from Botox, I’ve had some big bruises after fillers – particularly when I have the marionette lines, the ones that run down from the sides of your mouth, treated.
Why Is Bruising From Fillers so Common?
According to Rachel Green, an aesthetic nursing practitioner from Evolve Medical in Leeds, there’s a few reasons why you’re more likely to get bruising after lip fillers, or dermal fillers, than Botox.
‘Areas, like lips, commonly treated with fillers can contain a lot of blood vessels. On top of this, the fillers needs to be positioned into different layers of the skin which makes it easier to catch a little blood vessel during the procedure,’ she told us.
How Bad is Bruising After Fillers?
I actually took a photo of my bruise after my last set of dermal fillers and it’s still on my phone, so this gives you an idea (admittedly, it’s not the best picture, but wasn’t aiming to put it on the internet!!).
I had my frown line filled and you can just see that’s a bit red – but it’s not bruised.
The splodge by my lip though was a bruise and it had a friend on the other side.
As you can see, it’s not that bad, but it did need some clever make up application the next day (more on that in a minute).
How to Prevent Bruising After Fillers or Lip Fillers
Let’s start by saying, not everyone bruises after fillers. I’ve had mine done and walked away without a mark, but as I’ve got older, I find I’m more likely to bruise.
This might be because my skin has got thinner, or because the lines are bigger, I’m not sure!.
A bruise occurs when something damages the capillaries under the skin – that something, in the case of fillers, being the needle, or filler, going into the area.
Blood then collects around the damage, and that’s what you see with a bruise. As your body clears away the debris, the bruise fades.
Are Any Types of Filler More Likely to Cause Bruising?
It doesn’t seem so – according to analysis, bruising and other side effects, are not down to the type of filler used, but can be related to where you’re having filler injections, the technique used by the injector, your skin type or, your body’s reaction to the injection.
Now, while you can’t change most of those factors above, some things that can make bruising worse are under your control.
You see, the more blood that collects under the skin, the darker, and more noticeable your bruise will be and, if you do things in the days, or hours, before your appointment that make your blood thinner or the blood vessels wider, you increase blood flow and your risk of bruising.
So, here’s what you need to think about…
First up, avoid drinking alcohol for 24 hours before your appointment as alcohol thins blood.
Steer Clear of the Gym
‘I would recommend not to exercise on the day you have filler injections as if you are very flushed or your blood pressure is high, you are more likely to bruise,’ says Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, Medical Director at Adonia Medical Clinic, London
If you are a keen exercisers, you’ll see more of Dr Ejikeme’s advice in our longer piece on the rules around when you can workout after fillers.
Stop Some Supplements
‘If it is safe to your health not to, also do not take aspirin, high dose vitamin E, high dose fish oils or evening primrose oil for two weeks before your procedure,’ says Dr Ejikeme.
Again, this is to reduce risk of bruising as these supplements can thin the blood which makes bruising more likely – avoid taking some other herbal supplements including Ginkgo Biloba, St John’s Wort, and garlic (in supplement form) which also have similar effects in the body.
Blood thinning medications also increase the risk of bruising so it’s important that you tell your injector if you’re using these (don’t stop them though without a doctor’s advice).
Stick with Paracetamol
When not prescribed by your doctor, according to the authors of this paper on how to minimise bruising after injectables, you should avoid using aspirin for things like headache a week before your procedure and keep clear of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen – and drugs that contain it like Nurofen – for five days before your jabs.
Paracetamol is fine as it doesn’t affect the blood.
Remove Your Make Up
Ideally, go to your appointment with clean skin. While the numbing cream and the antiseptic wipe that will be applied to the skin will remove make up from the area, the more clearly the person doing your jabs can see your skin, the more visible any veins underneath it will be – and the easier it’s going to be avoid them.
Strange But Worth Trying…
So this is interesting….Thinking about food might prevent bruising.
One of the two dermatologists behind the paper mentioned above says they always talk about food with their patients while they are having their jab and this causes blood to divert from periphery areas like the skin to the stomach – and therefore reduces the risk of bruising.
Well it’s worth a try – although, try not to get too hungry if you’re having lip fillers as numb lips and trying to put food in your mouth can get messy!
After Your Fillers…
Whenever I’ve bruised having my fillers done, it’s pretty obvious that it’s happened by the time I leave the surgery.
From this point, your trying to minimise doing anything that might make things worse!
And again, that includes anything that makes your blood vessels wider and increases blood flow to the area. That mostly means anything that makes you hotter – so, exercise, hot tubs, steam rooms, hot baths.
Or anything that dilates blood vessels which includes alcohol, aspirin/ibuprofen
Stay off all of these for 24 hours at least – or 48 in the case of exercise as it’s a good idea to keep sweat away from the skin while it heals from the jab marks.
If your injector gives you an ice pack – use it. You can also ice later at home, but make sure you wrap the ice in something so it doesn’t stick to your skin.
How Long Will Bruising From Fillers Last?
According to Rachel Green, a bruise can fade in as a little as three days, but larger darker bruises might last as many as 14 – which is why it’s always a good idea to space any cosmetic treatment at least two weeks before a big event.
The Tyndall Effect
There is an unusual complication, known as The Tyndall Effect, that can occur sometimes with hyaluronic acid based fillers and it makes it look like you have a bruise – but that bruise doesn’t go away.
It’s actually caused by light reflecting off the particles in the filler.
It’s most common if the filler is placed too close to the skin’s surface, or, in areas where the skin is very thin, which can often be the case under the eye or around the lips.
If you develop a blue bruise after fillers and it doesn’t start to fade like a normal bruise, go back and have a chat with your injector just to check things out as, if it is related to the Tyndall Effect, they can remove the filler and reverse it.
If you do just have a normal bruise and want to fade it faster though there are a few substances that might help…
Creams That Can Help Fade Bruising Faster
One of the most commonly suggested remedies, and the one that Rachel Green suggests, is the homeopathic treatment arnica.
This is said to reduce blood clotting and there are a few studies on arnica cream (like this one) that do show some benefit for speeding up healing after plastic surgery – and so, it’s definitely work giving it a try after your fillers as well.
Arnicare cream is one of the best known brands.
This works by dissolving the blood clots under the skin that cause bruising – and is the secret weapon of cosmetic expert Katherine Russo (who helped us out with our ‘alcohol and botox’ piece.
You’ll find it in Huridoid cream at pharmacies.
Another ingredient with that research suggests has the power to fade bruising is the enzyme Bromelain.
You’ll find it in pharmacies.
Found in pineapples, it works on bruising by reducing inflammation and also breaking down the blood build up that leads to the discolouration of the bruise.
The Bruise MD range combines arnica, bromelain and vitamin K – another bruise fader – in one product.
Is it Safe to Cover a Bruise From Fillers?
Unlike when you have Botox injections and shouldn’t touch the area for at least 6 hours (and ideally 24) as you might cause it to shift, fillers are less likely to move around once injected unless you really press on them (don’t do that).
As such, it’s not a problem to apply concealer or other make up to a bruise.
Admittedly, most injectors will ask you to keep things make up free for 24 hours as if your fingers, applicators or the product itself are grubby you do run the risk of introducing some bacteria into the the injection marks, so, if you have to cover a bruise, make sure everything is super clean.
If the bruise is small, you might be able to cover it with just foundation and powder, but if it’s very dark or large, then you’ll want to pick products that offer a bit more coverage.
The one my injector in London used to use was Dermablend. This is renowned for being able to cover up even quite dark bruises, and, has been studied after cosmetic procedures and shown to be quite safe.
Or Use Colour
If you’ve never heard of colour-correcting concealers before I’m about to rock your world!
The theory is that colours that are opposite each other on a colour wheel neutralise each other. You can use this to tone down redness in the skin – but also to help cover a bruise more effectively.
Which colour concealer you need depends on the colour of the bruise.
Yellow neutralises blue or purple tones on the skin, green neutralises more red shades.
Peach is good if the bruise is fading and more yellow
The NYX Colour Correcting Palette has a square of each so you can play around.
So, there you have it, our guide to tackling lip filler bruising or dermal filler bruising. Do you have any more tips we should share – if so, drop us a line in the comments.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.