Are Your Fillers the Real Deal?

Navigating through the world of fillers and injectables can be tricky. Not only do you need to educate yourself on the difference between neuromodulators (think Botox, Dysport and Xeomin), hyaluronic acid fillers (like Restylane, Juvéderm and Perlane) and collagen stimulators (such as Sculptra Aesthetic and Radiesse) and understand what purpose each one serves, but you also need to make sure that what you’re being injected with is the real deal. “The problem with fillers is that there are so many counterfeit ones out there and people don’t know what they’re getting,” says Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Rhonda Rand, MD. “They’re packaged to look like the real thing—the boxes look similar but you have no idea what’s really in these products. These counterfeit products can contain dangerous materials or contaminants so you really have to be wary.”

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Before anything is ever injected into your face, rule number one is to make sure that only a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon, who happens to be an expert injector, is the one wielding the needle. “You always want to go to someone who’s a board-certified doctor because they know how to handle skin complications should they arise. Plus, they’re usually better trained and have a better injecting technique,” says Dr. Rand.

Once you know you’re in good hands, ask to see the products that your doctor plans to inject. If you don’t know what’s being used on you—or worse off, your injector can’t tell you where the product has been purchased or show proof that it was bought directly through the manufacturer—you’re probably better off not putting anything into your face at all. “Personally, I would never buy any type of injectable if it wasn’t being purchased from an official distributor,” says Dr. Rand.

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While they may be a less-expensive option than FDA-approved injectables, the only thing that you can be sure of getting is the potential for risks and complications. Nodules and granulomas are often the trade-off for nondescript fillers being used, which are pretty hard to remove and sometimes need to be cut out.  You can also be left with an infection or scarring.

“To save 50 bucks and go to some fly-by-night place to have something you have no idea what it is injected into your face just isn’t worth it, in my opinion,” says Dr. Rand.

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