Popular Internet beauty stars such as Jaclyn Hill, Laura Lee and Jade Marie have recently made videos about getting their lip fillers dissolved.
Back home, while no actors, celebrities or content creators speak about cosmetic procedures they have indulged in, fashion influencer Uorfi Javed has been among the very few who's been vocal about the highs and lows of her lip filler journey (she first got them when she was 18) and has warned her followers against getting them done from quacks who charge less money.
At the moment, there's a slight shift towards dissolving of fillers, both nationally and internationally.
“I don't think they're (celebrities) removing all of it. What they're probably doing is shifting to a more natural and snatched V-face look. With this. the lips look more hydrated, the shape is very gently rounded but you don't have that pout,” says Dr Kiran Sethi, a wellness expert and founder of Isya Aesthetics, Delhi, about celebrities claiming to dissolve all fillers.
The shift is towards an aesthetic where nobody should know you've been injected, so you can say “I've removed my fillers”. While lip fillers ruled the Instagram beauty aesthetic a few years ago, today it’s more about the pulled-back face look, which has made thread lifts popular, says Dr Sethi.
People get fillers for different areas for different results, says Dr Madhu Chopra cosmetologist and managing director of Studio Aesthetique, Mumbai. “There is a different filler for the lips, there's a different one to fill in creases on the face, and there's a different one to fill out the hollows under the eyes or dark under eyes, which is always mostly due to sudden fat loss,” says Dr Chopra.
Fillers help fill in deep lines and give the look of smoothness and evenness to the skin. Fillers are temporary, so based on how much and where you get them, you will have a repeat appointment. Fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, sugar, calcium hydroxylapatite and Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). These get absorbed in the body over time.
“Before you decide to go for fillers, it's important to understand the purpose of the filler. Have you suddenly lost weight on your face? Have you suddenly lost the texture? Is your skin looking too aged? You should consult an experienced cosmetologist physician who would guide you whether you are a candidate for fillers or not,” says Dr Chopra. She says that in addition to lips, fillers are also popular for post-trauma skin, for the nasolabial fold or under the eyes. Younger actors, models and Internet celebrities often get fillers to have sharper, older features which are camera-friendly. Post your injectable session, when done right, you'll have a little swelling for a few days, bruising in rare cases, which eventually goes away, and the full result takes two to four weeks to show and gets better over time.
Dr Sethi says that the age bracket of people coming for fillers to her clinic has now come down to 18 from 21 over the past few years. She has even had teenagers come in with their parents due to serious social image insecurities. “With younger people, doctors first need to ask where is it coming from. Back in the day, young girls weren’t even allowed to use lipstick, but most kids are insecure today and there are new world pressures on them. We first need to teach people how to handle their insecurities, so that they aren’t in a stage where they are miserable unless they do something. That's social anxiety,” says Dr Sethi. She says that professionals have to be compassionate towards the stress associated with the way people feel about their faces and body.
Fillers are popular today, as they offer the promise of rejuvenation, plumping and refinement, says Dr Debeshi Bhattacharjee, clinical cosmetologist. She's the medical head and founder of Lueur Aesthetics, Guwahati. “However, there is a fine line between enhancement and overindulgence, which often results in the dreaded pillow face look. Imperfections and unique features make each person distinct. Overuse of fillers can strip away these individual traits, leaving a generic, homogenized appearance,” says Dr Bhattacharjee.
While fillers are definitely not needed and offer a temporary “solution” for that social media-led idea of “true beauty”, if you are still considering them, here are some things to consider first.
The right way to go about fillers, especially lip fillers is slowly, with low amounts. You gradually build up, through multiple sessions if you want heavier lips. It’s also important to go to an expert who has worked on many different face shapes, as going in with a celebrity photo will not always give you the same results when you have different face shapes and age groups.
“Sometimes people overdo their lip fillers and it moves outside of the line. You need to slowly build up, I even use micro threads in the lip to create a structure for some patients because I don't want a duck face and I don't want the filler to move out of the lip. It should also move when you talk and not stay in one place,” says Dr Sethi. And if you have gotten excessive lip fillers in one go and then decide to remove it all, your lips can start to look shrunken. The dissolving process for heavy fillers is slow too, like weight loss.
Dr Sethi and Dr Chopra say that they get patients for filler rectifications, where it’s a case of too-much-too-soon. “In my practice, my dictum is less is more and we get people for rectification and correcting the filler defect. This happens mostly when the doctor is inexperienced and uses too much filler for the first time, giving it no time to settle. If the client has disturbed the position of the filler or disturbed the area with the fillers, it can go wrong. Most of the time, large flaws can be corrected, but for little ones, we wait for time to take over,” Dr Chopra says.
The writer is a Mumbai-based journalist.