What to Do Pre- and Post-Filler, According to an Injector and a Plastic Surgeon

I'm pretty open about the fact that I love filler. I've been getting my lips done about once or twice a year for a few rotations around the sun now, and I've also experimented with filler in my chin to elongate (love) and in my jawline to define (didn't love so much). That said, I had yet to touch botox, and was lucky enough to find myself in the amazing hands of master injector Anush Movsesian for a few strategic pricks of the stuff. (FYI, her IG, @skinsandneedles, is a fascinating follow, and if you're based in L.A. and interested in a cosmetic procedure, I can't recommend her enough!)


(Image credit: Anush Movsesian)

Of course, this story isn't about Botox, but while I had access to such an amazing expert, I did my due diligence by asking her some of the most frequently asked questions I receive around filler that are much more appropriate for a true professional, namely, what to do before and after fillers to ensure you get the best, most natural-looking results. (Because yes, there are certain things you definitely should and shouldn't do both pre- and post-treatment!) Curious to know everything I found out? Keep scrolling!

What is filler, and how does it work?


(Image credit: Stocksy)

"Most of the time when we refer to filler, we are referring to hyaluronic acid filler, explains Paul Nassif, MD, FACS, of NassifMD Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills. "Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in the body, and it's also a starring ingredient in many skincare products. Hyaluronic acid filler is safe given proper training and can be reversed with an enzyme if needed." (That said, he notes that there are other types of injectable fillers on the market that stimulate collagen and are not reversible.)

The purpose of these types of filler, Movsesian adds is to give volume, definition, and contour to certain parts of the face.

What are the biggest myths surrounding filler?


(Image credit: Anush Movsesian)

Both Movsesian and Nassif agree that the biggest myths surrounding fillers center around the idea that the end result will look overly obvious or unnatural.

"People worry about looking 'fake,' Movsesian tells us, "But the truth is, with proper technique and the appropriate amount of filler, you can look youthful and maintain a natural appearance." In fact, Nassif shares that even as a trained professional, he's not always able to tell if someone's had filler. 

Are certain people better candidates for filler than others?


(Image credit: Stocksy)

The short answer? Not really. "There is no such thing as a 'best candidate' because each patient is assessed on a case by case basis," Movsesian shares. But both she and Nassif point out that fillers are meant to enhance certain features and add volume to different areas of the face, therefore, if you're someone who naturally already has some fullness or has lots of loose skin, filler might not be the best option. A consultation with a trained professional where you can share your goals or concerns ahead of the treatment is paramount. 

What to do before fillers:


(Image credit: Stocksy)

In the weeks leading up to your appointment: "Patients should make sure they are feeling healthy and have not taken any antibiotics for a couple of weeks leading up to the appointment," Nassif tells us. "We also want people to avoid getting filler immediately before or after dental procedures, as this has been shown to increase the risk of immune reaction towards the filler."

48 hours before your treatment: "Regardless of where you're getting the filler, it is crucial to avoid blood thinners such as ibuprofen or aspirin," says Movsesian. "Certain supplements like garlic, ginger, fish oil, and ginkgo can also have a blood-thinning effect, and should be avoided as well."

24 hours before your treatment: Avoid alcohol and caffeine in addition to all of the above medications and supplements.

A few hours before your appointment: "It is important to eat a small meal at least a few hours before the appointment," Nassif notes.

Right before your treatment: Bruising and swelling are normal reactions to filler, so you'll want to mentally prepare (and perhaps alter your calendar for the rest of your week) leading up to your appointment. "The amount of swelling and bruising depends on the individual, but if there is a concern, you should discuss it with your provider," Movsesian shares. "Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and the medications/supplements mentioned above will minimize bruising."

What to do after fillers:


Apply ice or cold presses to help reduce bruising and swelling. Remember, bruising and swelling are normal, but according to Nassif, if you experience significant bruising and/or bruising that shows up in other areas of the face, it might be cause for concern and should be addressed as soon as possible by the injector, as these signs might indicate problems with perfusion.

Slow your roll on alcohol. "I recommend limiting the intake of heavy alcohol for at least two to three days to minimize the risk of bruising," Nassif adds.

Don't exercise. While you can work out freely before your appointment, Movsesian says you'll want to avoid exercise completely for 24 hours post-filler.

Avoid wearing makeup. "We want the skin to stay as clean as possible after the procedure until the entry points are completely closed," says Nassif.

Ask your provider for the specific aftercare protocol for the type of filler that was used. "Aftercare does depend on the type of injection placed and the technique," Nassif explains. "For instance, patients who are injected with a collagen-stimulating filler such as Sculptra are often instructed to massage the area regularly to help ensure uniform collagen production, whereas we instruct people to avoid any type of firm pressure after hyaluronic acid fillers."

Be patient. "Plan for some recovery time for filler to settle in," reminds Nassif. "Hyaluronic acid filler is great because you can see an immediate change, but you have to allow about one to two weeks for the filler to settle in and for the swelling to subside."

What are the biggest filler mistakes?

Over-injection. "This is probably one of the biggest filler mistakes, and it can actually stem from both the patient as well as the injector," Movsesian points out.

Going to an inexperienced injector. Do your research! "Possibly one of the biggest mistakes is choosing an injector that is not experienced or worse, unlicensed," Nassif warns. "It is important to have a consultation and make sure the injector you choose understands your goals." And, as Movsesian adds, you'll want to make sure all of your questions and concerns are addressed before you undergo any procedure. 

Not ready to take the filler plunge quite yet? Keep scrolling for some of our favorite beauty products that can reap similar effects. 

Beauty products to try instead of filler:

Next: How to Look Like You Got Filler Sans Any Injections, According to Dermatologists

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.