Everyone who has facial or lip fillers knows that there is a risk of an allergic skin reaction to the fillers, but new research has found that in fact it’s not an allergic reaction that causes the problem, it’s actually bacteria.

fillers 1Facial fillers for ironing out wrinkles and plumping up lips are the second most popular cosmetic procedure after Botox.

A new study at the University of Copenhagen and published in the March edition of the journal Pathogens and Disease, has found that swelling and lumps (some of which can remain permanent) caused by injecting facial fillers, which according to studies is a problem that is on the rise, is due to bacteria getting under the skin at the site of the injections.

In addition bacteria can also become incubated in the actual filler gel itself.

[quote]So it doesn’t matter that the utmost care is taken with hygiene when the filler is being injected, if the bacteria has got into the actual filler gel or you have lots of bacteria already on the surface of your skin, then its going to breed and multiply once under the skin.[/quote]

Due to the fact that it has been widely assumed by doctors who inject fillers that lumps and swelling are caused by allergic reactions, the typical treatment for unwanted side effects of fillers is steroids.

fillers 2[quote]However if the swelling or lump is caused by bacteria, which seems to be increasingly likely in the majority of cases, steroids are actually the worst possible treatment. Steroid injections do not kill bacteria, in fact they can make it even more active.[/quote]

Read here how beauty tutor, Deborah Kelly, developed a bacterial infection from fillers she had for her wedding day and was left with permanent lumps in her lips. Deborah was offered steroid injections which didn't work.

The question is what can you, the patient, do to protect yourself and your skin against bacterial infection when you have fillers?

Here is our 5-step guide to reducing your risk of infection from fillers;

1. Ask if an antibiotic is in the filler

Some doctors are now recognising that bacterial infection is a risk when injecting fillers and so are using fillers combined with prophylactic antibiotics when they inject the filler, with the aim of killing off any bacteria that may have crept in under the skin or into the filler gel itself.

[quote]This is likely to become standard procedure in the future for all fillers, but for now it’s wise to check with your doctor whether its possible for them to use an antibiotic when injecting the filler.[/quote]

2. Leave make up off your face for at least 3 days before having fillers

fillers 3Make up is one of the worst culprits for harbouring bacteria. On healthy skin we don’t notice it but at sites of trauma such as at an injection site for fillers, this surface skin bacteria left from make up can get into the injection site and cause an infection.

Experts recommend that you leave make up off your skin for at least three days prior to having fillers and for 24 hours afterwards.

It’s also prudent to clean your make up brushes daily using a brush sanitiser  for two weeks before you have filler injections.

3. Increase the good bacteria on your skin before and after having fillers

Like the gut, skin harbours both good and bad bacteria.

[quote]By increasing good skin bacteria prior to having facial fillers you will massively reduce your risk of a bacterial infection at the site of your fillers.[/quote]

silerTry using Skin Shop’s Silver Serum facial serum twice daily for at least a week or more before having fillers. Silver Serum contains a special form of colloidal silver that is like ‘food’ to good skin bacteria yet is repellent to bad skin bacteria, so the good bacteria multiplies and flourishes while the bad skin bacteria withers and dies.

Continue to use the serum for up to a week after your fillers to ensure bad bacteria is kept at a minimum while the injection sites are still open.

Silver Serum stays active on the skin for up to 8 hours, so applying the serum a few hours before your fillers are injected could also be a safeguard against bacterial infection during the injecting process.

4. Do not have fillers on already broken or weak skin

If you have any form of broken or weakened skin, such as a cold sore or emerging cold sore, sunburn, active acne, active eczema or active rosacea, wait until the flare up has completely calmed down before having fillers.

Once your skin has cleared up use Silver Serum on the vulnerable patches of skin to make sure good skin bacteria is populating the weak area prior to having fillers.

5. What if you do have a reaction to fillers?

Make sure that your doctor does not prescribe steroids. Antibiotics are the most helpful treatment for a filler infection, either injected at the site of the infection or taken orally.

[quote]If a biofilm has formed, then you may need more than one course of antibiotics. [/quote]