Ask a Dermatologist: Should I Get Fillers?

By Kat Hirsch on November 9 2023

The pandemic was full of challenges, and while that toll was felt mentally, it also manifested physically. Many of us struggled to maintain our regular routines while navigating the shifting circumstances influenced by public health guidelines. Now, a while later, it seems like frown and worry lines have become permanent fixtures on our faces (and every single flaw seems to be amplified on Zoom).

But we know that when we look good, we do feel better. 

In this conversation with BC Living (BCL), we caught up with our very own Dr. Marcie Ulmer about popular anti-aging treatments, focusing on dermal fillers. We also covered topics such as the cost expectations for fillers, how to choose the right one, and potential side effects to be aware of.

Let’s dive in.


Let’s start with this. What are fillers, and what are the benefits?

Dr. Ulmer: The most common dermal fillers are gel-like materials made of hyaluronic acid (a natural substance in our bodies, including our skin). They are injected into the skin and soft tissues to help soften wrinkles, as well as to provide and restore volume and balance to areas like the lips, cheeks, jawline and chin for a refreshed, natural and beautiful appearance. Belotero, Juvéderm and Restylane are some of the well-known filler brands used in Canada.


How do you choose a filler type, and what’s involved with the procedure?

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Dr. Ulmer: The injectable filler products I reach for most often are hyaluronic acid fillers, which have an amazing ability to hold water, and each one has its own unique properties. These unique properties help me select the right product for the right area and are critical in helping my patients achieve natural-appearing outcomes.

I will choose a soft flexible filler for the lips, and I will use a filler that is less soft and less flexible for contouring the jawline or chin. Most hyaluronic acid fillers today are pre-mixed with an anesthetic that makes the injections quite comfortable. My patients generally find this procedure very tolerable without additional anesthesia (the exception is the lips, which are more sensitive, so I find applying a numbing gel beforehand is helpful).


Are there any side effects or serious risks patients should be aware of?

Dr. Ulmer: Although a commonly performed treatment is considered safe, filler treatments, like any procedure, have known potential risks and side effects. Not uncommon with injectable treatments, patients may experience swelling for up to a few days (particularly the lips), and some patients can develop bruising, which typically resolves in less than a week. Rarer side effects can occur if the filler is placed into an area that inhibits blood supply to that target tissue.


How soon do you see the results of fillers, and how long do they last?

Dr. Ulmer: Unlike Botox and other neuromodulators, you will see results immediately after having fillers. I love the moment when I hand the mirror to my patients once their filler treatment is completed, and I see their smiles. I am so grateful that I can positively help my patients to look and feel their best.


What is the cost (range)?

Dr. Ulmer: Fillers can be either charged by the syringe or by the treatment area, and each clinic will do this a little differently.


Many people fear looking like they’ve had “work done.” How do you ensure that your patients don’t end up looking like they have fillers?

Dr. Ulmer: Injecting fillers is so much more than ‘filling.’ It’s my opinion that if done properly, no one should ask you if you have a filler. What I mean is that after having filler placed in your cheeks and lips, they should be very much in proportion to the rest of the face. All features should be balanced, as that’s when a face is most beautiful. Beauty is very individual, and I firmly believe that the individual features of beauty should be respected.

In my opinion, the best and most natural results are achieved over a series of appointments.


Read the full post on “Should I Get Fillers?” from BC Living for more details on what specific areas are best for fillers, how different people will respond to treatment and when to choose fillers over Botox.