Why Is Everyone Dissolving Their Fillers? It's More Complicated Than You'd Guess

The standard of beauty in recent years has evolved to reflect a look made popular by celebrities and influencers. To achieve plump, rounded cheeks, wrinkle-free skin, and bigger lips, more and more people have turned to dermal fillers, or facial injections of ingredients like hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxylapatite. 

This temporary cosmetic procedure, often used to add volume beneath the skin, has allowed people to emulate the faces of figures like Kim Kardashian and Chrissy Teigen. In 2020, $16.7 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in the U.S. alone, with a total of 3,410,730 soft filler procedures taking place during the year (via American Society of Plastic Surgeons). But attitudes are appearing to change in 2023. Several notable celebrities have opened up about their choices to dissolve their fillers.

"While there is certainly a conversation around plastic-surgery reversals, it's not necessarily indicative of a large-scale trend," board-certified New York City plastic surgeon Ira Savetsky told PopSugar. "However, there has been a shift toward celebrating more natural beauty standards with a conservative approach rather than abandoning plastic-surgery procedures altogether."

Famous and normal people alike may be heading back to their surgeons and dermatologists, but it's not necessarily so they can return to a completely natural face. Rather, folks are refining their looks to keep up with the ever-changing trends, which now lean more into the natural and subtle. That said, a larger social movement of self-acceptance may have also influenced some to leave cosmetic surgery behind for good.

The trends are changing

The biggest driver of the reversal of dermal fillers and other cosmetic surgery procedures seems to be the fact that beauty standards are evolving. "In recent years, there has been a shift toward embracing more individualized beauty standards, rather than striving for a homogenized ideal," Dr. Ira Savetsky told PopSugar.

A major misconception surrounding this movement is that people are removing all their fillers or other enhancements and going back to square one. In reality, many are simply adjusting their fillers to achieve a softer look. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reveals that we can also observe this trend through the increase in popularity of smaller breast enhancements and less obvious Brazilian butt lifts.

A recent example of celebrities steering away from the over-the-top approach is comedian Amy Schumer, who had her cheek fillers dissolved in 2021 because she felt that the result was overwhelming. "Using dermal filler can be a wonderful way to replace lost volume and enhance the face, but filler placement is extremely important!" Schumer's dermatologist Dr. Jodi LoGerfo said on Instagram, adding that "where the filler was placed, was not ideal, so we dissolved it!"

These reversal procedures aren't always about saying no to fillers altogether, but rather about embracing the new standard of beauty, which aims to celebrate a person's natural features.

People are embracing their natural selves

Although some people are dissolving their fillers in order to go in a different direction with their cosmetic surgery, others do want to be completely filler-free. Blac Chyna is one celebrity who has been documenting the process of removing her breast and buttocks enhancements, as well as her dermal fillers, on Instagram.

"Enough is enough," the reality star said in a video posted to the platform. "It all has to come out." In the video, Chyna told her doctor, "Basically, I want to dissolve all of it. Back to the baseline ... I'm tired of the look and it's just not flattering. It's not what I look like. It, like, totally changed my face and I'm just ready to get back to Angela." She captioned the video, "I removed all my face fillers, I'm so happy."

We've seen this trend of self-love and embracing natural beauty play out through crazes like barely there makeup and minimalist skincare regimes. Still, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures remain popular; the American Society of Plastic Surgeons President Gregory Greco revealed that "there's still an uptick in nonsurgical facial rejuvenation with fillers, neurotoxins and our energy devices" in 2023.

While it looks like cosmetic and plastic surgery aren't going anywhere, there is plenty of room in society for those who just want to be themselves.

Side effects and complications

In addition to changing beauty standards and self-love having a much-deserved moment, some people are reversing their cosmetic surgery procedures due to complications, side effects, and botched jobs. 

Telling her story to Women's Health, one woman revealed that her lower eyelids were temporarily paralyzed after she had fillers to treat crow's feet, while another woman said that fillers in her lips left her with a "crooked smile for months," until she had the filler dissolved with hyaluronidase. To avoid a similar experience, board-certified plastic surgeon David Shafer advised website readers to always go through a qualified surgeon and avoid "getting injections in someone's kitchen or basement or in the back of a nail salon or a 'MedSpa' with no doctor on site."

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are common risks associated with approved dermal fillers that all patients should be aware of before consenting to the procedure. Among them are bruising, rashes, and swelling. Additionally, complications can arise from the procedure, including unintentional injection into the blood vessels. The risk of these or similar issues developing, even when they're not apparent as first, may be another influencing factor behind some people choosing to dissolve their fillers.