People Are Panic Dissolving Their Filler As Age Of The ‘Instagram Face’ Dies Down
“Today is a really exciting and nerve-wracking day. I have really mixed emotions about it.” This is how 22-year-old influencer and Love Island alum Molly Mae Hague begins a YouTube video from October 2020 titled, “I HAD MY LIP FILLER COMPLETELY DISSOLVED.” Though she had been getting lip filler since she was about 17 (“which is literally ridiculous,” she admits), Hague’s video documents her return to her natural lips, a decision that more and more former filler obsessives are coming to.
In the past few years, influencers and celebrities have opened up about their experience dissolving filler or reversing other cosmetic procedures. In December 2021, comedian Amy Schumer shared a selfie getting her facial filler dissolved with a caption saying, “I tried getting fillers. Turns out I was already full. Thank God you can dissolve them. I looked like Maleficent.” Just last month, former playboy bunny Crystal Hefner took to Instagram to reveal that she has removed “everything fake” from her body.
Other celebrities who’ve dissolved filler or reversed procedures in the last few years include actress Courtney Cox, RHOBH star Yolanda Hadid, model Chrissy Teigen, and beauty mogul Huda Kattan. After Kim Kardashian posted a photo wearing a particularly tight outfit, fans also began speculating that she had filler removed from her buttocks, though the star has never confirmed having such filler in the first place.
“I just don’t like the way they look,” Hague says in her YouTube video. “I feel like over the last few months I’ve really noticed how kind of unnatural they look…they just feel really hard and it’s just time they went.”
The Dissolving Filler Trend: Why Is it Happening?
This wave of cosmetic procedure reversals has prompted many to wonder: Is the age of facial filler coming to an end? According to experts, not quite — but it’s certainly changing. “Many celebrities are touting the ‘natural look,’ which is now more the trend than the old trend of being overfilled,” multi-specialist physician Dr. Azza Halim, MD, tells GLAM. “This is refreshing, as when strategically placed and not overdone, dermal fillers actually enhance one’s natural beauty in a subtle manner and gives a rejuvenated look.”
The statistics seem to back this up, too, and according to Market Watch, the global dermal filler market is still anticipated to grow at a considerable rate through 2030. But alternatives to filler are also on the rise, giving patients more options and prompting changes in the market. According to Byrdie, these procedures, which they dubbed “I woke up like this” treatments, will be one of the biggest beauty trends of 2022. Think the lip flip, which uses Botox to give the lips a poutier look, and lip blushing, a permanent makeup technique. With more of a focus on smaller details, the results are more subtle and can come off as natural.
New York City-based facial plastic surgeon and facelift expert Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD, points to other possible reasons why so many are having their filler dissolved. Because the initial craze pushed many to get filler from injectors rather than medical doctors, he says, many are now dissatisfied with their results. Additionally, more people are becoming aware of the fact that dissolving filler is even an option. “Knowing that a less than satisfactory result could be corrected by dissolving the old filler and redoing the injections make people seek filler dissolving treatment in much higher numbers,” he explains.
It’s a common misconception that because dermal fillers are metabolized by the body over time (and therefore require touch-ups to maintain the effect), if you simply stop getting injections, your filler will eventually dissolve on its own — but this isn’t true. “It has been shown that fillers do not completely dissolve within six to twelve months as many think,” says Dr. Halim, “Studies have shown filler remnants for as long as 5 years.”
Some also theorize that filler can never fully be dissolved, and rather, just migrates to other areas of the face, resulting in a “botched” effect. However, according to Dr. Halim, filler migration is usually attributed to improper injections or overfilling. “This is why one should always seek a qualified and experienced medical professional for any treatment,” she says.
So, what does the process of dissolving filler even entail? “Fillers are dissolved by injection of the medication Vitrase to the area where the filler was placed,” says Dr. Vasyukevich. “A few rounds of filler dissolving injections might be necessary for the best result.” As with any injection, the process can cause bruising and swelling, but this typically resolves in a few days. And, of course, it will cost you, with the average cost of removing lip filler starting at $150.
While experts agree that dermal fillers won’t be completely abandoned anytime soon, the way in which we approach them is evolving. Instead of blindly copying trends, people are becoming more inclined to enhance their own natural features. “Many are in favor of the ‘less is more’ concept, which is how aesthetics was meant to be,” says Dr. Halim. “I have always been more in favor of subtle, individual results rather than making everyone look the same.”
Continued advancement in the cosmetic treatment space is also influencing the market and shaping trends. The FDA has approved a number of products designed for specific facial areas and has allowed new uses for existing materials, both of which will allow dermatologists to offer even more targeted treatment to their patients. As a result, we should start to shift away from the single “Instagram Face” (and body for that matter) that has taken over in past few years.
At the end of Molly Mae Hague’s YouTube video, she sits in her bathroom and speaks directly to her 1.63 million followers. “I ended up with just botched lips, and it was no ones fault other than my own, really,” she says about her choice to dissolve her filler. “[It was] just years of not doing my research and not really knowing what I was doing and just saying, ‘Yeah, make my lips look like Kylie Jenner’s.’ Like, no, that’s just not how it works.”
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