- Cheek fillers are dermal fillers that can add definition and volume to the cheeks and refine the jawline for a rejuvenated appearance
- The best cheek fillers are hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane
- Hyaluronic acid fillers can easily be reversed if results are unsatisfactory
- Some synthetic dermal fillers add more fullness and have longer-lasting results
- Costs vary based on material, the number of syringes used, your provider’s fees and the location
- Cheek fillers are generally safe and have a low risk of adverse side effects
If you want to add volume to sunken cheeks, redefine cheekbones, smooth the appearance of wrinkles and fill in depressed acne scars, facial fillers can be a cosmetic treatment to help you achieve the look you desire. A number of dermal filler materials are available that deliver a range of results, depending on your aesthetic goals.
What Are Cheek Fillers?
Cheek fillers are dermal filler injectables that can effectively address a number of concerns around the midface such as adding definition to cheeks, concealing depressed scars, reducing the look of lines and restoring lost volume where age-related fat loss has occurred.
They are designed to rejuvenate the face, are minimally invasive and do not require any downtime.
As with Botox, fillers can effectively treat marionette lines that run from the corners of the mouth to the chin; and nasolabial folds which extend from the sides of the nose to the corners of the mouth. Fillers can produce a plumping effect to help restore a youthful appearance.
Dermal fillers are natural or synthetic substances that are injected into areas of the face; depending on the formulation, they are either temporary or semipermanent.
Best fillers for the cheek area
Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are biodegradable, by far the most popular type of cheek filler. As a natural presence in the body, there is little risk of an adverse reaction. This filler can plump facial volume, smooth skin tissue, decrease fine lines and wrinkles and boost collagen production to strengthen and thicken skin.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are temporary solutions which can last up to 1 year, and include FDA-approved:
- Juvederm Voluma XC
- Restylane Lyft
Synthetic filler materials are considered semipermanent as they typically last longer than hyaluronic acid. As with hyaluronic acid, these fillers also promote collagen production to strengthen and protect skin. Brand names include:
- Bellafill, a semipermanent, nonabsorbable filler made from polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microspheres suspended in a collagen gel support the body’s own collagen production; results lasts about 5 years
- Radiesse, a filler made from calcium hydroxyapatite (CaHA) can effectively treat moderate-to severe wrinkles and folds; it lasts nine to 15 months
- Sculptra, a Poly-L-Lactic acid (PLLA) can treat volume loss and lines and folds of all severities; it lasts about 2 years
Ideal Candidates for Cheek Fillers
Adults over age 21 who want to plump their cheeks, add volume to the cheek area, or address mild-to-moderate wrinkles are ideal candidates for cheek fillers. They should be in good overall health, not smoke and have realistic expectations.
What cheek fillers can’t do
Cheek fillers can’t resolve severe wrinkles, sagging skin or deep hollows in the cheek area. In this case, you should speak to your care provider to discuss other options, such as a facelift.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Cheek filler injections are performed in an outpatient setting and are similar to other dermal filler procedures.
Your provider will disinfect the treatment area, then apply an anesthetic such as lidocaine to the area. A topical numbing solution will be applied or the lidocaine will be included in the filler.
You’ll need to remain very still while you receive your injections. For cheek fillers, you’ll likely need multiple injections. Your provider may ask that you return for follow-up appointments to evaluate your results and administer additional injections if needed.
Your procedure will take about 30–60 minutes, including the preparation time. You’ll be able to go home right away, and no downtime is required.
Do cheek fillers hurt?
Although there may be some discomfort and pressure associated with the injections, it is relatively painless due to the application of the topical numbing agent before the procedure or the lidocaine during the procedure.
You will likely feel a bit sore and may experience some mild bruising for a few days after treatment.
Cheek fillers aftercare
After the procedure, avoid direct sunlight and heavy physical activity for 24-48 hours. Avoid touching the treatment area, and keep it clean. If you’re uncomfortable, you can take Tylenol or apply ice packs to the area.
Cheek fillers results
Cheek filler results should look natural and subtle. Expect to see visible results immediately after the procedure. You can expect additional results within the following days as the fillers settle and integrate into tissue.
Safety and Side Effects of Cheek Fillers
Generally, dermal filler materials are considered to be safe, with a low risk of adverse events. Side effects tend to be mild for most people and only last for a few days after the treatment.
Bruising and swelling
It’s normal to experience minor bruising, some swelling and redness after cheek filler injections. If you take blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder, you’re at a higher risk for these side effects. Although the risk is small, it is possible to develop a sensitivity reaction after the procedure resulting in persistent swelling, pain and the formation of nodules.
Less common side effects of cheek fillers
Some people will experience a few, less common side effects or adverse outcomes of cheek fillers. These include:
- Allergic reactions to filler material or lidocaine, which can be avoided through allergy testing prior to treatment
- Infections, which may be prevented through good skin hygiene
- Nerve and skin damage due to poor injection technique; filler injections placed in the wrong area can cause tissue necrosis (death)
- Unsatisfactory aesthetic outcomes, including lumps, bumps or asymmetry (usually caused by inexperienced providers)
Unsatisfactory outcomes of cheek fillers
To prevent cheek filler issues such as overfilled “chipmunk cheeks” and “pillow face,” be sure to select a board-certified provider who specializes in cheek injections. Using a hyaluronic acid filler has been found to be effective and safe to use.
Hyaluronic acid filler is the only filler that is reversible, if you are not satisfied with the outcome.
How Much Do Cheek Fillers Cost?
The cost of cheek fillers depends on the brand, the number of syringes used, your provider’s fees and their location. When pricing cheek filler options, remember to also factor in how often you’ll need repeat treatments.
|Cheek Filler Brand||Type of Filler||Cost Range|
|How long does it last?|
|Bellafill||PMMA||$1,000||Up to 5 years|
|Juvederm Voluma XC||HA||$1,000||Up to 2 years|
|Restylane Lyft||HA||$600–$1,000||Up to 10 months|
|Sculptra||PLLA||$700–$1000||Up to 2 years|
While more invasive, as it requires liposuction, fat grafting is another cosmetic procedure to augment and plump the face. This involves taking fat from elsewhere in the body and injecting it into the face. Results are considered semipermanent and can cost from $3,000–$6,000.
Cheek injections are considered cosmetic treatments, therefore they aren’t covered by insurance. To help with payments, you can speak with your provider about financing options when you discuss a treatment plan..
If cheek filler injections are not for you or your budget, or if you would prefer treatments that don’t require frequent repeat treatments, there are alternatives.
Over-the-counter masks and creams
Over-the counter (OTC) masks, serums and moisturizers can help plump and tighten skin. Look for products with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid to boost moisture in skin, and retinol and peptides which both stimulate collagen production. This combination will plump up and smooth skin for a more youthful appearance.
While topical applications won’t provide immediate noticeable nor dramatic results as injections would, they are more cost-effective and carry a low risk of side effects,
For skin tightening masks, look for cream-based masks that contain vitamin C which protects skin from anti-aging free radicals, and encourages collagen production; vitamin B3, or niacinamide to tighten skin and improve elasticity; peel-off masks that help firm skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines, pores and wrinkles.
Skin tightening procedures or facelift surgery
Procedures that tighten skin may be more appropriate if you want to address deeper wrinkles and other concerns such as skin laxity, thin crepey skin, hyperpigmentation and roughness around the cheek area. Some of these solutions include:
- Ablative laser skin resurfacing
- Nonablative laser skin resurfacing
- Radiofrequency (RF) skin tightening
- Ultrasound skin tightening
Facelifts can produce significant improvements and provide lasting effects in the jowl, nasolabial and marionette lines for 5.5 years. However, facelifts fall under the category of plastic surgery and are more expensive, require a lengthy downtime and carry a higher risk of adverse effects than other treatments.
How to Select a Provider
Choose a provider that is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists, and is someone you feel comfortable with. It is strongly recommended that you interview the provider to learn more about their level of experience with the cheek filler you’re considering.
Ask your provider to share before and after images of past patients to gain an understanding of the kind of results they produce.
Cheek fillers are considered safe, require no downtime and are minimally invasive treatments to augment and rejuvenate the face.
Temporary filler types contain hyaluronic acid. Bellafil, Radiesse and Sculptra are semipermanent fillers and last longer.
Cheek fillers can address a number of issues including lost volume, depressed scars, and wrinkles and lines. They can also define the jaw and cheekbones to restore a youthful appearance.
For best results, choose a provider who is experienced in cheek injections and in using the type of dermal filler you’re considering. Take time to consider the pros and cons of your filler options, as well as whether it’s possible to reverse your filler of choice if you’re unhappy with your results.
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