29th October 2021

The Dangerous World of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Facial Fillers

Last Modified: July 30, 2022

We've all heard of terrifying cases of botched filler treatments, most of which were performed by unqualified injectors. Well, it seems people have an affinity for putting their faces at risk. People have now taken to buying dermal filler online and injecting it into their own faces! 

This is despite the fact that facial fillers should only be administered through a licensed professional. If you read our recent post: Are Dermal Fillers Safe, then you probably already know that even the simplest non-surgical filler treatment still carries an element of risk. So you can only imagine how much riskier unlicensed DIY facial fillers are! 

But exactly what are DIY injectable fillers, and why should you keep them as far away as possible.

What Exactly are DIY Fillers?

Also known as hyaluron pens, these are self-injecting pens designed to deliver fillers to your skin at the "comfort of your home." Instead of using a needle, they use heavily pressurised air to force fillers into your skin. 

Hyaluron pens are modelled after handheld jet injectors designed to get medications, like insulin and anaesthesia, into the skin without needles. The surprising thing is this has become somewhat of a beauty trend and new hyaluronic pens are popping up all over the place.

 self-injecting DIY facial filler pens

Yet, you can be sure the Food and Drug Administration does not approve them. In fact, the FDA issued a statement in October 2021 warning both consumers and medical professionals about the risks associated with these DIY fillers.

"The FDA is aware of serious injuries and in some cases, permanent harm to the skin, lips, or eyes with the use of needle-free devices for injection of lip and facial fillers," the statement reads.

What is Inside These DIY Facial Fillers?

The name of the pens implies that they use hyaluronic acid, but that doesn't count for anything. That doesn't mean that what is inside. And because hyaluron pens are not regulated, the makes can put literary anything in them and call it hyaluronic acid.

The truth is no one really knows. A quick search will unearth numerous questionable sellers who provide little to no information on the risks involved.

Even if it is the actual hyaluronic acid, there's the risk it may not have been packaged in a sterile environment or stored properly, which can lead to a severe infection. 

Where Did DIY Fillers Come From?

The pandemic caused a dramatic shift in consumer behaviour and the beauty industry was not spared. With stay-at-home orders in effect and nonessential services suspended for large parts of 2020, people had to adapt. 

As a result, many people found themselves tasked with their creating their own beauty routines and regimens. That was 100% okay when people were sticking to things like at-home facials. 

Then people started looking for ways to carry out cosmetics treatments that they had no business performing at home. Then someone thought it was a good idea to promote self inject fillers! Soon, hyaluronic pens started showing up on eCommerce sites with prices ranging from twenty to a few hundred pounds. 

In no time, there were TikTok and YouTube tutorials on how to inject hyaluronic acid (HA) into your own lips, noses, and jawlines. Just a quick search of #hyaluronpen and you'll find 66M views!

it's important to note that self-injecting filler kits have been around for years. The pandemic situation only made them go viral.

TIKTOK #hyaluronpen DIY facial fillers

The good news is that most of the Youtube videos have been taken down and in some cases, the associated accounts terminated. 

What are the Risks Posed by DIY Facial Fillers?

Injectable fillers are absolutely not safe to do yourself at home. Here are sufficient reasons why it's best to skip this "beauty trend."

  • First, you might be allergic to the filler's ingredients. Due to the lack of transparency, you never know what's in a hyaluron pen you buy. On the other hand, professional injectors know exactly what's in their products and still carry out a spot test before a filler treatment with a new patient.
  • A trained practitioner will also know how much filler to inject and the proportions that are needed to get the look you want to achieve. This is why they use different types of fillers that have varying properties suited for different needs and areas of the face. Fillers are not a one size fits all—the chances of getting suitable results with DIY fillers in next to zero. 
  • Only a handful of jet injectors are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use with very specific drugs. Even then, it's always been difficult to get consistent control on the depth and location of the injection. You can only imagine how much more risk unregulated DIY filler pens pose. It's laughable how a majority of these devices somehow promise a painless and safe experience.
  • Our article: Sharp Needles vs Blunt Microcannulas, explained that it takes a comprehensive understanding of facial anatomy and injection techniques to deliver the right amount of product to the right plane of skin tissue. You might inject into the wrong place and that can have some severe consequences such as vascular occlusion. This occurs when the filler is accidentally injected into a blood vessel. It's so severe that it can cause blindness and even death in some very unfortunate cases. One quick movement, trip or momentary lapse in concentration and you don't want to imagine what might happen.

While DIY facial fillers might seem like a good idea at first thought, there are far too many factors that could go against you to risk it.

Most people who take such risks do so in an attempt to save on the cost of professional facial fillers. Yet, no amount of saving is worth the risks associated with at-home facial fillers.

Ask yourself:

  • How do you know that they are safe? 
  • Do you really know where and how much to inject? 
  • Do you know what to do if something goes wrong?

Overall, DIY facial fillers remain to be one of the worst beauty inventions we have ever come across. 

Getting Facial Fillers the Right Way

When you get a treatment at Dr Aesthetica, you benefit 100% from our doctor's years of experience, the latest and most effective equipment, sterile environment and the safety net we have in place should complications arise. We truly want you to look your best.

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 29th October 2021
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

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