Not long ago, I lost my filler virginity, which is something I didn’t imagine happening for at least another decade (or until my collagen levels had depleted beyond repair). Despite being able to deadlift more than my body weight, I've always had what is unfortunately known as a 'weak chin'. Sadly, facial features can’t be altered by any form of strength training, so after lots of thought and even more research, I decided to embark on my dermal filler journey.
My offending former chin was small and, in my opinion, not in proportion with my other features. This made me feel like my face was constantly unbalanced. Thanks to my large, Tyra Banks-esque forehead and plump lips, my absent chin meant I really disliked my side profile. Friends and family thought I was crazy for looking into filler and changing such a prominent feature, but I couldn’t wait to see how my newly proportioned face would make me look and feel.
Although fillers were originally used to fill lines, thanks to innovative techniques doctors can now sculpt the face and enhance features like never before. A few years ago, the only option for altering something like your chin was an implant, which is far more invasive. It's also difficult to sculpt to suit the rest of the features of the face. That said, we’ve all read the filler horror stories and I didn't want to have a pillow face. I wanted my new chin to be undetectable to others while noticeably improved to me. This was the next level up from my no-makeup makeup look and I was ready. Here's everything I learned on my journey...
Literally anyone can inject filler, so it pays to find a trusted pro
You only need to scroll through Instagram for a few minutes to see hundreds of beauty salons offering fillers and Botox at low prices, often from practitioners with no medical background. You might ask, what's the worst that can happen? Well, actually, quite a lot. In the wrong hands there is a significantly higher risk of infection, scarring and tissue damage. The absolute number one priority before having any aesthetic injection is finding a medically trained and trusted practitioner. In the UK this can be challenging due to shocking regulatory laws, whereby injectable fillers are classed as 'devices' rather than drugs. This means a non-medically trained individual can legally set up shop and start injecting. After lots of deliberation, I settled on SKNDOCTOR aka Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe.
Once in the room, I sipped some water to calm my nerves. As I lay down on a plush version of a dentist chair, my jitters were immediately eased. Dr Ewoma calmed me down and reassured me during a thorough consultation. Medical credentials aside, the bedside manner of your doctor plays a crucial but often overlooked role. You will be highlighting your aesthetic insecurities and it is imperative you are in a safe environment, and feel assured that your doctor shares your vision and values.
Ask questions and make sure you understand every step
Dr Ewoma made a concerted effort to tell me she would be using Restylane to construct my new chin, which, according to the pros, is a well trusted and researched brand of filler. Most fillers are made from hyaluronic acid and while abundantly found in skincare and touted as a saviour for dehydrated skin, it is also naturally produced in our bodies.
It doesn't hurt, but it does feel a bit strange
With the numbing cream in full effect, I mentally prepared myself for the imminent "sharp scratch" and felt nothing more than a strange pressure as the gel was gently injected. After every tiny adjustment, the doctor stepped back and evaluated the changes on my face before continuing.
The amount of filler you need is dependent on the area
The amount of filler needed takes into consideration the starting point and the desired effect, but it is always better to be conservative. Like blusher, it’s always easier to add rather than remove! Fifteen minutes and 2ml of filler later and my chin was complete. "It looks banging!" I announced as I gushed over it in the mirror. A longstanding insecurity had instantly disappeared.
You'll need top-ups
The filler is meant to last 9-12 months, which is the time it takes for your body to metabolise it, according to Dr Ewoma. I wasn’t advised to return for a check-up, however, Dr Ewoma did insist I return straightaway if I had an adverse reaction, as it could be a sign of vascular occlusion caused by injecting a blood vessel. Ouch.
Factor in aftercare
Dr Ewoma advised me not to touch or apply too much pressure during the healing process to allow the swelling to go down and not to displace the filler. I had mild bruising by day two, but this subsided after three or four days. A month on and with my elongated chin now fully settled, it’s undoubtedly the best treatment I’ve ever had.
No one noticed
Thankfully, nobody noticed until I told them. I find myself whipping out my phone to show people a montage of before and after pics. In photos, the difference is impressive but I’m happy that no one can see a difference in real life until I let them know. I wanted a subtle tweak and that's exactly what I got.
Do it for you
Was I full of self-loathing with my stubbier chin? Absolutely not! I liked my old chin but the 2.0 version makes me feel more confident, which, ultimately, should be the motivation for having any procedure. In the words of Felicity Hayward, "self-love brings beauty," and in the face of our ever-evolving and often unobtainable beauty standards, it’s a mantra worth remembering. New chin, new me? Probably not. But I’m more confident and my chin really does look banging!