If you’re having fillers it might surprise you to hear that you might need to take a break from exercise afterwards – in some cases for as much as six weeks!
It surprised me – and I had filler injections for about ten years. But why is this, why do you need a break from exercise after fillers and how long should it be? Does it matter what type of filler you’ve had or where you’ve had them – how long until you can exercise after lip fillers, for example and is that different from if you’ve just had your marionette lines filled?
I decided to investigate with the help of one of the UK’s leading aesthetic doctors, Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, Medical Director at Adonia Medical Clinic, London. so, here’s what you need to know?
What are Fillers?
I’m guessing that as you’re reading a piece about ‘whether you can exercise after fillers, you’re probably considering fillers and probably already know the answer to this, but just in case.
Dermal fillers are substances you inject into the face to create volume. They’re used for two main reasons; to plump out lines and wrinkles to make them less noticeable, often in the marionette lines that run from nose to mouth, and to create more volume in areas where things have thinned with age, or just wasn’t there in the first place – in the case of lip injections or cheek fillers.
You can also use them as part of non-surgical procedures to reshape areas like the nose.
Common fillers include Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra and Belotero.
Fillers are different from Botox. Botox doesn’t fill lines, it prevents the muscles around them moving which has the effect of smoothing out the lines and wrinkles.
Botox works well on preventing lines, and on smoothing out fine lines caused by the face moving – like the frown lines between your eyebrows. Filler treatment is used to fill deeper lines or in areas where the face loses volume like the cheeks, or where you don’t want to lose movement to disguise lines – like the lines between your nose and mouth. Fillers are also used to plump up lips.
You can have both Botox and fillers to create a younger look.
So, now we’ve explained that, let’s get to the important bit…
Can You Exercise After Fillers?
‘The advice regarding exercise after dermal fillers is that you shouldn’t do any strenuous exercise for the first 48 hours to reduce the risk of bruising and infection,’ says Dr Ejikeme. ‘Swimming and sweat can risk infection as bacteria could get into skin where it has been injected. Outside that, there is no real risk of exercise after fillers.’
Strenuous exercise means anything that makes you sweat or get out of puff – so, a walk in the park should be fine, but don’t go for a run or your weekly Crossfit session. It’s also probably a bad idea to any yoga inversions as these increase pressure in the face.
The exception to the 48-hour rule however, is if you’ve had cheek fillers. Because of the positioning of these, it’s important not to press on the cheek area too hard while the filler settles. ‘If you have had cheek fillers, therefore, you are not to wear goggles (any – ski, snorkelling, swimming and diving etc.) for 6 weeks,’ says Dr Ejikeme.
If these are your sports, you might want to come up with a different ways to get your exercise fix for a while.
Does Exercise Affect Your Fillers?
Normally, a set of fillers will last around six months before they need to be redone again, but what Dr Ejikeme told me next really shocked me.
It seems that fillers might not last as long if you’re a heavy exerciser.
‘Hyaluronic acid fillers (the most common) fully integrate with your skin and your body treats it like they do fat. So, if you are doing extreme exercise and have a fast metabolism then your fillers may not last as long as in other people,’ says Dr Ejikeme.
Eek, I was running marathons when I was having my fillers! Although, to be fair my metabolism is more sloth-like than speedy so maybe that helped keep things in place for longer!
Other doctors have also been quoted saying they’ve also seen fillers – and Botox – lasting for less time in those who exercise heavily. Although why, and at what level of exercise it happens hasn’t been determined.
They also don’t know how to stop it – but, considering, generally, exercisers look younger than non-exercisers – and their skin actually acts younger at a cellular level, I’d say that stopping your workouts is NOT the solution you’re looking for.
If you exercise outside, it’s even more important than normal to wear sunscreen if you have fillers and want to make them last longer.
UV rays in sunlight degrade hyaluronic acid in the skin – and it’s believed it treats HA injected by filler the same way. If you want your fillers to last maximum time, keep your skin protected – it’ll also stop damage that causes you to need more fillers!
What About Before Your Appointment?
When I was having my injectables, I was always a bit more cautious about what I did before my appointments than afterwards – and according to Dr Ejikeme, I was right to be a bit careful.
‘Usually, I would recommend not to exercise on the day you have the fillers and that is because if you are very flushed or your blood pressure is high, you are more likely to bruise,’ she says.
‘If it is safe to your health not to, also do not take aspirin, high dose vitamin E, high dose fish oils or evening primrose oil for two weeks before your procedure.’
Again, this is to reduce risk of bruising as these supplements can thin the blood which makes bruising more likely – avoid taking some other herbal supplements including Ginkgo Biloba, St John’s Wort, and garlic (in supplement form) which also have similar effects in the body.
Anything Else ‘Healthy’ You Shouldn’t Do After Fillers?
‘Yes,’ says Dr Ejikeme. ‘No sauna and no steam rooms for 48 hours, again to avoid infection and reduce risk of bruising.
Depending on the area you have filler, you may also be told to sleep in a certain position – e.g. filler in the cheek or nose, we would recommend sleeping on your back for 3 days.
Avoid ibuprofen too – as this increases the chance of bruising.
And, while it might not be strictly ‘healthy’ we recommend not to drink any alcohol on the day you have fillers as alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase the risk of bruising, and if you drink too much, you might not follow other post-filler recommendations – such as sleeping on your back or using arnica creams.’
Lastly, if you’ve had cheek fillers or lip injections, some doctors also suggest you shouldn’t go for dental work within the next two weeks in case the stretching of the mouth causes the filler to move. There’s also been some talk of whether the two combined might increase risk of certain types of infection (although it’s not proven, just been seen).
Obviously don’t put it off if you’re in pain, but you might want to move any check-up or whitening appointments that fall into this period.
So there you have it, the rules about exercise after dermal fillers and exercise after lip fillers – I hope it helped explain things clearly. Good luck with the jabs.
And thanks so much to Dr Ejikeme for taking the time to answer my questions. If you want to find out more about her and Adonia check their webpage here.