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What Exactly Is Your Facial Filler Filled With?

By: Dr. Christopher Khorsandi


You may think you’re getting a stellar deal when you see Botox, Juvederm, Sculptra, or Radiesse on sale at your local spa. However, that discounted filler may just be filling your face with disappointment and possible danger. Find out what you should know about the discount or promotional filler you are getting before it touches your face.

Med spas, nurse injectors, and even some plastic surgeons commonly run specials on fillers for wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin so customers are drawn in by seemingly cool savings. While these deals can sound appealing with savings of 50% or more, you should be wary of super-cheap cosmetic injections. Keep in mind the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” More often than not, these heavily discounted products are purchased from unauthorized wholesalers, or foreign pharmacies, and the product they are pushing may not be what you paid for.

Recently the FDA began cracking down of physicians who buy from overseas pharmacies, because while some of it may be a legitimate version manufactured overseas, a fair amount of it is counterfeit. It can be difficult to tell the two apart and it’s not worth taking the chance. Hard to believe but fillers have gone the way of fake handbags, made to look the same but crafted with inferior products.

How do you avoid falling victim to false facial fillers? Real Botox is manufactured in Irvine, California, and the label on the bottle will appear like a hologram when held at an angle. The Hyluronic Acid filler Juvederm is manufactured in Pringy, France and distributed by Allergan in Santa Barbara, CA. It has a lot number that can be verified. Both Botox and Juvederm from Allergan can be registered in the Brilliant Distinctions reward program. If you cannot verify these things in your facial filler, it’s in your best interest to walk away regardless of the great price before you. Each manufacturer uses similar anti-counterfeit measures, but one of the easiest things you can do is to check to see the label.

A simple way to make sure you are getting the real deal at any price is to ask to see the vials that will be injected into your skin prior to getting the procedure done. A reputable surgeon will be happy to show you their fillers and allow you to examine where they were produced.

Counterfeit fillers can be weaker than real facial fillers produced in the US and can lose their effects within as little as a month, or not be effective at all. With something as important as your appearance, allowing a questionable or inferior product to be injected into your face is just asking for trouble. Not only are you getting less value by paying for something that isn’t as effective, but there is no telling what sort of reaction your body could have to a substance that has not been as thoroughly tested as the FDA-approved fillers made by Licensed U.S. companies. Avoid the pitfalls of false facial fillers by doing your homework before you open your wallet.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.