If you’ve been waiting to get your COVID vaccine and have finally become eligible, but worry about the headlines that warn about interactions with dermal fillers, don’t! At VIDA we’ve had some clients express concern that the COVID vaccine might cause swelling in their dermal filler treatment sites. This has caused some clients to stop getting the dermal fillers they love or, much worse, avoid getting the vaccine even though they want to. Let’s clear up the misconceptions around this very rare side effect that actually isn’t that “new” at all.
First, know that swelling is a very common side effect any time you get fillers. This normal swelling isn’t what the headlines were talking about when the warnings against vaccines and fillers became popular. The vaccine-related swelling refers to a delayed swelling. There were a very small number of cases (three to be exact) in one study that showed people with dermal fillers experienced swelling days or even weeks after getting a COVID vaccine. Such a delay was ultimately linked to the vaccine, but given how delayed the effect was it is also very difficult to directly connect the two.
Delayed Swelling isn’t New
Any kind of vaccine or treatment that prompts an autoimmune response may cause delayed swelling of dermal fillers in very rare cases. This has been a known side effect of the flu vaccine for many years. However, you don’t see many headlines warning people against dermal fillers if they’re thinking about getting the flu vaccine. Right now, any and all news related to COVID is bound to make headlines and that’s exactly what happened here.
When the FDA was approving the emergency use of COVID vaccines at the end of 2020, they released (as per usual) all of the information related to studies and possible side effects in research available. There were a couple of sentences that referenced the three participants with dermal fillers who experienced delayed swelling. Journalists quickly scoured these reports for any bit of news that might be appealing to readers—and news about cosmetic treatments related to vaccines are sure to get clicked on.
Bear in mind that three people experiencing swelling should not create such worry and panic. Plus, in the very rare event that you do experience delayed swelling, it is quickly treatable with a prescription from your doctor. That detail was also mentioned in the FDA report, but did not often make it into articles that followed.
Why Swelling Occurs
Swelling occurs immediately after dermal fillers because that’s your body’s reaction to a trauma (even a controlled one). Delayed swelling can occur because a vaccine tells the body to amp up the immune system and fight off foreign antigens. In the case of hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers, even though HA occurs naturally in the body the immune system might see the filler as an antigen. The body’s response is swelling. This swelling is not dangerous, but it can of course be an annoyance. If you notice delayed swelling, simply see your doctor for a quick and easy treatment.
At VIDA, we urge every client who is eligible for a vaccine and wants to get it to move forward. If you’ve had dermal fillers in the past few weeks or months, there is just a very small chance of delayed swelling. Keep an eye on the dermal filler site and schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. If you’d like to receive the COVID vaccine and want to get dermal fillers, we are confident in offering fillers to clients like you. The risk of delayed swelling is simply so small that it should not affect your decision to get a COVID vaccine or fillers.
Moving Past the Pandemic
As more and more people get vaccinated, we’ve seen a surge in requests for dermal fillers and other treatments that allow you to look and feel your best in a post-pandemic world. We are still not totally back to normal yet, but self-care is an important part of healing and getting back to a better, new normal.
And if you have more questions about dermal fillers and potential side effects? Schedule a complimentary consultation. We’d love to talk with you about it! Contact VIDA today at (503) 399-0021 or complete the online form.