Yesterday I had my second round of dermal filler injections from Maggie Schreck, an expert injector and Physician’s Assistant to Dr. John Connors of Atlanta. There is virtually zero downtime from receiving dermal filler injections however, bruising and swelling around the injection site is very common. Given that I tend to bruise easily, I take precautions to minimize the risk of bruising before receiving dental treatments or cosmetic injectables.
Before treatment with dermal fillers
Bruising is an indication of trauma to the skin and underlying soft tissues. The level of trauma that results in bleeding under the skin, a/k/a bruising, varies from person to person. Typically, we are more prone to bruising as we age due to the thinning of skin.
To avoid the risk of bruising it is important to avoid taking any medications or herbal supplements that are known to cause thinning of the blood. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, Aleve and aspirin should be avoided for 1-2 weeks prior to receiving cosmetic injectables. In addition, herbal supplements such as ginger, curcumin, fish oil, St. John’s wort and Vitamin E can contribute to thinning of the blood and should be avoided if bruising is a concern. If you are taking any of these medications as a result of physician recommendation, it is important that you seek their advice before making any changes to your daily medication requirements.
Supplements that may minimize bruising
Arnica Montana, also known as Mountain Daisy, is a yellow flowering plant that has been used as a homeopathic treatment to reduce inflammation and swelling for centuries. Although Arnica is not ingestible in its pure form, diluted versions are available in both topical and oral forms. Since I tend to bruise easily, I have become quite fond of Arnica and it is a staple in our medicine cabinet at home. Although scientific studies have not supported the claim, I personally can attest to Arnica’s ability to speed the healing of bruising. In addition, a study in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery journal showed that nearly 50% of rhinoplasty surgeons will suggest patients use arnica for after surgery care to minimize bruising. Product labeling states it is best to dispense Arnica pellets into the cap of the bottle instead of ingesting from your hands to “preserve their energetic” qualities. I am not sure if I buy into that but since the pills I buy come self-dispensing container, I follow these recommendations.
Another herbal supplement that can reduce swelling and inflammation from cosmetic injectables is Bromelain. Bromelain has been used for centuries in Central and South America to treat indigestion and reduce inflammation and is also being studied as a replacement for NSAIDS in the treatment of osteoarthritis. An enzyme found in pineapple, Bromelain minimizes bruising by aiding in the digestion of proteins that trigger bruising and swelling. Recommended dosage is 500 mg four times per day taken on an empty stomach (source: University of Maryland Medical Center)
After treatment with dermal fillers
- Continue to avoid (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, Aleve and aspirin and herbal supplements that can cause blood to thin for 1-2 weeks, consult your physician for specific timing that is right for you
- Use ice packs to reduce swelling for first 24 hours, no more than 20 minutes at a time. (Do not apply ice directly to the skin!)
- Avoid exercise or activities that elevate heart rate for first 24 hours
- Elevate head with an extra pillow the first night to reduce swelling
- If Sculptra injections were received, follow physicians advice and massage treated area for 5 minutes, 5 times per day for the first 5 days
The first time I received cosmetic injections I had not discontinued taking my daily fish oil supplement and had also taken NSAIDs one or two days before. I also forgot about taking Bromelain last time around. Although it has only been 24 hours since I received my cosmetic injections, bruising and swelling is definitely less than the first time:)
Sending peace, love & happiness to all!
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