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Shining a Light on Bruise Prevention: Can Red Light Therapy Help After Cheek Fillers?

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Cheek fillers help add volume and contour to the midface, restoring a more youthful appearance.

But like any injectable procedure, bruising and swelling are common side effects. This temporary discoloration and puffiness can be frustrating when you’re hoping to put your best face forward. To address these concerns, many aesthetic clinics are turning to red light therapy.

Enter red light therapy, a non-invasive treatment that can accelerate healing and potentially minimize bruising when used before and after dermal filler injections.

But how does it work exactly? And is it truly effective? Below, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using red light therapy to reduce bruising after cheek fillers.

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What Causes Bruising After Cheek Filler Injections?

cheek filler treatment

First, let’s quickly review why bruising occurs in the first place. When a needle is inserted into the soft tissue of the face, it inevitably causes some minor trauma to the delicate capillaries under the skin.

This rupture of the capillaries allows blood to seep out and pool around the injection site, resulting in a bluish-purple discoloration of the skin, otherwise known as a bruise.

Bruising may be more noticeable around thinner skin areas like the under-eye region and temples. But the cheeks, chin, and jawline can also develop bruises after filler injections.

While bruising doesn’t pose any serious health risks, the unsightly marks can take 1-2 weeks to fully heal. So it’s understandable to want to avoid this side effect before a big event!

How Does Red Light Therapy Work?

Red light therapy, also called photobiomodulation (PBM) or low-level laser therapy (LLLT), uses wavelengths of light in the red to near-infrared range (generally 600-900nm). When delivered to the skin, these light particles stimulate a bioenergetic response in cells increasing ATP production and cellular metabolism.

This boost in cell activity triggers several healing reactions:

  • Increased blood flow and oxygen circulation to treated areas
  • Stimulation of collagen production for smoother, firmer skin
  • Reduced inflammation and skin irritation
  • Faster clearance of ecchymoses – or discoloration from bleeding under the skin

In short, red light can energize skin cells and speed up the natural healing process. These effects are why red light therapy is growing in popularity for aesthetic uses like reducing signs of aging and minimizing procedural side effects like bruising.

Can Red Light Therapy Prevent Bruises After Cheek Fillers?

Now that we understand the science behind it, we can dive into specific research on using red light therapy to prevent bruising after dermal filler injections.

Red light therapy, a technique involving the application of red or near-infrared light to injured areas, shows the potential to speed up the healing of bruises, based on preliminary studies.

However, the current evidence supporting its effectiveness is still limited, with more comprehensive research needed. While red light therapy appears promising for quicker bruise resolution, its efficacy compared to conventional methods requires further validation through rigorous studies.

What to Expect During Treatment

The great thing about red light therapy is its completely non-invasive nature and ease of use. There is no downtime, pain, or recovery required.

During treatment, patients simply sit with their face near a specialized red light device for a specified length of time, allowing the light to fully cover the treatment zones. Eyes are protected with provided goggles.

Sessions typically last 10-20 minutes depending on the device and coverage area. Some clinics pretreat with shorter 5-10 minute sessions immediately before injecting dermal fillers. They then follow up with longer 15-20 treatments shortly after injections when bruising is most likely to occur.

Treatments are gentle, comfortable and can be done right in the clinic before and after filler appointments. Maintenance sessions may also be recommended after the initial pre/post-treatment to continue accelerating healing.

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Alternative Home Treatments for Bruise Recovery

While red light therapy is an emerging method for speeding up bruise healing after cheek filler injections, there are also well-established traditional home treatments. These methods are typically safe and effective for managing minor bruising:

  1. Compression: Using an elastic bandage to wrap the bruised area can significantly reduce swelling. The bandage's pressure limits blood vessel leakage, which can lessen both the severity of the bruise and associated discomfort.
  2. Elevation: Keeping the bruised area elevated above the heart level aids in pain relief and fluid drainage. Elevation can decrease pressure and compression on the bruised area, promoting faster healing.
  3. Applying Heat or Ice:
    • Ice Therapy: Immediately after the injury, applying ice can reduce blood flow to the area, minimizing blood leakage into surrounding tissues. This helps in reducing the visible severity of the bruise and swelling. It's recommended to ice the bruise for 10 minutes at a time, with 20-minute breaks in between.
    • Heat Therapy: After the initial 48 hours, applying heat enhances circulation and blood flow, aiding in the removal of trapped blood. Heat application can also relax tense muscles and alleviate pain. This can be done through a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or a warm bath.

It's important to note that these methods are generally suitable for minor bruising. For severe or persistent bruises, or if accompanied by other symptoms, seeking medical attention is crucial. Always consult a healthcare professional for proper examination and guidance.

Is Red Light Therapy Affordable and Accessible?

Red light therapy is a pretty good deal, especially when you compare it to the price of other aesthetic treatments. You're looking at around $25 to $200 per session, which varies depending on where the clinic is and how large the area you're treating is.

It's also pretty easy to find. More and more aesthetic clinics are starting to offer red light therapy, thanks to newer devices that are easier to handle and don’t break the bank. That said, if you want top-notch stuff, clinics that specialize in laser treatments are your best bet—they've got the best gear and know-how.

Considering the cost of dermal fillers like Voluma or Juvederm, adding red light therapy to the mix, both before and after your injections, is a smart move. It helps cut down on the chance of getting bruises. A couple of quick sessions with no pain can make a big difference, saving you some hassle and discomfort later on.

Caring for Skin After Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy requires no special care afterward. There are no side effects or downtime. But some practitioners recommend applying a soothing cream post-treatment to hydrate and nourish treated skin.

It’s also advised to avoid direct sunlight on treated areas for at least 24 hours pre and post-light therapy. The stimulated skin can be more sensitive to UV damage.

Patients will still need to follow standard post-care instructions from their provider after filler injections, which may include:

  • Avoiding blood-thinning medications and supplements like NSAIDs, fish oil, etc.
  • Refraining from alcohol use for 12-24 hours
  • Gently washing with clean hands and using new pillowcases

The positive effects of red light therapy can continue over time with periodic maintenance sessions, leading to faster healing, healthier skin, and a more radiant complexion overall!

The Takeaway: Red Light for Less Bruising

cheek filler treatment

Although some mild bruising might still happen, red light therapy has been clinically shown to significantly reduce bruising after procedures like dermal filler injections.

These light treatments are super convenient—they don’t hurt, they’re quick, and you don’t have to worry about any side effects or downtime.

Using red light therapy both before and after getting fillers can make a difference. It helps stabilize your blood vessels before the injection, keeps bleeding and leakage to a minimum, and helps any bruises that do pop up heal faster.

This means you can bounce back quicker from your filler appointment and see better results.

Nowadays, you can find red light therapy at many aesthetic clinics, but it's the specialist clinics that know their stuff. They can give you the best advice on how long your treatments should be, the right settings to use, and how often you should do them to cut down on bruising, whether it’s for cheek fillers or other types.

So, if you want to keep bruising under wraps and get back to your routine quickly after your next filler treatment, ask about adding red light therapy to the plan. It's a small step that can help you look and feel great, and you'll be ready for the spotlight in no time!

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