HB Team Tries: I Got Dermal Fillers In The Last Year Of My 20s & It Was My Best Purchase Yet

Cosmetic Treatments


As a beauty ed and beauty enthusiast, I was always interested in aesthetic treatments but never really took the plunge to do them. Looking back, I think it was a combination of anxiety induced by “botched” online testimonies and budget because honestly, aesthetic procedures don’t come cheap. I don’t know what on earth happened this year, but one morning I woke up and thought, ‘f*ck it!’, and booked a consultation right away. As expected, my decision to get fillers came with some unwanted judgment from loved ones – Zipho, what are you fixing!? Youre crazy! Youre going to ruin your face!  

The DRAMA of it All!

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To anyone who’s contemplating getting injectables, the first and most crucial rule is to do it for yourself. Whether you want to lift or enhance your features, just do YOU! And with the right doctor who has a super-clear understanding of your goals and needs, from my experience, the results will be immaculate. 🔥

My Doctor

I eventually chose Dr. Tracey Garner at Dr. Nerina Wilkinson & Associates (@drnerinawilkinson) as my practitioner. She’s an INCREDIBLE Cape Town-based doctor with 16 years of experience as an aesthetic physician. What drew me to her was how beautiful and natural her aesthetic work appeared, and I also loved the clinic’s approach to dermal fillers. As they mention on their website, they ‘understand the importance of embracing the face as a whole to achieve harmonious results.’ And therefore, they ‘never treat facial features as isolated areas’ but rather as interconnected areas that communicate with one another. This way, less product is used to create a more youthful and balanced appearance that doesn’t look overfilled, exaggerated, or “done.”

For anyone who’s still confused about what dermal fillers are and the types of effects they create, Dr. Garner answered all in a quick Q&A:

Dermal fillers 101: A Doctor’s Guide 

What are dermal fillers?

“Dermal Fillers’ is a broad reference for substances that are injected under the skin for rejuvenation and volumization,” says Dr. Garner. “The most commonly used fillers are made from cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid, but they may also contain bio-stimulators, your own fat or even collagen.”

What can they achieve?  

Dr. Garner reveals that ‘“the term ‘filler’ is a misnomer – taken from the past where fillers were merely used to chase lines. Our [clinic’s] approach is to use fillers to replace deep foundational losses and weaknesses to balance the profile and sculpt and lift the face. [In addition to this] well-placed filler can improve facial function by strengthening weak muscles and blocking hyperactive muscles, which often results in a more relaxed and positive expression.”

What You Should Do if Youre Considering Fillers 

Do Your Research

I think I spent a solid six months stalking local doctors and their work on Instagram. A few FBI(G) research tips of mine:

  • Scroll through a doctor or clinic’s tagged photos to see more of their clientele and former work.
  • Browse through their clients’ pages as well, particularly those who look more or less your age, so you get a better idea of their aesthetic style and approach.
  • Watch IG reel testimonials and story highlights posted by former clients and influencers to get an accurate picture of how your consultation and treatment day will go.

Schedule a Consultation

Nowadays, doctors won’t administer dermal fillers until a consultation is arranged prior. During this appointment, your face will be photographed, and your skin analyzed. As Dr. Garner raises, “a careful facial examination will help determine your needs.” Thereafter, you and your doctor will carefully discuss:

  • Your goals and concerns.
  • Suggested treatments based on your photographs.
  • The type of fillers and/or botox that’ll be used to achieve your desired look.
  • The longevity of the treatment and how often top-ups will be required.
  • Your overall health and any risk factors.
  • Your next availability and how to prepare for your treatment.

Preparing for your Treatment

It’s essential that you always follow your doctor’s pre-treatment orders to avoid any complications. At the time of my consultation, I told Dr. Garner that I hadn’t had my COVID-19 booster shot, so I had to wait six weeks post-vaccine to get my fillers to ensure that my immune system was in tip-top shape.

Treatment Day 

The most surprising thing for me was the quick and instant results of the dermal fillers – I was honestly and truly SHOOK. I did a combination of fillers and botox – 3 vials of fillers and 15 units of botox, to be exact, on the temples, cheeks, chin, and jaw (totaling a cost of $687). On the pain threshold scale, fillers are less painful than the vaccine or a vitamin B shot, but the most “painful” area though was the chin, as the needle is injected pretty close to the bone. However, slow and deep breaths made this bearable.

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When it came to the placement of my fillers, Dr. Garner referred back to my pre-treatment photographs and the personalized aesthetic plan that was supplied after my consultation. “We take care to target exact points based on anatomy, function, and our experience [in order] to place filler in a way that will enhance your unique features and retain the essence of who you are.”

My Goal and The Results

I’ve always had an asymmetrical face shape, and this was pretty evident in my cheek area and jaw. I also have bold features — big brows, big round eyes, round cheeks, and a big pout. As we age, loss of elastin and collagen (and also the forces of gravity) cause our skin and features to droop. So, wanting to age like Naomi Campbell, I sought preventative measures to help keep my features beautifully defined and lifted. I also had a terrible habit of tying my hair up in a super-tight high ponytail to give my face that *snatched* look. And after several years of doing this regularly, it took a serious toll on my hairline. So one of the other reasons I wanted to get fillers was because they’d help give me that same effect without destroying my baby hairs and their new regrowth.

Before and After

dermal fillers

In the days leading up to my treatment, I was extremely anxious, but Dr. Garner reassured me that we would take it step by step. I requested that we begin by doing only half the quantity she initially recommended – cause first-time jitters! – but as soon as I saw the instant effects of the fillers in her mirror, I literally gasped and said, INJECT IT ALL! Overall, my treatment time was around 40 minutes long — an absolute breeze.

Have you ever considered dermal fillers? Let us know in the comments below.

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