Jenna Maclean booked herself into a beauty salon for the injections when she seen it would only cost her £130 – when in fact should have set her back around £500.
But after the 15-minute appointment in December 2020, Jenna, who’s from Glasgow – had always felt self-conscious about her pout and used face apps to change her lips in photos – was left with lips that first bled, then turned hard and lumpy and didn’t move properly with her mouth.
Mortified, Jenna’s agony only ended when she returned shamefaced to work in the new year and her boss, Dr Rita Poddar, a cosmetic dental surgeon and aesthetics director, sorted out her lips and gave her back her smile.
Jenna, who lives with her parents Darren and Helen Maclean, 48, said: “I refused to have pictures taken of me all over Christmas because I didn’t like the way I looked.
“But now I can’t stop smiling and I’m ready to enjoy Christmas this year!”
Self-conscious about her lips for as long as she can remember, by the time she was 14 Jenna was determined to have cosmetic work done when she was older.
“I just felt my lips were too thin,” she said.
“I felt self-conscious about them, so when face apps that alter your pictures came out, I started using them on all my photos to create a fuller lip.”
She added: “I started doing it as a young teenager and, by the age of 14, I knew as soon as I was 18 years old, I was going to get lip fillers.”
So, when Jenna excitedly booked to have her fillers done in the week before Christmas 2020, she was looking forward to deleting her face tuning apps and having the perfect festive look.
“The appointment was so quick, I was in and out in 15 minutes,” she said.
She added: “But my lips started bleeding really badly, to the point that after the appointment I was given a baby wipe to cover my mouth.
“I was so embarrassed I kept my Covid mask on the whole way home. The bleeding stopped after about 20 minutes but then my lips began to go really hard and lumpy.
“My top lip started to protrude and when I smiled, it lowered and covered my teeth.”
She added: “It just looked a bit odd – it almost looked like I didn’t have any teeth.”
And Jenna felt awkward as she spent Christmas Day with her parents and close family.
“It was hard,” she said. “I felt self-conscious and I had to drink through a straw.”
She added: “It put a real dampener on the day and made me feel very aware of what I looked like the entire time.
“Worst of all, I couldn’t take any festive pictures with my family. It was really miserable.”
Once Christmas was over, she began to dread returning to her job at The Peppermint Group, dentists in Glasgow who also offer facial, body and medical aesthetic treatments, in January 2021.
“We have to wear masks in work,” she said.
“So, I just kept my mask on, hoping no one would notice.”
Explaining why she hadn’t just got her fillers done by a colleague, Jenna said: “I had only started working there a few months before Christmas.”
She added: “I knew Dr Rita did fillers, but I didn’t want to book in with my work as I didn’t want them to think I’d taken the job for free fillers! Now I wish I had asked her.”
But soon after she was back at work, Jenna plucked up the courage to ask for help.
She said: “I spoke to Rita about it and she was so kind and helpful.”
And there was good news.
Jenna said: “Dr Rita said she could help, by dissolving my fillers and adding new ones in.”
The procedure would not be free, but Jenna did not mind.
She said: “I got a staff discount, but I still had to pay for the fillers themselves. But it was worth it!”
In the middle of January, Jenna had a series of four injections into her lips that dissolved her fillers over 24 hours – and she quickly began to feel better.
She said: “Almost instantly, my lips went back to normal.”
After waiting four weeks for the area to heal, Dr Rita injected new MaiLi lip fillers, which cost around £500, in February 2021.
The procedure took 45 minutes and finally gave Jenna the fuller lip she had dreamed of since she was 14 years old.
“They looked amazing,” said Jenna.
She added: “The MaiLi fillers were so natural and left a fuller lip but you can’t actually tell I’ve had fillers done. I’m so happy with the finish, it’s completely changed my confidence.
“The best thing is they last for around a year so I don’t need them redone until February 2022.”
But with the festive season prompting other people to splash out on cosmetic enhancing procedures, Jenna warns them to “cheap out” on fillers.
“I’ve learnt the hard way that you get what you pay for,” she said.
“I hope others learn from me to think before booking in. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“I had a lucky escape as there was no lasting damage.”
She added: “If you are getting lip fillers, go through a registered clinician.”
Dr Rita Poddar, cosmetic dental surgeon and clinical dental director of The Peppermint Group, said Jenna’s lips were not in proportion.
She said: “Jenna’s very hard and lumpy lips were asymmetrical in appearance, with the lips not in proportion to one another.”
She added: “Not only that, the filler had begun to migrate into the surrounding tissue above and below her lips.
“It was clear that she needed the rogue filler to be dissolved, and to be re-treated in order to give her the safe and effective treatment she was looking for.”
She also warned it could have been much worse and there can be serious problems if lip fillers are not administered correctly.
She said: “If Jenna’s artery had been injected, this would have caused tissue death, and if too much filler had been used, it would have compressed the vessels, creating problems in function and tissue viability. Despite appearances, Jenna had a lucky escape.”
For more information on MaiLi fillers go to www.sinclairpharma.com
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