Dermal fillers, typically made with hyaluronic acid (Restylane, Juvederm), are becoming an increasingly popular cosmetic treatment throughout Canada and in Edmonton. People seeking to look younger by restoring volume lost to their face or lips, fight the sagging effects of gravity, or relieving the look of tired eyes often forget to consider that some herbal supplements can increase risk of bruising from these procedures (even with use of the microcannula technique).

When asked about medications by medical personnel, people often forget to mention herbal supplements. Many believe that because something is herbal or natural, that it should not pose any medical risks. If you choose to have an elective surgery, get Botox or dermal fillers, then it’s important that you release all information about supplements, medications, and anything else you may be taking to your physician.

Certain supplements can be dangerous to consume prior to undergoing a surgical procedure. Failure to discontinue taking them in a reasonable amount of time increases surgical risks and bleeding. Let’s take a look at some common herbs to avoid prior to cosmetic procedures since they increase your risk of bleeding / bruising.

Herbal Supplements and Bruising Risk

woman dermal filler

Ginseng

Ginseng is an herbal supplement commonly used in Native American and Chinese medicine. People often consume it with hopes of leveraging its properties as an ‘adaptogen’ to help increase energy and decrease stress. It also may have a positive impact on libido.

Ginseng increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot. This increases the chances of bleeding and bruising from cosmetic procedures. It can interact adversely with some drugs and decrease blood glucose levels in the body.

  • Stop taking Ginseng 1 week before your procedure.

Garlic

Garlic is another supplement that affects blood coagulation. Eating garlic itself is unlikely to be a major concern but taking Garlic supplements can have effects on blood platelets that prolong bleeding. Garlic has been used for thousands of years potentially to help reduce blood pressure and to lower cholesterol.

  • Stop taking garlic supplements 1 week before your procedure.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba is an herb commonly consumed by those hoping to improve their concentration and memory.

  • Fortunately, for Gingko users, you only have to discontinue 36 hours before your procedure.

Ginger

People often take ginger to relieve stomach discomfort or for its purported anti-inflammatory effects. However, ginger’s one of the “G Herbs” to avoid before cosmetic fillers or Botox.

  • Surprisingly, it’s recommended to avoid for a full 2 weeks before hand.

Green Tea

Green Tea supplements are commonly consumed by those looking to kick start their weight loss efforts. Some research suggests that green tea supplements could have an effect on bleeding risk.

  • No firm guidelines exist but avoiding for 1 week prior to your procedure would be reasonable.

Fish Oil

Fish Oil or omega-3 supplements are popular amongst those with high triglyceride levels. Other studies have suggested potential benefits for weight loss, bipolar disorder, and ADHD.

  • Avoid 1 week prior.

Feverfew

I have never encountered a patient who supplements with Feverfew though it’s possibly helpful for those who suffer from migraines.

  • Avoid taking 1 week prior.

Dong Quai

Dong Quai is another supplement which I have never encountered a patient taking. I am not aware of any evidence-based health benefits of this herb, so my advice for now would be to stop taking it altogether.

  • Just avoid?

references:

  • Commonly Used Dietary Supplements on Coagulation Function during Surgery (link)
  • Herbal medications and plastic surgery: a hidden danger (link)
  • More tips to prepare for a Botox or Filler appointment (link)

Written by 

Dr. Jarret Morrow, MD CCFP, is a licensed family physician currently practising in Edmonton, AB. He has a declared special interest in cosmetic dermatology.

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