Everything You Need to Know About Lip Fillers
By Joe Murphy
Lip fillers are the second most popular facial reconstruction procedurein the U.S. Thanks to celebrities, lip augmentation or lip fillers continue to increase in popularity. But what exactly are lip fillers, and are they permanent? If you’re looking to perk up your pout, here’s everything you need to know about lip fillers before you head on over to the dermatologist’s office.
Are lip fillers permanent?
No, lip fillers are a temporary augmentation. They will last anywhere from three months to a year, depending on the procedure you get and the dosage. However, there are lip implants you can get for a permanently plump pout. But lip implants are a more invasive and expensive surgical procedure for lip augmentation, and they come with more risks and potential side effects than injectable fillers.
How do lip fillers work?
When collagen or hyaluronic acid lip fillers are injected into the lips, the lips will increase in size. Collagen plumps the lips, while the hyaluronic acid plumps, and also traps moisture inside the lips for natural-looking plumpness.
What are lip fillers made out of?
The FDA has approved several products and materials for lip augmentation procedures. Recently, plastic surgeons and dermatologists have been using hyaluronic acid, or HA, combined with collagen as a lip filler. Lip filler products vary in regards to how long they will last, and how full of an effect they will have on the lips.
- Restylane Silk
Restylane Silk will give you a more subtle volumizing effect. The HA molecules in the product are smaller than the products listed below and will provide you with a smoother, defined look.
- Restylane and Restylane-L
Both of these products use the same HA formula for overall volume and plumpness. But Restylane-L includes numbing lidocaine for pain management. These lip fillers use a granular HA gel, too.
- Juvederm Ultra XC
This product will give the lips an overall plush and pillowy look because the product uses a smooth gel, not granular HA like in the Restylane formulas above. Juvederm also lasts longer than Restylane.
- Juvederm Volbella XC
This lip filler product helps to define the lip line, and treat wrinkles and fine lines around the mouth.
It’s important to understand that dermatologists will sometimes mix and layer different lip filler products depending on what the patient wants. This allows the patient to get the results they want. For example, a dermatologist might inject denser fillers like Restylane in the center of the lips, while using Restylane Silk on the outer corners of the mouth, so the lips look more defined and natural.
A dermatologist who suggests using only one formula throughout the entire mouth might not be very experienced. It’s critical that patients do their research on the doctor who is going to perform the procedure, so they get a result that is natural looking and doesn’t overwhelm the rest of their features.
What are the side effects patients should know about?
Bruising and swelling at the injection site for up to a week after the procedure is common. Right after the procedure, the lips may look “bumpy” or dimpled. That’s normal and should clear up within two weeks or less. If the bumpiness persists past the two-week mark, the dermatologist may remove the fillers and use a different product.
If you experience significant pain or discoloration of the lip after an injection, it could be a sign of a serious blood clot. Although this a rare complication, it is potentially deadly. You’ll need to go to the ER immediately for a blood clot.
What can you do to minimize the side effects?
Do not touch the lips for at least 48 hours after an injection. It’s also a good idea to avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours after a procedure, too. Strenuous exercise can dissolve the fillers.
What happens during a procedure and how long will it take?
The procedure will take about one hour from start to finish. First, the lips are cleaned and a topical numbing agent is applied to the lips to minimize pain. Or, a dermatologist will inject lidocaine into the lips for pain relief. If a patient uses topical numbing cream, it can take up to 20 minutes for the medication to work. After the numbing cream starts working, the injections themselves will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Will the injections hurt?
Lidocaine injections are usually the most painful part of the procedure. The lip fillers themselves do not hurt but may give the lips a “pressurized” feeling which can be uncomfortable.
Are the results immediate?
The lips will look plumper right after the injections. However, bruising, swelling, and bumpiness can last for up to two weeks. Afterward, the lips should look smooth, and volumized.
What happens if I don’t like the results?
A doctor can dissolve the fillers with an enzyme to return the lips to their normal state. Most doctors will dissolve the fillers free of charge if you aren’t happy with the results.
Do I need to go for touch ups?
Depending on the fillers you get, they can last for up to one year after the initial injection. It is recommended that you go back for touch ups about every three months to one year after the procedure. There is a large window for touch ups because a patient’s lifestyle can significantly impact the longevity of the fillers. More active patients will lose the fillers more quickly than patients who lead a sedentary or less active lifestyle.
How much do fillers cost?
Costs can vary depending on the location, the doctor’s skill, and experience, and the specific lip filler formula you will be getting. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $2000 for lip augmentation.
How do I find a reputable doctor?
You can visit Restylane and Juvederm’s websites to find a reputable practitioner near you. You’ll want to go to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who specializes in facial aesthetics and who has a lot of experience with lip fillers. Nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants can also perform the procedure. But overall, you want to go with someone who has completed the procedure many times and who can show you before and after pictures of their work. Also, check to make sure that they offer a free reversal of the procedure if you are unhappy.
Author – Joe Murphy