Lip fillers improve the volume and shape of the lips. They are generally used for two reasons, to:
- Plump up the lips of older people whose lips have lost volume due to age.
- Alter the shape of people with thin, less defined or uneven lips.
Lip augmentation is a very safe, non-surgical procedure. It is a popular choice for women looking to enhance their lips for a special occasion (such as Valentine’s Day!) or to simply gain the pout they have always wanted.
Below we take a look at the top 5 things you should take into account before having the procedure.
- Fillers are temporary
- Lip fillers should only be given by a qualified, experienced professional
- The results should look natural
- Slight bruising and swelling is normal
- There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to lip fillers
At the end of this article, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions on lip fillers.
1. Fillers are temporary
Lip fillers are not permanent and you can expect the results to last for 6 – 12 months. This is down to lip fillers including hyaluronic acid. This is a substance that is gradually broken down by an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which is found naturally in the human body.
Once the effect of the fillers wear off, your lips will return to how they looked before having the procedure, the original shape and size of your lips won’t be permanently affected by using fillers.
It’s important to note that the lips can swell and bruise after having the treatment, the extent of which will vary from person to person, so it’s not possible to predict how long it will take for the lips to settle after having the treatment.
If you’re planning to have the procedure done for a specific event, it’s best to book in for the treatment 1-2 weeks before this event.
What dermal fillers are used in the procedure?
We use hyaluronic acid to fill the lips as this gives moisture and hydration to the lips. Hyaluronic acid fillers attract water from the surrounding tissues, which helps to retain moisture and therefore increase plumpness.
We use Juvederm and Emervel fillers – high quality fillers that give soft, natural results.
2. Lip fillers should only be given by a qualified, experienced professional
Unlike Botox, dermal fillers can be administered without a prescription, which means anyone can perform the procedure without needing to hold a qualification. This means that you should be extra vigilant when choosing a practitioner to perform the procedure, as anyone from dermatologists and beauticians to hairdressers can legally administer fillers.
Choose a practitioner who specialises in performing facial cosmetic treatments such as a cosmetic doctor. Find out how much experience they have and ensure they have suitable knowledge and have achieved satisfactory results in the past, before you agree to have the treatment done there.
To find out more about choosing an experienced practitioner, read our article How to Find the Right Practitioner for Your Botox Treatment, although this covers Botox, much of the advice is applicable to dermal fillers.
3. The results should look natural
Gone are the days of the obvious ‘trout pout’ look and now it’s much more common for patients to choose a very natural finish when having fillers. The key aim when administering lip fillers is to create a natural look, not a dramatic change in appearance. At health + aesthetics we use the hyaluronic acid fillers Juvederm and Emervel, which result in lips that look very natural and are soft to the touch.
How your lips feel should be natural too, when done correctly, the sensation in your lips should feel no different from before you had the treatment.
4. Slight bruising and swelling is normal
You can expect to experience mild bruising for a couple of days after having the procedure, but this isn’t the case for everyone and you may not notice any bruising at all. At health + aesthetics we advise patients to allow 1-2 weeks for their lips to settle down after having treatment. If you do, it should be easy to cover this with makeup the day after treatment.
Some swelling is common just after the procedure and this can last for a couple of days. You can manage any swelling by applying ice packs to the area. You can help minimise any unwanted swelling and bruising by not drinking alcohol or exercising on the day you have the treatment.
Once the injections are done, your practitioner will then massage your lips to help the fillers disperse through the lips so they are even and there are no visible lumps or bumps.
5. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to lip fillers
A good practitioner will not have a set approach to administering fillers or use a set amount of filler. During a consultation, they will discuss which areas of your lips you would like to focus on. They will also give their suggestions for how to enhance the area naturally.
Your doctor will advise you on what size and shape lips will look best for your face, keeping within the natural proportions of your lips.
The ideal ratio for lips is 1:1.6, which means the lower lip should be 1.6 times fuller than the upper lip. Ensuring the size of the lips is within these proportions can help create beautiful and natural-looking results.
As with all good cosmetic procedures, the aim of the treatment is to ensure the end results look as natural as possible. In addition, it should suit your face perfectly, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Frequently Asked Questions on Lip Fillers
Is hyaluronic acid a natural product?
Yes, hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the human body, where its role is to give the skin elasticity and volume.
The hyaluronic acid used in filler brands such as Juvederm has been developed specifically for the lips, to give an incredibly natural look and feel. The hyaluronic acid used in these fillers is synthetic, so they are a non-animal product.
Do lip fillers hurt?
The procedure shouldn’t hurt but you may feel a sharp pinch as the needle is inserted. Everyone’s pain threshold is different, but when administered correctly there should be minimal pain.
Many clinics, including health + aesthetics, will use a local anaesthetic cream to your lip area. This is applied 20 mins before the procedure to numb the area and minimise any discomfort. We use the latest dermal fillers as these contain lidocaine, an anaesthetic within the filler. We also use the finest needles for precision injecting and to minimise any discomfort.
What do lip fillers feel like?
A few days after the procedure your lips may feel slightly firmer to the touch than normal. Later on, they will gradually soften as the fillers settle in place and any swelling subsides. Normal activities such as eating, drinking and kissing will feel no different to before having fillers.
What can go wrong with lip fillers?
There are very few side effects for lip fillers. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body so problems such as allergic reactions are very rare.
When things go wrong, it’s often because an inexperienced practitioner has done the procedure. These issues can include lumps and bumps, oversized or uneven lips, numbness to the lips and even skin necrosis.
If the practitioner does not administer the injections correctly, there is a risk of skin necrosis. For this reason it is vital to only have the procedure done by an experienced medical professional. Dr Rekha Tailor is a medical doctor who has extensive anatomical knowledge. Therefore, she regularly keeps herself up-to-date by attending anatomy courses.
The most common side effect of having the procedure is bruising, swelling and slight bleeding around the lip area. However, this doesn’t mean the procedure has ‘gone wrong’, as these are the body’s natural response to have the procedure done. The extent of these side effects will vary from patient to patient. If the procedure has been done correctly, they should be minimal.
Can I have lip fillers done when pregnant?
No, it is not recommended to have lip fillers done when pregnant or breastfeeding.
You can find out more about how to look after your skin after having dermal fillers with our Dermal Fillers Aftercare FAQs.