What You Need to Know About Lip Fillers


Elizabeth Beasley    

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As the search for the fountain of youth continues, lip fillers are changing the face of cosmetic treatments and injectables. This popular treatment is being used by people of all ages to create sexy, plump lips that add oomph to your facial proportions. Some are happy to fill in thinning lips while others go big for a show-stopping smooch. Whatever your goal, here’s what you need to know before you go for the fill.

How Lip Fillers Work

Like other popular injectables, this minimally invasive cosmetic enhancement offers a lot of benefits with only a few drawbacks:

  • They work fast. During your office visit, your provider will clean and numb your lips, then use a fine needle to inject the filler into various areas of your lips and mouth. Once the procedure is done and the swelling goes down, you should see results within 24 hours.

  • Fillers can last six months to a year. Then you can repeat treatments to maintain your new look or go fuller.

  • You can customize your look. One size doesn’t fit all, so work with your provider to craft a shape that works proportionally for your face and emphasizes the areas you want to enhance, like your lower lip or Cupid’s bow.

  • There are different types of treatments to choose from. Fillers range from temporary to permanent and you can opt for a natural or synthetic product. Take to time to weigh all of your options before making a decision.

  • You can undo the effects. If you use hyaluronic acid as your filler, you can erase the results if you aren’t happy. An injection of an enzyme called hyaluronidase will dissolve the filler in minutes.

  • It stings a bit. They’re sticking a needle in your lips, so that’s going to smart. But a little topical anesthesia will help.

  • Lip filler treatments can get expensive. Prices range from $500-$2,000 for each treatment, so get your piggy bank ready.

Choose A Professional Provider

When you’re altering your appearance, it’s important to work with a professional who has several years of experience with the procedure. Look for a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or nurse practitioner who can consult with you before the treatment and outline what to expect. There are a few key factors that can make or break your lip filling experience.

  • Technique is everything. Even if your provider knows how to technically do the injections, he or she also needs to know the best placement and application to get the look you want. Some doctors recommend injecting micro-droplets to distribute smaller amounts of filler and create a more uniform look.

  • Know your product. Do a bit of homework and consult with your provider to determine what kind of filler is best for you. Fillers are classified by longevity or source. Think about how long you’d like the results to last and whether you want natural or synthetic filler.

  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your provider questions. Where did he or she train? How many treatments has he or she performed? Ask to see photos of previous work and make sure he or she can create a custom plan that suits your goals, your face and your desired look.

Recovery and Side Effects

Since a lip filler treatment requires no down time, you can get back to your normal activities right away. Side effects are usually minimal. You may experience some swelling, bruising, numbness or redness but topical icing can relieve any discomfort within a few hours.

Tips From the Pros

Sold on fillers and ready to get the perfect pout? Here are some final bits of advice from cosmetic surgeons who have seen it all. 

  • Take it slow. The secret to enhancing your lips and still looking natural is to gradually increase the size. Space out your injections to once a week or once a month.

  • Go big. This doesn’t mean you should make your lips gigantic. Instead, aim for covering more area and plump up the skin surrounding the mouth so your lips don’t pop like a cartoon character.

  • You can always go back to “before.” If it turns out that lip filler isn’t your thing, you can always return to your natural state. Lip filler shouldn’t stretch or change your original lip shape. So if you stop getting injections, your lips will go back to normal. No worries.

Now that you know the ins and outs of lip filler, investigate offerings in your area and see if you can find the right practitioner to boost your pucker power.

PHYSICIAN CONTRIBUTOR Close up of woman receiving injection in lips

Advances in Cosmetic Fillers

Dr. David Harvey talks about the latest opportunities for brightening up lips and aging gracefully with cosmetic fillers.
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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Feb 13, 2018

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Medical References

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  3. What are dermal fillers? American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html#content
  4. Dermal fillers recovery. American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html?sub=Dermal+fillers+recovery#content
  5. Dermal fillers cost. American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/dermal-fillers.html?sub=Dermal+fillers+cost#conten...