Lip augmentation has become the second-fastest-growing facial procedure in America (thanks to all the crazy, fearless millennials and FDA approvals).
It’s kind of a scary thought to have some unknown substances injected into your only pair of lips –- something you need and use every day. So before you make this jump, let’s go over some helpful pieces of knowledge.
What exactly are lip fillers? Most derms recommend fillers made of hyaluronic acid –- a sugar found naturally in the body, that adds temporary volume and definition to your lips after injection.
Know Your Options
Over the last few years, the government has green-lit many hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers for lips. The new formulas are all similar in composition, with slight variations in longevity and density, which can determine when and how they’re used. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Restylane and Restylane-L
This is best for allover volume. They’re both the same basic formula, except Restylane-L is mixed with pain-preventing lidocaine.
This is best for subtle enhancements with smaller HA molecules
Juvederm Ultra XC
This is best for a plush, pillowy effect
Juvederm Volbella XC
This is best for defining the lip line and treating fine lines around the mouth
Celeb derm Whitney Bowe says it’s common for derms to layer and mix different fillers to achieve the best result, and if they don’t, then they’re probably a noob injector.
For example, one may use a heavier filler like Restylane in the middle of the lips for fullness and a thinner filler like Restylane Silk at the corners for slight definition.
How To Ensure You’ll Love Your New Look
Do Your Research
The most important step in filling your lips is finding the right injector. It’s like finding the right person to cut your hair or wax your eyebrows.
You don’t leave it up to just anyone. Look through Realself.com for reviews, and check out Juvéderm and Restylane’s websites — both have search tabs that help locate reputable derms in your area. You want to find a board-certified derm or plastic surgeon who concentrates in facial aesthetics and has tons of experience.
Schedule A Consultation
During the initial meeting, you will review your medical history, discuss your goals (subtle definition versus major volume), and learn how to prep for the day (avoid blood thinners such as NSAIDs, alcohol, and fish-oil and vitamin-E supplements for two weeks before; they up your chances of bruising and bleeding during and after treatment, says Neil Sadick, MD).
You should also request to see before-and-after photos of previous patients and ask how often the doc does fillers. There’s no magic number, but if the staff can easily answer the question, it’s a sign they’re familiar with the procedure.
Be Ready To Hurt Your Wallet A Bit
This procedure could cost you anywhere between $300 to $2,000, and as with most things, you get what you pay for. A bigger price tag probably means you’re paying for more experience.
And don’t be tempted with unbelievable deals on coupon sites; if the deal sounds too good to be true, your filler may have been diluted with water or saline to cover the cost, meaning your fillers may not last or could result in uneven lips. So if you’re going to get lip fillers, do it right the first time.
Here are some common questions asked about getting lip fillers
Q: How long does the procedure take?
Less than an hour. First, your injector will cleanse the area and apply a topical numbing cream (it needs about 20 minutes to kick in) or inject you with lidocaine. Then the injections themselves take 15 to 20 minutes, says Neil Sadick, MD.
Q: How bad does it hurt?
Most women say the lidocaine shot hurts most (like an intense bee sting). As for the filler itself, it can be best described as an immediate pricking sensation, then uncomfortable pressure as the filler moves throughout the lips.
Q: Will they look good right after?
You’ll see immediate volume, but expect a few days of bruising and swelling (so schedule accordingly).
Q: What about the side effects?
You may notice some small bumps under your lips. They usually smooth out on their own within a week or two, but if not, your injector can remove them. While rare, more serious complications (like a blood clot) can occur, so if you’re experiencing significant pain or skin discoloration, see a doctor ASAP.
Q: How do I take care of them after?
No touching your lips for 48 hours after injections. And hold off on exercise for a few days, as it speeds up your blood flow.
Q: How do I maintain them?
Touch-ups every three months to a year. Why such a big window? Factors like filler consistency and lifestyle can affect longevity. For instance, in patients who are more physically active, their filler dissolves faster than in those who are more sedentary, explains Whitney Bowe, MD.
Q: What if I hate them?
Your doctor can dissolve the filler by injecting lips with the enzyme hyaluronidase. Most reputable derms will do this for free if you’re not happy with their work.
Let us know if you’ve thought about getting lip fillers or what your experience was like if you’ve had them!