The pointers in this article about lip augmentations (including injections and fillers) need to be known by anyone thinking about getting a procedure done for the first time. We love that Elle Magazine laid them all out in an easy to understand way. People are getting their lips done more frequently these days, so if you’ve been wanting to don’t do it without know this information first!
If you’re a lip filler rookie looking to go under the needle for the first time, you’re not alone. According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), lip procedures are the second-fastest growing facial procedure in the United States, second only to dermabrasion. But the ubiquity of lip fillers doesn’t mean they’re suddenly risk-free.
Before going ahead with the procedure, “first schedule a consultation, tell the doctor what you’re looking for and listen for his or her answers,” advises Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Most importantly, “make sure the physician you are going to is board certified in dermatology or plastic surgery,” adds dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, MD, FAAD, who specializes in correcting botched procedures. Here, the experts share their tips for lip filler first-timers.
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1. Use hyaluronic fillers (HA fillers) that are FDA approved.
Because duh and also, “other fillers may leave lips firm or hard and more prone to visible lumps,” says Zeichner, who cautions against the use of silicone or permanent fillers because they’re irreversible and can cause “severe reactions.” No thank you.
2. Each product has slightly different characteristics.
Both Juvéderm ultra and Juvéderm Volbella are FDA approved for lips. “If you are looking for significant volume in the body of the lip, Juvederm ultra would be your go-to product,” Zeichner says. “For fine lines around the mouth, and subtle plumping, Volbella is a softer filler and doesn’t provide as much structure as its sister product.”
3. Prices vary.
When it comes to lip fillers, expect to pay anywhere from $500 – $800 per syringe. “If you are paying less than $500, it should make you a little bit weary,” Mariwalla says.
4. Results can last anywhere between three and nine months.
Results are dependent on what is used to fill. However, the latest generation of lip fillers, Juvederm and Volbella, can last upwards of one year.
5. Botched injections are reversible (but it’s complicated).
If your lips turn out lumpy, asymmetric, or too-big, an enzyme called hyaluronidase can be used to dissolve the product altogether. “The problem is that it can dissolve some of your natural hyaluronic acid in your lip so you typically want to wait a little bit before re-injecting them,” explains Mariwalla. “I have had patients who have had their lips filled overseas or by non-qualified injectors and are not sure what was put in. This is the toughest because I’ve seen everything from silicone to implants placed that cannot be undone. The only option there is to ‘fill around’ or try to correct the defect with injections that can be undone and hope that the substance you are injecting and the substance that is already in the lips do not interact.”
6. Let your doctor know if you have a history of cold sores.
Injections may cause a cold sore outbreak, “if you get them already and do not take prophylaxis,” says Mariwalla, so pop a preventative Valtrex.
7. Bring a reference picture.
But be realistic. “I have had patients who genetically have very thin lips come and show me pictures of some models and I tell them it will not be possible to achieve that without looking ducky,” Mariwalla explains. “It’s helpful though because we can deconstruct the photo and they can tell me which parts they like the best and we can do that.”
8. Avoid supplements and medications that thin the blood.
Aspirin, ginkgo, fish oil, and vitamin D and E supplements are all off-limits for two weeks leading up to your injection appointment. Alcohol should be avoided for 72 hours before injections.
9. Injections don’t have to hurt.
“Don’t get me wrong, compared to other parts of the face, the lips are the most sensitive,” Mariwalla says, but many injectables are spiked with anesthesia so you get more numb as you go. “Most doctors will numb the lips either with an intra-oral block, injecting anesthesia from inside the mouth to block the nerves supplying sensation to the upper and lower lips, or will have patients numb long enough so that the injections are not that painful. Plus, experienced injectors try to avoid multiple needle sticks to minimize pain.”
10. Results are immediate.
However after injection, the lips initially may look more puffy then they will end up because of initial swelling from the injections themselves.
11. Expect temporary swelling and bruising.
While swelling typically improves within 24 to 48 hours, you might want to NOT schedule injections the day before a big presentation, your wedding, etc. Most swelling can be successfully treated with ice. “Rarely, however some patients may develop more significant swelling requiring a prescription medication to help treat it,” says Mariwalla, who suggests waiting 24 hours before applying concealer or lipstick to the injection site.