Lip fillers have grown very popular in recent years as more and more people desire fuller, smoother, plumper lips. It is the procedure of choice for those who love to see great results when they step out of the clinic—just 30 minutes to look the more gorgeous version of you!
The most common lip fillers are made of hyaluronic acid (HA), a sugar compound identical to the one produced by the human body. The molecules attract water once introduced by injection or cannula, so lips become fuller and contoured.
If you’re considering getting a lip filler procedure, it’s important to understand what to expect during and after the treatment to ensure the best possible results and save you a lot of anxiety. This blog will walk you through the entire lip filler procedure, from preparation to post-treatment care.
Lip Shapes and Expectations During Consultation
Before undergoing the lip filler procedure, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your desired lip shape and expectations. Typically, young lips have defined contours and are plump, pinkish, and smooth. Over the years, natural aging can cause the lips to appear thinner, wrinkled, and with a downward turn at the edges.
Those with very thin lips or naturally small mouths won’t assume model proportions and get all pouty overnight. Augmentation is a personalized procedure – consider refreshing lipa as a work in progress, which may take more than one treatment to achieve your beauty goals.
Individuals may have different preferences, ranging from subtle enhancement to more significant volume. Some may want a modified shape or a more noticeable pout. During your consultation with a qualified provider, you can discuss your goals and expectations to ensure that the treatment aligns with your desired outcome.
The success of your procedure rests so much on the injector technique—and your realistic expectations of what is achievable during this visit.
Preparation Before Lip Filler Procedure
Preparation before the lip filler procedure ensures a smooth treatment process. Your provider will go over any specific instructions, but here are a few general tips to help you prepare:
- Inform your doctor about your medical history: Though allergy to filler is very rare, let your doctor know if you are predisposed to allergies. If you have a history of mouth sores, you may be given an antiviral prescription a few days before your filler date.
- Avoid blood-thinning medications: Certain medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, and antioxidant supplements like Vitamin C and fish oil can increase the risk of bruising. Avoiding these medications for a week before your procedure is recommended.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your treatment can help optimize the results and minimize potential swelling.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Both alcohol and caffeine can dehydrate your body, which may affect the healing process. Avoiding them for a day or two before the treatment is advisable. Alcohol can cause blood vessels to get dilated and increase the chances of bleeding.
- Don’t exercise or have a hot bath or sauna: The hot temperature and increased blood flow to the face may increase the chances of bleeding or swelling.
Expectations During The Procedure
Here’s what to expect during the procedure:
- Choose the right filler type
Various types of fillers are available, each with its unique characteristics. During your consultation, your provider will evaluate your lips and recommend the most suitable filler type based on your needs. FDA-cleared hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers provide natural-looking results and are reversible.
Lip fillers vary in consistency, size of molecules, firmness, and malleability – all dependent on how the molecules are cross-linked. But it’s really “different strokes for different folks,” so in cases where the overlying skin is very tight, it’s not advisable to overstretch it the first time.
Lip fillers are temporary since the body breaks them down naturally. However, though they usually last eight months to a year, people with faster metabolism may need a top-up more frequently to maintain great results.
- Determine the number of fillers used throughout the treatment plan.
The number of fillers used depends on your desired outcome, the shape of your lips, and your provider’s expertise. Some individuals may only require a single syringe, while others may need multiple syringes to achieve their desired results. Your provider will discuss the recommended number of fillers during your consultation.
If you’ve never had fillers, your doctor will suggest one syringe or less distributed on your upper and lower lips. If you’ve had fillers and would like to dissolve partially before re-injecting, that can also be done. Some popular requests are for the keyhole and Russian lips. Please note that this is not possible for all lips.
How much volume is there in one syringe? One syringe has exactly 1 ml or 1/5 of a teaspoon. Fillers, in general, are sold per syringe, and it’s not good practice to keep them for a “top-up” since leftover filler may be contaminated.
- Numbing and the procedure
Though the filler has some lidocaine, to ensure a comfortable experience, local anesthesia or a topical numbing cream is typically applied to the lips before the procedure. This helps minimize any potential discomfort. After the numbing has taken effect, the provider will carefully introduce the filler by injection or cannula into specific areas of your lips to achieve the desired volume and shape.
Some doctors also choose to treat the “smoker’s lines” or the fine lines around the mouth. For a slight lift at the corners, a bit can also be injected, resulting in a more youthful look. Other doctors will use microneedling or radiofrequency microneedling to diminish these lines.
The procedure takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes, after which the fillers continue to spread a little and settle. You may notice your lips “deflate” after a week or two. Don’t be alarmed. The fillers are still there—and your lips are less inflamed.
Post-Treatment Care And Dealing With Swelling
After the lip filler procedure, it is normal to experience some swelling, tenderness, and even mild bruising. After all, the skin barrier was broken. However, if you followed the pre-treatment instructions, it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
Here are some tips to help manage post-treatment effects:
- Apply ice packs: Applying ice packs to the treated area can help reduce swelling and minimize discomfort. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a clean cloth to protect your lips.
- Avoid touching or pressing on your lips: It is important to avoid touching or pressing on your lips immediately after the treatment to allow the filler to settle properly.
- Avoid strenuous activities: To minimize swelling and promote optimal healing, it is advisable to avoid strenuous activities, such as intense workouts, for at least 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.
Antihistamines and arnica (topical and oral) may help reduce the swelling in some cases.
Dealing With Bumps And When To Contact The Clinic
Experiencing small bumps or lumps after getting lip fillers is not uncommon, and rest assured, these typically resolve on their own within a week or two. In this healing phase, it’s important to remain patient and allow your lips to adjust to the subtle transformation. A friendly reminder to avoid poking or excessively touching the treatment area, which can exacerbate the situation.
While most post-procedure symptoms are mild and temporary, there are instances that warrant reaching out to your clinic or provider. If you notice persistent or concerning symptoms like a spreading, deeply purple bruise, or the bumps show no signs of subsiding, it’s time to consult your trusted professional. They have the expertise to assess your condition, guide you through the proper management steps, and address any potential issues.
Work In Progress
Each lip is unique, and clients may have different concepts of how much is enough. The goals and proportions may also differ and can be impacted by genetics, race, and culture.
Doctors used to observe a golden rule, a universal standard of beauty that was a rough guide. For instance, the upper lip to lower lip ratio is 1:2, but for others, the appropriate ratio is 1:1. Fillers can build up one syringe at a time. The best practice would be to wait a few weeks before having anything added or dissolved.
Some old fillers need dissolving as long as the fillers used are HA. Hyaluronidase can be injected for a partial or full dissolve. This substance is an enzyme similar to what we produce in our bodies. After the dissolve, allow the lips to heal so they are no longer swollen when the new filler is injected.
For some clients, this journey to having shapely and youthful lips takes a single syringe. For others, it can take up to 3 syringes. One thing is clear: no matter how much used, the lips should look natural and perfectly balanced with the rest of your features.
Understanding the expectations and preparation before a lip filler procedure is essential for optimal results. By choosing the right filler type, following the recommended post-treatment care, and maintaining open communication with your provider, you can enhance your lips and achieve the desired lip shape and volume.