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Dec 30, 2019
Written By:Emma Collier
Emma Collier

Lip fillers are very popular aesthetic treatments and their popularity is only growing. So, chances are you’ve heard lots about them already. But, you might have a few lingering questions about them, like how they work, how long they last and if they have any side effects, etc. These FAQs have got all your lip filler questions covered.

Q. What are lip fillers?

Lip fillers - a.k.a. lip augmentation or lip enhancement - are a type of aesthetic treatment whereby filler (most commonly made from hyaluronic acid) is injected into different parts of the lips to volumise them, give them definition, make them symmetrical and change their shape.

Q. How do lip fillers work?

During a lip filler treatment, hyaluronic acid-based filler (which has a gel-like consistency) is injected into different points of the lips with either a needle or cannula. Hyaluronic acid is a particularly good filler material because it’s hydrophilic (water-loving) in nature. This means it can attract and hold lots of water which helps to plump out the lips.

Filler can be injected into different parts of the lip area, including directly into the lips themselves, or around the perimeter of the mouth, called the vermillion borders. The former will give a fuller, plumper look, whereas the latter will make the lips look more defined.

Q. What are the benefits of lip fillers?

One huge benefit of lip fillers is that they can plump out small, thin lips which are lacking in volume. As we age, our lips - like the rest of our face - start to lose their youthful plumpness, so lip fillers can help restore lost volume. But, this treatment can also be used to make the lips more even, change their shape and give them definition.

Q. What are lip fillers made of?

Lip fillers are most often made from hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in the skin that’s low-risk and well-accepted by the body when used as filler. The most common brands of hyaluronic acid lip fillers are Juvéderm Volbella and Restylane Silk.

The great thing about this substance is that if you don’t like the results of the treatment, or if something goes wrong during the lip filler procedure, hyaluronic acid can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Lip fillers are sometimes made from substances other than hyaluronic acid, but it’s often advised that these aren’t used in the lips.

Q. How long does the lip filler treatment take?

The treatment is short, usually taking around 15 minutes for the lip filler injections to be administered. If numbing cream is used, this will need to stay on the lips for roughly 20 minutes before the injecting begins to make sure it takes full effect.

Q. Are there any lip filler side effects?

As with most treatments where injections are involved, typical side effects of lip fillers include slight swelling, redness, tenderness and bleeding around the points where the needle or cannula was inserted. But, these should only last for a few days.

If you’re prone to cold sores, you may also experience an outbreak after lip fillers. Taking antiviral medication before the treatment can help reduce this likelihood, though.

In rare instances, more serious complications can occur, with lip filler risks including occlusion. This is where filler is accidentally injected into a blood vessel, which can lead to tissue loss. With a medically qualified practitioner, though, risks like these are drastically reduced.

Q. Is there any recovery time with lip fillers?

The great thing about a lip filler treatment is that there’s no downtime. Whilst side effects such as redness and swelling might last for a few days, you’ll be able to resume your day as normal after your appointment.

Q. Do lip fillers hurt?

The lip area is quite sensitive so the treatment might be a bit uncomfortable. But, any discomfort experienced should only be minimal. Either a numbing cream or local anaesthetic will likely be applied before the treatment to help reduce pain and lots of fillers contain lidocaine - an anaesthetic that will numb the lips throughout the procedure.

Q. Are lip fillers safe?

Dermal fillers are a medium-risk treatment that have been FDA-approved for use in the lips. To make sure lip fillers are as safe as possible, it’s essential that they’re only performed by medically qualified practitioners. So, make sure you do your research and choose an aesthetician who has lots of experience and the right qualifications. Checking out their reviews and before and after photos can also be helpful when deciding who to go with.

Q. How can I prepare for lip fillers?

A week prior to your treatment, avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E and fish oil supplements as these may increase bleeding and bruising. However, if you are taking any prescribed medicines, including aspirin, do not stop taking them. Instead, chat with your practitioner or GP first.

You should also not consume any alcohol for at least 24 hours before your appointment to avoid increased bruising and swelling.

Q. Is there anything I should avoid after lip fillers?

Your practitioner will give you proper aftercare advice following lip fillers, but here are a few things to be aware of after the treatment.

After lip fillers, alcohol should be avoided for a minimum of 24 hours.

You should also avoid strenuous exercise, heat exposure and touching or massaging the lips (this can interfere with the placement of the filler) for 1-2 days post-lip fillers.

It is important that you keep hydrated by drinking lots of water after the treatment.

Q. Who is not a suitable candidate for lip fillers?

If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients in hyaluronic acid lip fillers, you will not be able to go ahead with the treatment. Also, if the skin in the lip area is swollen, damaged or infected, lip injections should not be administered.

Lip fillers are also not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Q. Who can perform lip fillers?

Lip fillers should only ever be performed by medically qualified practitioners. The treatment requires knowledge of facial anatomy and, if not carried out by a medical professional, the treatment could be dangerous. For a safe procedure without the risk of undesirable results, always book with a qualified practitioner, like the ones that will be listed on Glowday.

Q. What if I don’t like how my lip fillers look?

Because hyaluronic acid is the main substance found in lip fillers, if you don’t like your lip filler results, they can be dissolved with the enzyme hyaluronidase. After this enzyme has been injected, your lips will regain their former shape.

Q. How long do lip fillers last?

With hyaluronic acid lip fillers, results will typically last for 6-12 months before they’ll need a top-up. Different people will metabolise filler at different speeds, though, so it can vary from person to person. Longevity can also depend on the brand of lip filler used.

Want to find out more? Check out our lip fillers treatment guide. And have a read through our 10 things to know before having lip fillers here.

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