-by Geena Lawatsch, RN, BSN
Today, most people have either heard or read about dermal fillers. This non-surgical enhancement has been more popular than ever over the last 5 years, thanks to the power of social media. One of my most popular requests for filler treatments is the lips. Hydrated, rosy, balanced lips are very youthful, and who wouldn’t want that?
What Are Lip Fillers?
Lip fillers utilize injectable filler products specifically in the lips in order to enhance their size, shape, and overall balance.
The majority of my patients are ages 40 and up. They are often petrified of trying lip filler due to the fact that younger, 20-somethings are getting them big and plump. It’s important to know that no matter who is sitting in my chair, I never do the same treatment twice. With each patient, I assess their natural anatomy, and together we agree on a customized plan so that they not only still look like themselves, but they feel comfortable and confident in their results.
Many wonder if lip filler hurts. While this is a common worry about the pain associated with lip injections, it is a very tolerable procedure. Most patients feel some little pokes and pricks, but we do numb the lips before treatment for comfort.
How Long Does Lip Filler Last?
One of our most asked questions from patients is, “How long do lip fillers last?”
Now—let’s get to the truth on why you clicked on this page. You’re probably reading this because you either have lip fillers, or want to explore the idea of this treatment and can’t help but wonder: Is it worth it? I am a big advocate for thinking long and hard before pulling the trigger on a procedure, so you’re already on the right track by reading this blog to get more information.
I am partial to fillers made with hyaluronic acid because they’re flexible, they move naturally and mold directly into the lip tissue. I also love that it is a buildable product, meaning I can safely control the amount of volume the lips will have over time. After the first lip filler treatment, the area is “primed” and your body has the time to adjust and expand to hold the newly placed filler. We are then ready to take on more volume several weeks later, if the patient desires.
Many patients love the volume of their lips right after treatment when swelling is present. Swelling should go down within 2 to 3 days, and be gone completely two weeks after treatment. Icing the lips in the first 48 hours and arnica help reduce swelling and bruising. If a patient wants that fuller look once the swelling has gone down, I can easily build onto their initial results with additional filler.
Once my patient’s lips are at their desired state, I always tell them that the timeframe of the result lasting varies with each individual. Each dermal filler company runs clinical studies on the longevity of their product and states an average timeframe that patients can expect to maintain results for. The reality of this is that these are averages and there are always variables that can cause this time period to shorten or maybe even lengthen to longer than average.
Why Does Filler Sometimes Break Down Quicker Than You Had Hoped?
- First of all, metabolism is a dominant factor in how long any product stays in the body. This is the same metabolism that breaks down your food. Generally speaking, if you have a fast metabolism at baseline or due to lifestyle choices, there is a chance you could break down your filler a little quicker. This is also the case for neurotoxins (Botox®, Dysport®).
- With that said, the amount of filler placed in the lips can influence the longevity. As a general rule of thumb, the more there is to break down, the longer it takes to break down.
- Another factor is how chatty you might be! We constantly move our mouths-whether we’re eating, sipping coffee, using straws, or habitually biting our lips. This breaks filler down simply by mechanical means. The molecules are held together by bonds, so they will eventually break over time.
I recommend maintenance injection appointments to keep those lips in tip-top shape before they completely go away. This is typically every 4-6 months. We may be pleasantly surprised at that point to see that they are lasting longer, so I will not inject your lips unless volume has decreased. We’ll simply wait!
At-Home Lip Treatments
Now that you’ve achieved beautiful lip goals, how can you keep them healthy and plump in-between treatments?
My absolute favorite product is PCA’s Hyaluronic Acid Lip Booster. It encompasses high-quality hyaluronic acid and konjac root. These penetrate deep in the lip to attract water from the dermis to the surface for hydration and a subtle plump that lasts for hours (really!). This was created to be a morning and night treatment, but sometimes I’ll use it as a mid-day touch up during the hot/dry summer or cold/windy winter. The key property to this product are the peptides that produce long-lasting collagen production for those vertical fine lines you see in the pink part of your lip.
My next favorite product is the GrandePOUT Plumping Lip Mask. This is not just for your nighttime routine. You can use a generous amount before bed and a light amount as needed throughout the day. This formula is engineered to keep working for 72 hours after it is absorbed. Initial results are seen in 3 days, with full improvement in 2 weeks. This also works deep in the tissue and not just on top, so that the lips can heal from being cracked, peeled, or just deflated.
When you’re ready to talk lips, please come in and visit with me! We can start by discussing your lip goals, and then dive into a customized treatment plan when you are ready. Contact us today to get started!