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Low Down on Lip Fillers

Lips: To plump or not to plump. That is the question.

Lips are all the rage these days. You see the Pinterest lipstick obsessions and the funny (or maybe not so funny!) YouTube clips of lip suction devices gone awry.

Lip volume requests in my practice have more than doubled over the past few years since Kylie Jenner took the helm of lip volume madness. But what about those people in between, who want a subtle boost of volume? These are the majority of my patients, and, for many of them, it takes a lot of time and education to finally make the decision to get lip filler. Here are some main points that I’d like to share when making the decision.

It takes a lot of syringes of filler to look like a clown.

Whether you choose to use popular dermal fillers like Juvederm Ultra or Restylane Silk, imagine the size of teaspoon. One syringe of either of these fillers is the equivalent to 1/5 of a teaspoon.

That’s right—only a very small amount is going into your lips and, so, for your first syringe of filler, structural changes and volume are subtle. For those wanting a more conservative approach to lips, I find this is the perfect amount.

For patients wanting a more drastic change, we can easily get into 3 or 4 syringes before they find the volume they seek for their lips. In this case, we normally suggest placing one syringe of dermal filler into the lips at several separate appointments spread out over several weeks. This way we can ensure that the results are what you’re looking for, with no regrets or “oops that’s too much.”

Bruising and swelling are part of the deal.

You can take all the arnica beforehand, avoid every blood thinner known to man, and swear off drinking for several days prior and still bruise. The lips are very vascular (that is, they have lots of veins. This is why lips are red!) Thus bruising and injections go hand in hand, so prepare for it.

Don’t get your lips done the day before your best friend’s holiday party. Or your wedding day. Luckily, for most people, going back to work the next day is not a big deal and dark lipstick is the perfect way to cover up those bruises as they fade. We suggest using arnica topically several times a day post procedure, icing the area immediately post injections, and avoiding exercise for 24 hours after in order to diminish the amount of bruising.

Also, keep in mind that swelling is normal, but might make your new lip injections to appear fuller than how they really are. Wait a few days for the swelling to go down before evaluating if you want more or if the shape is what you were looking for.

No pain, no gain.

Of course one of the biggest questions is pain during injections. The lips tend to be one of the most sensitive areas of the face. This is why kissing is fun!

There are several ways we can approach pain management for lip injections. Most of my patients are perfectly comfortable with topical numbing. If a patient is more sensitive, we can add a dental block which requires a few numbing shots in the mouth area to further create comfort, the same kind that dentists use.

Between these two methods, patients tolerate lip injections well. We advise eating a well-balanced meal an hour or so beforehand. Often patients are nervous about their first injection and can feel lightheaded if they haven’t eaten recently.

Know your injector.

We have all seen them. The duck lips. The fake clown pout. You don’t want this look, trust me. With social media rampant these days, it is not hard to find good before and after photos of the injector’s work you are about to see. Or ask for them in the office.

Peruse their website and see if they have real before and after photos. As it happens, Scottsdale has one of the highest concentration of aesthetics injectors in the country. That means there are a lot of good ones…and a lot of bad ones. Unfortunately, corrective work is a big part of my practice when someone goes for lip filler and comes out lopsided. So check out an injector’s work before hand, and make sure it’s what you’re looking for.

Full lips are definitely not going out of style any time soon. Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, go out and get those sexy lips you’ve always wanted!

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