Everything you never knew about lip fillers

lip fillers Kylie Jenner

Are plump lips at the top of your wish list? Read this first

Beauty Crew Beauty Writer / September 17 2019

The era of big, pouty lips is still very much upon us.

While getting lip fillers has become as common as getting your hair coloured, if you are considering lip augmentation it’s important to remember that it is a REAL procedure with a lot of risks and consequences if performed incorrectly.

And while we’d love to give you our blessing and tell you to go get the lips of your dreams, it’s probably worth reading up on all the facts first, okay? We asked cosmetic nurse Georgia Mills from Skin Boost, a cosmetic clinic in Sydney, to take us back to basics and tell us exactly what we need to know before getting lip injections.

What are lip fillers? 

“Lip fillers are a cosmetic procedure involving injections into the lip to add or restore volume, definition and hydration. They can last about three months to a year depending on the individual,” says Mills.

As for your options, you can get temporary fillers and permanent fillers. Permanent fillers are NOT reversible (so if you don’t like them, there’s no going back), whereas temporary fillers can be dissolved and reversed.

Types of temporary lip filler

The best lip enhancer option is probably temporary hyaluronic acid (HA) filler, which usually lasts about six months. “They are made of hyaluronic acid, which is a clear gel-like substance, found naturally in the body,” explains Mills.

Collagen-based filler is another option, however, it’s a little less common these days as it works purely by plumping the lip, whereas HA fillers not only plump your pout, they also trap water within the lips, offering a more natural look.

Why are lip fillers so popular?

So, what’s the go? Do we blame this whole thing on Kylie Jenner? “I think the world of cosmetic injectables has definitely become more mainstream, perhaps more accessible and affordable than a few years ago. Social media and celebrity influencers definitely have had an impact on what is considered fashionable and beautiful, too,” says Mills.

What should you do to prep before a lip filler treatment?

“For optimal results, drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol in the few days leading up to treatment. If okayed by your health professional, avoid blood thinning medication, fish oils and St John’s wort to minimise bruising.”

What’s involved in the procedure?

“After the initial consultation, the lips will be prepped with an anaesthetic gel, which will stay on for around 15 minutes. Once the lips are sufficiently numb, the skin is cleaned and then the injecting takes around 10 minutes. Finally, an antiseptic cream is gently massage into the lips,” explains Mills.

Is there any downtime? 

“It’s advisable not to plan any major events for two weeks post-treatment, in case of bruising or swelling. The degree of swelling does vary from person to person and for most people swelling has subsided within 24 to 48 hours. Immediate aftercare includes applying a cold compress to the site and keeping the area clean. Things to avoid soon after your appointment include excessive exercise, facial treatments and massage, heat/saunas, flying and dental work.” 

Are there any risks/side effects?

While lip fillers may be considered a simple ‘lunch time procedure’, it’s important to keep in mind that it is an invasive procedure that comes with risks. “The most common side effects are swelling and bruising and potentially some small lumps, which should settle in a few days. Serious side effects are extremely rare, but should an issue such as occlusion of blood vessels, allergic reactions or extreme swelling occur, notify the injector immediately, who will dissolve the filler with a special enzyme,” says Mills.

Will results look natural? 

“Most of the clients coming in for lip filler want the results to look natural and not ‘ducky’. You can achieve natural results with the right filler and technique, and staying true to the natural shape of the client’s lips,” notes Mills. “In my opinion, less is more when it comes to lip filler.”

How long do lip injections last?

Unless you opt for permanent fillers (where results are not reversible), you’ll need to be prepared to undergo top-up treatments to maintain the results. How quickly the filler breaks down is dependent on your body’s metabolism – while it may last for up to six months for some people, it may dissolve quicker for others. “The results are temporary and usually repeat treatments are required from three months to yearly, depending on the individual and the result they’re trying to achieve,” says Mills. 

Do lip injections hurt?

Lip fillers involve injections, so yes - you can expect some discomfort during the treatment, but it all comes down to the individual. “The procedure isn’t pain-free, however, with a strong numbing gel most patients tolerate the injections quite well. There is a slight discomfort or pressure as the filler is being injected and there may be some tenderness as the numbing gel wares off,” explains Mills. 

How much can you expect to pay for lip fillers?

So, how much does it usually cost to get your lips done? Well, it depends on the type of filler that’s used, the amount of filler you get, the practitioner you see, and the location you’re visiting. This is something you should ask during your initial consultation to save yourself from any nasty surprises (remember to also ask them if you can see some before and after photos!). Mills says that on average the cost ranges from $300 to $500 per 1ml of lip filler. While that may sound a little pricey, you don’t want to cheap out and go to some dodgy discount spa – it’s not worth the risk.

Want to know how to plump your lips without injectables? Check out nine lip products that’ll help you fake your way to a fuller pout.

Have you tried lip fillers before? Let us know in the comments below.

Main image credit: @kyliejenner

Erin Docherty is a Beauty Writer for BEAUTYcrew, Beauty Editor for Women's Health magazine and a Grooming Writer for Men's Health magazine. She has a keen interest in cosmeceutical skin care and is currently working on minimising her 9-step skin care routine – because ain’t nobody got time for that. When she’s not writing about the latest beauty news, or applying copious amounts of serum, you can find her spending all her money in Sephora.