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Lip Fillers 101: How long they’ll last, what you can expect to pay, and more

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By: Dr. Corey Hartman, Skin Wellness Dermatology

Though social media has told everyone that they need to augment their lips, the whole point of doing lip filler, in my opinion, is to restore and hydrate.

Lately and fortunately, the overfilled, no-shape sausage lips are something that we’re finally seeing the pendulum swing away from.

(Though I did see that one nurse practitioner in New York who was trying to trademark “Blow Up Doll Lips” like that was a good thing.)

Don’t get me wrong – patients still want them full, but they want good contour at the same time.

Lip Fillers: The (honest) answers to all of your questions

One of the first questions you might be asking yourself is if lip filler is right for you. And to that, I’d say that if you’re starting to notice your lips looking just a little shriveled and dry, then lip fillers are a great way to bring them back to life.

As we all start to mature, our upper cutaneous lip starts to elongate, and we begin to see those anatomical landmarks like the philtral column and cupid’s bow. These are what give us that perky, well-shaped, well-contoured lip from the front and the profile.

If you’re interested in lip fillers, here are some other questions you probably have on your mind right now. 

How much do lip fillers cost?

Lip fillers cost about $750, and from a reputable injector, that’s pretty standard.

How long do lip fillers last?

On paper, the filler lasts twelve months. However, this body part is an area that’s in constant motion. We know that when we put a filler in a place that we’re moving all the time, it’s likely to break down a bit faster. That’s why I feel like eight months is probably a more realistic estimate.

I do have patients who hold onto filler there. However, most come in around eight months for a touch-up, so they’re just doing a little at a time. Plus, it keeps people out of your business.

Does it hurt to get lip fillers?

Ugh… I’m going to be totally honest. Yes. It does.  It’s a needle in your lip, right? 

It’s not going to feel good, but we can make it feel as comfortable as possible. We let you sit with some topical numbing cream and then use a distractor tool during the injection. We also use ice intermittently, which also seems to help.

Everybody does well with it, though. I can’t think of one patient who’s just not been able to tolerate it. Plus, when it’s all done, patients are able to appreciate the improvement they get.

Is swelling normal after getting lip fillers?

Yes, you’re going to see some swelling after the injections. The filler that I really like the most these days gives you about 24 hours of swelling, and then it’s over. That’s been a pretty consistent message, but I would say 1-3 days on the long end.

It’s a very vascular area, so there’s always a risk of bruising just because there are vessels everywhere, but that can be treated with the laser immediately after and then a few days later, if necessary.

How can you reduce the swelling after getting lip fillers?

I like ice and antihistamines. I ask all patients to double the dose of something that won’t make them sleepy the day of the procedure, making a huge difference. I would also stay away from Aspirin and avoid any kind of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). It’s sort of counterintuitive; you think that will hurt less, but then you end up bleeding more.

How can you make lip fillers last longer?

Some good lip glosses out there have hyaluronic acid in them that give a little shine plus a hydration boost, which will help them last as long as possible.

Are lip fillers safe?

Of course, they’re safe. They’re hyaluronic acid which doesn’t even require any allergy testing. They can be immediately dissolved with an enzyme if you don’t like them. Plus, an experienced injector will avoid any vessels, so you don’t get any blockages.

That being said, there’s always a risk involved, which is why you want to make sure you’re going with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Think it’s time to go forward with lip fillers?

When you first start noticing your lips shriveling up a bit and looking dry, it might be a good time to do a little bit of filler in the area. The main goal is to maintain as much of that contour and shape as possible before losing it completely.

The last resort will be recreating it, which sometimes, we can do that in a way that still looks believable for patients, but that’s not always ideal. When the shape, or lack thereof, in your lips starts to bother you, I’d say it’s time to reach out to a skilled injector to liven them up.

Learn more about lip fillers from Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL

At Skin Wellness Dermatology of Alabama, we offer cutting-edge skincare and dermatology services to our patients in the Greater Birmingham area, including Hoover and Homewood. At our offices in Birmingham & Chelsea, AL, our certified dermatologists are here to listen to your concerns and offer the individualized, high level of patient care you seek. We believe in making care accessible and affordable, and we will go out of our way to accommodate your visit. Give us a call today at 205-871-7332.