Lip fillers is one of the most desired and quick-result procedures one can get. Collecting all frequently asked questions about lip filler from our clients, we put up a comprehensive guide to lip augmentation.
First, What are Lip Fillers?
Lip fillers are also known as dermal (skin) fillers, and filling lips has grown out of the popularity of using dermal fillers to “fill in” wrinkles on the face and neck. Because dermal fillers were so successful in restoring volume to the face, the natural next step was using them on the lips. Dermal fillers are made with Hyaluronic Acid (“HA”) which occurs naturally in our body and forms molecular bonds with collagen on one side and water on the other in order to help moisturize and create volume. Because it occurs naturally in the body there is very little risk of an adverse reaction and the best part is, they are not permanent.
Why are they so popular?
There may be several reasons why someone would like to have a lip augmentation. For one, as we age we tend to lose volume in our face and our lips can appear thinner and less defined. The same reason someone gets filler in their smile lines may be the same reason they’d like some lip filler - volume and hydration! Usually, when the top lip receives a touch of volume, it can add an overall youthful appearance to the face.
Some people are uncomfortable with how thin their lips are naturally. Gradually building a beautiful lip line with filler can help with confidence and give an inspired, rejuvenated look to the face. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Kylie Jenner’s “thin-to-plump” lips that may have single-handedly launched the huge lip filler trend. Although she initially denied a lip augmentation, she finally admitted to it and also launched her billion-dollar Kylie Brand Cosmetics line based on her new, augmented lips!
What Type of Lip Fillers are on the Market Today?
Years ago most fillers were cookie-cutter, with higher molecular weight of hyaluronic acid which could sometimes lead to a bit of a lumpy result if lips were overfilled. The lip filler market has now advanced to unprecedented levels of sophistication. The most recently approved brands and lip-centric fillers all have different variations and concentrations of HA and can be used to achieve different results.
The most common brand is Restylane and Restylane-L, which has added Lidocaine, a numbing agent, to reduce pain at the injection site. This one is used primarily for overall volume. Restylane-Silk, however, has smaller HA molecules and is used for a more subtle, refined look. In the last two years Restylane has also launched Kysse, a specially formulated injectable specifically for lips that stretches, and feels more natural once injected.
Alternately, Juvederm Ultra-XC allows for extra volume and gives that posh, pillowy look for your bottom lip, a la Angelina Jolie. Juvederm Volbella-XC may be used to give more definition to the lip line for those of us who have a bit more wrinkling due to smoking or fine lines from age.
Belotero Lips Shape and Lips Contour are also popular brands that can be used for volume and definition/elimination of fine lines, respectively.
Who Should Perform Your Lip Augmentation?
We always recommend that you Research Research Research! While Eunogo is able to vet all the doctors and clinics we collaborate with in Seoul, we understand that not everyone has the opportunity to come to Korea. So if you are looking to have lip filler in your home country, please do research: make sure your injector is a medically-trained professional like a doctor or a nurse, who is familiar with facial anatomy and the circulatory system in the face, check out reviews, word of mouth and personal recommendations, and social media.
This may be more difficult in countries like Singapore, where the Ministry of health prevents medical practitioners from posting Before and After photos online, but you can always schedule an appointment and request to see examples of their work. In countries like the United States, where doctors and nurse injectors are able to post photos and videos of their results online, this should be much easier. Either way, please make sure you are going to an experienced medical professional.
What to Expect During Your Lip Filler Injection?
Your initial meeting should involve a consultation to determine what aesthetic you are going for and how many ml of filler to use. Beware of injectors who may push you to do more than 1ml during your very first session. You don’t want to overfill your lips right away.
The whole appointment should last close to an hour. After your consultation, your injector will cleanse the area and apply a topical numbing cream (it needs about 20 minutes to kick in) or inject you with lidocaine. Lidocaine is a numbing agent and is similar to the novocaine used during dental appointments. It may sting a bit at first but should numb the area quite quickly.
After your lip area is numb the injector will proceed with the actual filler, and that should take about 10-20 minutes, depending on how much technique is needed to fill in borders, or define the upper lip.
Please remember that there is a difference between lip definition and lip volume, and an experienced injector will likely use a combination of different fillers appropriate for those parts of the lips that need definition (like your Cupid’s Bow) and those parts that need volume (center of the upper and lower lips).
Here's what a typical lip filler appointment looks like in Korea:
What are the Side Effects and Aftercare?
Common side effects for HA based lip fillers can include mild discomfort, redness, bruising, and nodules (bumps at the injection sites). The most common side effect is swelling, which is why sometimes patients are shocked at how large their lips appear at first. While it is more rare to see complications like a blood clot arise from lip fillers, if you experience any significant pain or skin discoloration in your lips please contact your doctor immediately. Do not wait!
After your procedure you may notice some small bumps (nodules) but not to worry, they will smoothe out on their own. Please avoid touching your lips for 48 hours after the injection, as well as avoid exercise for at least 2 days, as it can increase the blood flow to your lips and prolong bruising. Icing your lips and staying well-hydrated will help reduce any excess swelling. You need to avoid taking alcohol for 7 days. If you are a smoker, please do not smoke for several days after your procedure - this can dry your lip tissue out.
Photo credit: ATOP Plastic Surgery
What if I Hate My New Lips?
As mentioned above, all of the Hyaluronic Acid based fillers are not permanent, and will get metabolized by the body within 3 months to one year. However, if you really truly dislike your new look, you can ask your doctor to dissolve the filler with a substance called Hyaluronidase, which effectively dissolves the Hyaluronic Acid within days. As always, we recommend going to an experienced medical professional who can give you your desired outcome.