Call it the Kylie Jenner effect: Full lips have never been so in-demand. Now more than ever, a growing number of women are turning to lip augmentation to get the perfect pout. While lip fillers last longer than over-lining your lips or swiping on plumping products every morning, the results aren’t permanent. But, that doesn’t mean you should go into the procedure completely blind.
First things first: What exactly are lip fillers? The four fillers approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration are all hyaluronic acid-based. “Hyaluronic acid is a natural molecule found in many organs and tissues (including the skin) that helps to retain moisture and hydrates tissue,” explains Miama-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Christopher O’Connell. For reference, the brand names of these fillers are Juvederm Ultra, Volbella, Restylane-L, and Restylane Silk.
Along with Dr. O’Connell, we turned to New York-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman to find out everything you need to know when considering lip injections.
Who Should Get Lip Injections?
Luckily, both doctors agree that full lips are for everyone. However there are certain circumstances when it’s a good idea not to have the procedure done. Dr. O’Connell notes that you should avoid getting lip fillers while pregnant or have an active infection in the area. And if you have a lidocaine allergy, make sure the dermatologist performing the injections uses a lidocaine-free formula. “Many of these fillers now have lidocaine to numb the area and decrease injection pain,” explains Dr. O’Connell.
Do Your Research
To ensure you get the look you want, look for board-certified dermatologists in your area that specialize in injectablees, and have a body of work available to peruse on their websites. Once you’ve found a potential dermatologist, Dr. Jaliman recommends scheduling an in-depth consultation to discuss the exact shape you want, whether you should enlarge the top or bottom lip, as well as take thorough photos of your lips for reference for the actual procedure.
Dr. O’Connell suggest bringing photos of your ideal lips from magazines or social media feeds so that you and your doctor can discuss your cosmetic goals and what look you can realistically achieve. “Also, it may take time to build up the volume on your lips,” says Dr. Connell. “If you desire a very significant change, two treatments over a period of 6 months may be needed.”
Prepare for Your Appointment
Although the procedure only takes an hour tops (including, freezing and the actual injections) there are a few things to keep in mind before heading to your dermatologist's office. Both doctors say to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen two weeks before getting lip injections because they'll exacerbate bruising. And supplements you should skip: vitamin E and fish oil.
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When Will You See Results?
You’ll see a boost in volume immediately following the procedure, but expect to experience mild bruising and swelling, too. Although the side effects vary from person to person, Dr. O’Connell recommends scheduling your injection on a Friday afternoon so that you don’t have to experience any potential downtime on weekdays. Since the bruising and swelling takes few days to go down, Dr. Jaliman says that it can take up to a week for lips to look the way that you desired.
What Can You Do if You're Unhappy with the Results?
If you aren't happy with your lip injections, there are a few things you can do to help you get a look that's more your speed. Dr. Jaliman says that injecting Vitrase (hyaluronidase) into the area can minimize the filler. "This is an enzyme that dissolves the hyaluronic acid in the filler," she says.
In addition to hyaluronidase, Dr. O'Connell says you can make a return trip to your dermatologist to have them tweak the shape with more filler to get your lips closer to the look you desire. If you go this route, he says that the extra filler can be administered two weeks after the inital injection.