Your Full Guide To Lip Fillers: What To Expect, Benefits, Types & More
2023 is the year of the “natural” look. All of this year’s beauty trends focus on enhancing rather than exaggerating our innate features. And this emphasis extends to the world of cosmetic treatments. Dermal fillers – including lip fillers – are as popular as ever. However, one lip filler-related trend is for certain: The oversized pout is officially out, while softly-enhanced, full and luscious lips are in for 2023. Injectables that mimic a natural “glow up” (such as hyaluronic acid fillers) and options that are effective when used in small quantities are in high demand. Lip fillers are an effective way to enhance or restore volume to the lips without surgery and with minimal recovery time. This non-invasive treatment can reverse signs of lip aging (such as lip thinning and wrinkles) and correct lip shape inconsistencies (asymmetrical lip shapes or sizes) to help boost your confidence or balance the proportions of your face.
Expert Tip: Zensa Numbing Cream contains 5% lidocaine for maximum-strength pain prevention with a natural pH formulation that is safe to use on sensitive areas like the lips (or bikini area). Our vegan, steroid-free formula also contains vitamin E, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce swelling and support the healing process. For lip fillers, apply Zensa Numbing Cream around 10 minutes before your procedure (see “How To Apply Instructions” below).
Read on for your full guide to lip fillers, including: What to expect from lip fillers (before and after, during the procedure, healing time, etc.); Benefits of lip fillers; Different types of lip fillers; Lip fillers vs. lip flips; and answers to more lip filler FAQs.
What Are Lip Fillers?
Lip fillers are types of dermal fillers used to enhance lip volume, smooth lip wrinkles or correct lip shape or size asymmetry. These dermal fillers are made with synthetic hyaluronic acid (HA), a water-attracting substance that is naturally produced in your body. The most common brands of hyaluronic acid lip fillers used include Restylane® and Juvederm®. Dermal lip fillers typically last for 6-12 months. Many clients will see their lip fillers begin to dissolve around 4-6 months after their treatment.
Benefits of Lip Fillers
Enhanced Lip Volume
Lessen Signs of Lip Aging
Correct Lip Size & Shape
Customizable & Reversible Results
Dermal lip fillers contain a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid, a humectant – also known as a water-attracting substance – that plumps the lips to add volume or restore thinning, dehydrated tissue. Hyaluronic acid lip fillers stimulate collagen production to provide long-lasting moisture, structure and youthful fullness to the area. These injectables help repair and hydrate the skin tissue to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles to help reverse signs of aging on the lips. Hyaluronic acid fillers firm skin texture to improve your overall lip shape by balancing disproportionate upper and lower lips or resculpting the cupid’s bow.
Depending on your desired results, your expert can customize the quantity of dermal filler used during your procedure. Most clients require around 1 ml to achieve their ideal lip shape and fullness (the industry standard is one syringe, or 1 ml, per lip filler session). If you are not satisfied with the final look or lip filler results go wrong, rest assured that this mishap is fixable. You can always get the hyaluronic acid fillers dissolved (either partially or completely). In most cases, you should give lip fillers 2 weeks to settle after your session is recommended before seeking to dissolve the excess product.
Ultimately, lip fillers are a low-risk way to boost your self-confidence. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, lip fillers can enhance your natural features and help balance out your facial proportions if you have a wider chin, jawline or prominent nose. A consultation with an expert can inform you about the types of lip fillers that will best flatter your facial structure and lip shape.
Types of Lip Fillers
Two of the most popular types of lip fillers are Restylane® and Juvederm®. Restylane® is a hyaluronic acid lip filler that plumps the lips and adds volume, while also helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Juvederm® is best known for its lip-volumizing and lip symmetry-improving benefits. As another type of hyaluronic acid lip filler, Juvederm® adds a natural fullness to the lips and can improve fine lines around the mouth for a smooth, pillowy-looking pout.
Restylane® vs. Juvederm®
Restylane® makes Restylane Silk ®, which is designed to offer a natural lip filler look by enhancing lip volume and smoothening lip lines or wrinkles around the mouth. Results from Restylane Silk® will be noticeable a few days after the procedure. Restylane® should last around 10 months.
Juvederm® comes in 2 formulas: Juvederm Ultra XC (for lip augmentation) and Juvederm® Volbella® XC (for lip augmentation and perioral lines). Juvederm Ultra XC is designed to add volume to increase lip size or replenish fullness to lips that are thinning with age. Juvederm® Volbella® XC offers these lip-plumping benefits while also getting rid of lines around the mouth (often called lipstick lines, vertical lip lines, or lip wrinkles). Results from Juvederm® fillers should appear almost immediately and last for up to 12 months.
The term “lip fillers” typically refers to hyaluronic acid lip fillers (the most common type of dermal filler used for the lips). However, lip fillers are sometimes used interchangeably with the term “lip injections,” an umbrella term that covers a wide selection of injectables used for lip augmentation. Collagen lip injections were the only available non-surgical lip augmentation option on the market.
While collagen lip injections were popular, many individuals are allergic to the bovine collagen used in these formulas and the longevity of the results varies greatly (from around 2 to 18 months for most patients). Since the introduction of dermal fillers, hyaluronic acid fillers have been widely considered the superior option among practitioners. Hyaluronic acid fillers are consistently praised as the best (natural) lip filler choice because they offer dependable lip-augmention results, minimize signs of aging and seldom cause an allergic reaction.
What To Expect When Getting Lip Fillers
The entire lip filler appointment should take around 45 minutes from start to finish. Be prepared to do an intake outlining any medical history or medication use. After completing the forms, the expert will do a consultation with you to observe the shape of your lips, how your mouth moves, and discuss how you want your pout to look post-lip augmentation. Next, if desired, the practitioner will apply a topical anaesthetic, like Zensa Numbing Cream on your lips before injecting the dermal fillers. Let the numbing cream sit for around 10 minutes. Once the numbing effects kick in, the procedure will begin. Lip fillers should take only around 10-15 minutes to inject. Apply a fresh ice pack (or ice wrapped in a fresh cloth) immediately after the lip filler procedure is completed. Continue to ice the area for up to 48 hours post-lip filler session.
How To Use Zensa Numbing Cream For Fillers
Use our simple 3-step method on how to apply Zensa Numbing Cream for lip fillers, other dermal fillers, Botox® or any cosmetic injectables.
Clean & Apply: Clean the skin thoroughly with an alcohol swab. Using a sterile applicator, apply a half-inch thick layer of cream to the area. Do not rub into skin.
Wait: Leave the cream in place for 10-15 minutes prior to procedure beginning. 3. Inject: Gently dab away (don't wipe) excess cream using sterile gauze. Begin procedure. It is safe to reapply Zensa on broken skin, as needed.
Here’s how to use our tattoo numbing cream for every type of procedure.
Lip Fillers Before & After
Do’s & Don’ts Before Getting Lip Fillers:
DO: Avoid certain supplements, including Vitamin E, garlic tablets, turmeric, ginseng and ginkgo biloba, for at least 48 hours (up to a week) before your lip filler appointment.
DON’T: Use skincare products containing Retin-A, retinol, glycolic acid and other anti-aging ingredients within the 48 hours before your lip filler appointment.
DO: Reschedule your lip filler session if you have any acne or active cold sores around your mouth within a week or so of getting lip filler injections. If you’re prone to cold sores, take an antiviral medication recommended by your doctor before your lip filler appointment. These precautionary measures help prevent bacterial infections after getting lip fillers.
DON’T: Wax, tweeze, bleach, apply any facial depilatory creams, or perform any hair removal treatments near the lips or mouth area for at least 2 days before a lip filler appointment.
DO: Eat pineapple or take bromelain supplements for the 3 days leading up to your lip filler session (and for the week after your lip filler procedure) to help minimize common side effects, such as bruising or swelling.
DON’T: Drink alcohol (or caffeinated) beverages or take any blood-thinning medications, such as NSAIDs (Motrin, Ibuprofen, and Aleve) within 24-48 hours of your lip filler appointment. These substances dehydrate the skin and can increase post-lip filler swelling, bleeding or bruising.
DO: Drink plenty of water in the 24 hours leading up to your lip filler session. Staying hydrated is essential to keep your skin supple and minimize common side effects from lip fillers, like mild headaches or lip dryness.
DON’T: Go into your lip filler appointment uninformed. Make sure to read up on how to prepare for your lip fillers. Ask your practitioner any questions you have about what to expect during your lip filler session and the best after-care instructions to follow. Consider ways to minimize any potential side effects or pain from the procedure, such as using a topical anaesthetic beforehand like Zensa Numbing Cream.
DO: Show up to your appointment on time with a clean, bare and freshly-washed face. Don’t come to your lip filler session with any makeup on or straight after a workout. Arrive a few minutes early if you prefer to use a topical anaesthetic for maximum pain prevention (most dermal fillers already contain some lidocaine).
DON’T: Let your nerves and anxiety get the best of you. While easier said than done, find ways to remain calm before and during your lip filler session. Remember: Your pain threshold goes down when you’re stressed. Lip fillers only take around 10 minutes to be injected from start to finish. Consider using a product like Zensa Numbing Cream alongside your lidocaine-containing dermal filler to put your mind at ease and lower the chances that your lip fillers will hurt.
Do’s & Don’ts After Getting Lip Fillers:
DO: Have ice packs on hand. It is normal to experience some swelling for the next 2-3 days after getting lip filler done. While the severity of side effects may vary among clients, it is advised to use an ice pack throughout the day after your lip filler session to keep the swelling to a minimum.
DON’T: Schedule an important social event for the next 1-2 weeks. It can take around 2 weeks before your lip fillers fully settle, so don’t risk having a bruised, swelling or distorted pout for a big occasion (especially if you plan on having photos taken).
DO: Keep your head elevated to reduce swelling when lying down. Lift your pillow at night, and raise your head when lying on the couch to alleviate some pressure during the recovery process. Avoid sleeping on your face for the first couple of weeks after getting lip fillers.
DON’T: Work out for the next 24-48 hours. Raising your heart rate or elevating your blood pressure can increase bruising and swelling during the healing process. Exercising can also make you hot and sweaty, which can create excess moisture and can lead to unwanted infections. Use your fillers as a rightful excuse to take a much-needed rest day.
DO: Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water after getting lip fillers is essential to support (and accelerate) the healing process. These additional fluids can also reduce bruising or swelling. As a bonus: Extra hydration attracts more water to your dermal fillers, giving your lips an even fuller appearance.
DON’T: Engage in sweat-inducing activities. No steamy showers, saunas, kissing or engaging in other sexual activities that could discourage healing (you get the idea). Any excess moisture can lead to increased bruising or swelling and leaves you more vulnerable to bacterial infections (or STIs).
DO: Be mindful of your food and beverage choices. Focus on eating as many fruits and vegetables as you can in the days following your lip filler session. These foods have a high water content and are packed with nutrients to help support the healing process. Avoid spicy food and hot beverages to prevent further swelling or irritation.
DON’T: Wear makeup for the next 24-48 hours. Remain bare-faced to keep your skin sterile and clean. Applying makeup to your face after filler can introduce bacteria onto the healing skin and leave it vulnerable to infection. Aside from lip cosmetics, all types of makeup application create unwanted pressure on various areas of the face and can displace the lip filler.
DO: Hold off on using a straw for at least 48 hours. Puckering your lips can encourage dermal filler migration. Drink all of your (cold or room temperature) beverages out of a glass or mug for a couple of days. If you smoke cigarettes, you should refrain from lighting up for at least 24 hours after getting lip fillers.
DON’T: Exfoliate your lips or get a face massage. Refrain from exfoliating or using any harsh brush on your lips for at least 24 hours after getting lip fillers (be careful when brushing your teeth, too). Don’t schedule any facial or face massage for at least 14 days to avoid moving the filler around before the hyaluronic acid has enough time to settle.
How Much Do Lip Fillers Cost?
Most lip filler treatments cost between $500 -$1,500 per session. The cost of your lip filler treatment will depend on your location, chosen medspa or plastic surgeon’s office and how much lip filler you need to achieve your desired results. The average cost of either Juvederm® or Restylane® is $400 -$700 per syringe. Most clients need 1-2 syringes of lip filler per session to create sufficient volume and smoothen any lip lines.
Do Lip Fillers Hurt?
Lip fillers tend to hurt, even if the pain is short-lived, when done without numbing cream. Most dermal fillers contain some lidocaine to help mitigate some of the pain. If you have a lower pain tolerance, lip fillers could cause some mild to moderate pain during the procedure. However, lip fillers can be pain-free when a topical anaesthetic is applied (correctly) beforehand. Getting lip fillers (or other injectables, like Botox®) should be pain-free after using a product like Zensa Numbing Cream. Our natural pH formula contains 5% lidocaine for maximum-strength pain protection and is gentle enough to use on sensitive areas like the lips.
Side Effects of Lip Fillers
Bleeding & Pain (At The Injection Site)
Redness & Tenderness
Reactivation of cold sores or fever blisters (Herpes)
All of these common side effects are normal and should resolve themselves within 10 days of your lip filler session. Contact your doctor immediately if the bruising and swelling persist after 10 days or if you develop any type of allergic reaction (intense swelling, redness or itchiness). Seek medical attention right away if you develop an infection, scarring or lumps and irregularities in your lip size and shape.
Lip Filler Healing Time
Give your lips 14 days to fully heal before worrying about their long-term size and shape. Immediate results from lip fillers appear within a few hours or a couple of days after your injections. However, lip fillers take around 2 weeks to settle before you see the final results.
Lip Filler Eligibility
Most practitioners require clients to be at least 21 years old to receive hyaluronic acid (dermal) fillers. Some offices may see patients over 18 years old or over 16 years old with parental consent. Pregnant women or individuals with severe bleeding disorders should avoid getting lip fillers. Do not get lip fillers if you’re worried about an allergic reaction. Be cautious of getting lip fillers if you’re a smoker or are prone to cold sores.
Lip Fillers vs. Lip Flip
When choosing between lip fillers and a lip flip, the decision all comes down to your desired look and budget. Lip fillers use hyaluronic acid to add volume to the lips and smoothen lip lines or wrinkles. These dermal fillers provide noticeable and long-lasting results. Lip flips are a minimally-invasive procedure that injects 4-6 units of Botox® to make your lips look fuller without adding any volume. The results from a lip flip last for about 2-3 months. Lip flips are best to treat gummy smiles and require no downtime for recovery. However, it will take around 14 days for the Botox® to settle before you see the final results.
Lip Fillers vs. Lip Blushing
Lip fillers and lip blushing offer different results, so the pros and cons of each procedure depend on your individual needs and desired look. Lip fillers provide volume and anti-aging benefits to hydrate and augment your lips in ways lip blushing cannot replicate. However, if you’re concerned about swelling and leaving your session with comically-large lips, consider lip blushing for a more natural-looking alternative to lip filler. Lip blushing is less invasive and easier to correct or touch up if you aren’t fully satisfied with the initial results.
The pain level and healing time for each procedure will differ, depending on the individual. Use the proper prep and after-care products, like Zensa Numbing Cream and Zensa Healing Cream, to give your lips the gift of a more luscious look with less pain – regardless of the lip treatment you choose. Read our dedicated blog post on Lip Blushing vs. Fillers to help you choose the best option that is best for you.