Super handy guide on what you should know before getting lip fillers.

1. What are lip fillers?

Dermal fillers are an aesthetic based gel that is injected into an area to enhance or reshape it. They are specifically made for the enhancement of your features and the reduction of folds and wrinkles. Typically in Australia, Dermal fillers are made of Hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is found in our skin and is a naturally occurring sugar chair that gives our skin plumpness and attracts water to the skin, creating hydration, however, the HA in dermal filler is made in a laboratory. HA levels in our skin do change over time, as our body modifies or breaks it down with enzymes as part of our metabolic processes. Over time, this can lead to sagging of the skin and folds that never used to be there.

2. What are the different types of lip filler?

Yes there are many, and I use different lip fillers that are specific to my patients. Some patient prefer their lips to look natural and subtle, just a little more enhanced. These patients need a super soft lip filler. Other patients want a more exaggerated or noticeable look, and for these patients I need a thicker stiffer filler.And then there are the patients that need some re-creation of lip structure. These are the patients that really don’t have much lip display at all anymore. Here I need to use a range of different fillers, perhaps over a number of appointments to rebuild the lost lip architecture.

3. Why are lip fillers so popular?

Lips are a sign of youth. When you think about a younger person, their lips are generally plump. As we get older, this lip tissue is lost and the lips instantly make our face look older. When you think about it, every human interaction involves our lips. That is how we show emotion, how we speak and how we function. They are essential. Human communication involves glancing between the other persons lips and eyes. Lips are the centre of our being.Plus IG and FB have also made people aware of what is possible. It is a hugely popular treatment.

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

Definitely number one is find yourself the best cosmetic injector you can. I generally recommend that find an injector who can show you some before and after pictures of their work, so that you know that their idea of beautiful natural looking lips is the same as yours.Ask lots of questions, but your injector should discuss lots of information with you, such as looking at your medical history, your medication, any allergies that you might have and so on. It is also really important that you are aware of the potential risks and complications. This is a medical procedure and it should be treated as such.Great questions to ask before your treatment are: 

• What is involved in treatment?
• If you are considering lip filler, will you have dental anaesthesia or just numbing cream?
• There is a huge difference between the two.
• How much filler will I need? Is the filler listed/approved with TGA?
• How long will the filler last?
• What are the risks? Is there any downtime? For example, if there is bruising or swelling, how long might this last?

• What are the costs?
• Who will do my treatment?

5. What’s actually involved in the procedure?

This can vary a lot between cosmetic injectors. At my practice, I have a strict protocol because I want the best and safest outcomes for my patients. Typically an appointment will look like this:Step 1: face to face consult, discuss risks and run through the treatment process

Step 2: photos and measurements of the face to record proportion (or lack of)

Step 3: The areas to be treated are marked out and then treated. This may involve the use of more than one thickness of filler to achieve the result discussed

Step 4: I will use dental anaesthetic so that there is no discomfort. The procedure is then undertaken using a cannula (a device that reduces bruising and trauma to the lips in treatment). Then once treatment is completed, I will give post treatment instructions (the dos and don’ts), and also take photos

Step 5: I will set up a review appointment. This may be to assess the treatment, but we may also do additional treatment too.

6. Is there any downtime?

There is no downtime with lip filler and aftercare is pretty low key too. The main event that occurs a few hours after treatment is some swelling. All my patients are made aware of this, but this usually resolves after a few hours and no treatment is needed as this is a normal part of the process. On occasion, there can be some bruising, but with careful technique, the risk is quite low.Afterwards, I ask that my patients do not massage or manipulate the area as this can alter the result. I review all my patients one week later. This allowed me to review the treatment, modify the result or add further filler where I am trying to rebuild the lip architecture. I am a little OCD about this, because I want to really make sure that both I and my patient are happy with the final result.

7. What’s the best way to ensure results look natural?

Photo by Marlon Schmeiski on

The best way to ensure the result is natural is to find the best cosmetic injector that you can. Look for someone that can show you before and after photos that display the kind of results you are looking for. I might also add that your injectors face often is a good indicator too, as their face tells you a lot about what they think is cosmetically appealing.Finally talk about  the kind of result you would like. Cosmetic injectors, like myself, have a bunch of dermal fillers at our disposal. We can choose the products that will give you the result you are looking for.

8. Are there any risks/side effects? Any things people may be unaware of?

Lip filler are a medical procedure and should be treated as such. Before treatment it is really important that your injector discusses your own medical history and medications. This should include any natural products that you might be taking as well. A typical example is fish oil. Yes it is great for you, but it can increase your bleeding and bruising. This is something that is important to know beforehand.The most common risks are discomfort or pain, bruising and swelling. These risks are often minimal and short-lived, but also sometimes unavoidable. Sometimes some fillers create lumps and bumps in the lips. If dealt with early — usually within a week of filler placement — they can be manipulated by the cosmetic injector and they will easily dissipate. A much more serious risk, but also much less common, is vascular occlusion. Vascular occlusion is the medical term for a blocked blood vessel. Your injector should understand the anatomy of your face intimately and also the best techniques to avoid this. This also includes not placing too much filler in any one area in one sitting. It is vital that your cosmetic injector operates out of a clinic so that they can look after you should any of these complications occur.

9. How long do lip injections last?

The results of the filler will definitely vary between patients, as your genetic makeup has a lot to do with this. Additionally the amount of animation that you have (the amount you move your lips on a day-to-day basis) will also have an impact. The more you move your lips, the quicker the filler may start to dissipate.On average though, lip filler can last around 5 months. More for thicker fillers, and less for the thinner fillers that need to be used. 

10. Do lip injections hurt?

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

At my clinic, no (ha ha!), but that is because I use full dental anaesthetic so that there is literally no pain at all. In fact, I have had patients come to me after having had painful lip filler experiences and are now never going back to their old injectors on this basis alone.But not all injectors do this. Many injectors rely on topical anaesthetics. This is a numbing cream that is used to numb the surface. Other rely on the lip filler having local anaesthetic in the filler itself.The main take home message here is that you need to look around to find an injector that will make the experience as comfortable as possible. And it is possible (just come see me!!)

11. How much do lip fillers usually cost?

Lip filler costs do vary quite a lot. I have seen crazy low prices and then crazy high prices too. On average, most injectors will charge you based on the amount of filler that is being used. This can vary from $400 to $1100. Crazy right?! I always quote patients before proceeding based on how much filler I believe that they will need to achieve their desired result. For me, this starts at around $550.

This was article was originally published in Mamamia Beauty. Read it here

Thanks for reading!

Written by Giulia D’Anna

BDSc (Melb), MRACDS, Honorary FIADFE (NY), Graduate Diploma Dermal Therapies (AACDS), Cert. Practice Man (UNE), Editor APJ (APAN) + | + 3 Belmore Road, Balwyn North, Victoria, Australia 3104 + | + Founder of iDental and Dermal Distinction

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