The Lip Injection Lowdown

Recent news reports suggest that Americans are obsessed with lip injections. Really? Obsessed? OK, so the demand for bigger lips is currently growing faster than that for bigger breasts. And yes, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), more than 27,000 lip procedures took place in the US in 2015 – a figure that was up 43 percent from 2000.

But obsessed? A strong word, even if we do say so ourselves.

Monstrous advances in aesthetic technology mean that practically all minimally-invasive procedures (think Botox, laser hair removal and dermal fillers) are gaining popularity by the minute. And, while we don’t really want to mention the k, y, l, i, e word, she is definitely up there as one of the main reasons lips are, for want of a better phrase, so BIG right now. Along with Ms. Jenner, rarely a day goes by when some A-lister or another doesn’t rock up on social media with a newly plump pout and a ‘fillers, moi?’ look on their face.

Couple this with the fact that thinning lips are prematurely aging, and you’ve got everyone from 20-year-old Kardashian addicts to 60-year-old stylistas chomping at the bit for a paparazzi-ready, bee-stung pout.

In true HintMD style, therefore, we give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about lip injections. 

What Exactly Are Lip Fillers?

Just like dermal fillers, lip fillers are injectable gels that are administered into the lips to smooth the skin, soften lines and/or increase volume. Each procedure generally takes around an hour, during which any areas to be treated are marked, before a small needle filled with the gel-like substance is carefully injected into the lips. Your doctor will then smooth and gently massage the gel into your desired shape, before moving onto the next injection.

Although there may be some bruising and swelling this should subside in around 24 hours, and you’ll be able to leave the office right away and go about your normal, everyday life. Your lips will be immediately plumper, but if you’ve gone the subtle route (which we’d always recommend) nobody will be the wiser.

What Are The Best Options?

In short, the best type of fillers for any kind of lip enhancement are hyaluronic acid-based. Others are just not worth the risk unless you fancy a potentially hard pout or visibly lumpy lips? Er, no thanks.

Some of the best, FDA-approved HA fillers include Restylane SilkBelotero Balance and Juvéderm Ultra, but new kid on the block Juvéderm Volbella is also a fabulous option if you’re looking for super-subtle volume. Still confused as to which brand to choose? Don’t be. In our opinion, choosing the best aesthetician is far more important than the type of filler that’s administered.

“I certainly believe that you should choose your injector first, then in conversation with that provider, you can discuss the many different options for fillers,” agrees Dr. Eric Mariotti, HintMD partner and board-certified plastic surgeon in Walnut Creek, California.

“An experienced, artistic injector can do great things with fillers, but unfortunately fillers can have mediocre or poor results in the hands of someone inexperienced.

“For most people, it’s difficult to have a full understanding of the different choices out there, but a good doctor should have access to many different fillers in their office. This way, depending on the area of concern and the different properties of the filler, they can help you make the right choice every time.”

How Do You Avoid The Dreaded Trout Pout?

As with all types of aesthetic procedures, being prepared is key. Do your research and only have your treatment administered by a fully qualified, board-certified injector who understands the symmetry and ratios of the lips. Naturally, the bottom lip is two-thirds bigger than the top lip, so this needs to be maintained even when fullness has been added.

You should also ease yourself in gently, especially if your lips are on the thin side in the first place. By all means, consult your aesthetician about the look you want to achieve, but be willing to make compromises and always err on the side of caution. Like great Botox and the perfect haircut, lip fillers should work in harmony with the rest of your face and features, so going huge might not always the best option for you.

“Always begin conservatively,” advises Dr. Mariotti.

“Start with something small and you’ll see that a little bit of volume restoration can look really good. Then, if you like it and want more, you can always come back for a little bit extra.”

Do Lip Fillers Hurt?

OK, we’re not going to lie to you, the lips are very delicate and pretty sensitive to pain – much more so than the skin on the rest of your face. The good news, however, is that most lip fillers come already paired with an anesthesia to gradually numb your lips during the procedure. If you’ve also spent time to find an excellent aesthetician with years of experience under their belt, they will also be a dab hand at making the experience as painless as possible (along with the help of some extra, topical anesthetics if needs be).

How Long Do Results Last?

Fillers will require maintenance injections, so if you want to keep your results looking as natural and fabulous as possible, we’d advise scheduling revisits at least every six months depending on the type of filler you go for. The easiest way to do this? Sign up for a beauty membership with your local, board-certified aesthetician and you will receive notifications when your next treatment is due. Yes, it’s that simple.