Getting the lips you want
One of my favourite places to inject is the lips. You only need a small amount of volume in the lips to get them looking great. There are a variety of fillers that I stock, some last longer than others, some give more volume than others, so depending on the look that you want depends on which filler I choose.
How do I inject your lips with dermal fillers?
There are a variety of techniques that I use in order to treat to the lips and what I chose depends on what patient is looking for. I always discuss the options with you on the day and then we decide which technique you are most happy to proceed with:
1. Directly from the dermal filler syringe
This is the classic technique of doing lip fillers and it gives a great result. I inject some of the filler along the vermillion border to give the lip liner effect, then I inject into the lip to give the plumpness, and I finish off with a touch in the cupids bow and the philtrum to enhance the pout.
2. Using a cannula
The cannula technique is the one that gives the least bruising and swelling, and is the least uncomfortable. I use a little bit of local anaesthetic either side of the lip, then I insert the cannula which passes into the lips and where I then inject the filler. It sounds a bit brutal, in actual fact it’s a very gentle technique.
3. Using insulin syringes to inject the dermal filler
Insulin syringes are the same tiny syringes that I use to do antiwrinkle injections. The benefit of injecting filler through them is that they are a much smaller needle, so they are far more comfortable, and they are very good for fine tuning the lips. I find these especially useful with people who already have filler in their lips and want to have more volume.
How do I numb your lips?
Getting dermal fillers in your lips can be a tad on the uncomfortable side if you didn’t have any anaesthetic, so I always do something to numb the lips. There are also a variety of ways to do this. My most common method is to use a numbing cream and for most people this works fine. You can still feel a little bit of a scratch as the needle goes it, but it is usually very tolerable. Using insulin syringes are less painful, although it involves more injections.
Another anaesthetic option when I use needles to do lip fillers is to do a dental block. Here I inject anaesthetic into the gums, in the same way that a dentist would, to totally numb the lip areas so that you dont feel anything when I inject the filler. The down side to this though is that you cant feel your lips for a few hours afterwards and you end up talking with a bit of a slur. Thats fine though if you prefer not to feel any pain on your lips.
The cannula is generally the least painful, as I only have 2 tiny injections points either side of the mouth where I use anaesthetic inections. There can be a little bit of a pressure feeling as the cannula advances through the lip.
The side effects of lip dermal fillers
The most common side effect from lip dermal fillers is swelling. Because the lips are so vascular they can swell a lot in the first few days after lip fillers. Often this swelling settles down quickly within a few days. Some fillers take longer than others to settle down. In fact, some people prefer the swollen look because of how big and lusciously plump their lips look! They actually get disappointed when the swelling settles! You get the least swelling with cannulas so for those people who don’t want swelling, this is the technique that I use. I often like to finish off the lips using needles though as it allows you to fine-tune the result and also focus on the cupids bow area. You can also give the lip liner effect along the vermillion border when using needles, which is a look some people want.
Another common side effect, especially when needles are used, is to get bruising. As I said the lips are very vascular so this is unfortunately not uncommon. It fades quickly though. When I’ve had lip fillers in the past I’ve just worn darker lipstick for a couple of days to hide it and no one has noticed (or at least they didn’t say anything!)
The other side effects I see less commonly. I have seen granulomas on a few occasions. These are little hard areas within the lip that you can feel. Sometimes they are visible, sometimes you can only feel them. If you have one of these then the first thing you need to do is to be vigilant about massaging it. Another option, is to use more filler around the area and I have sometimes seen them breakdown from this and disappear. Failing that, a small dose of the dermal filler antidote (called hyalase) injected into the granuloma will dissolve it down.
One risk of all dermal filler injections is that it blocks off an artery after it has been injected. This is something I discuss with all my patients prior to injecting and it is the reason I always carry the antidote – hyalase – with me.
Common requests for lip fillers
When people come to me, especially if they have not had dermal fillers before, they are often quite nervous. These are some of the common requests that I get:
“I just want to look natural.”
– Good! I love natural looking people. It’s how I like to look and it’s how I want you to look after I finish treating you. There is this fear (and not unfounded) that if you get dermal fillers you will end up looking fake and plastic. I’ve certainly seen plenty of people with that look and it isn’t pretty. You actually have to try pretty hard to be that overcooked and it happens to people who have too much treatment. I am always honest with you if I think something is too much.
“I only want filler in the upper lip.”
– I hear this request a lot actually and I have to say that I’m not sure where the popularity of this comes from. I hardly ever inject just one lip. And here’s why…
Most people are proportioned with the golden lip ratio, that is 1:1.618 – or phi, the beauty ratio of nature. If I was just to inject the upper lip then I am going to distort the natural balance of the face. When I inject, I generally aim to keep to natural proportions. With age, sometimes you can lose more volume from the upper lip than the lower lip, so sometimes I will inject more in the upper lip than the lower lip, but I still don’t want to ignore the lower lip all together. Some people have a 50:50 lip proporation but they’re not that common.
Celebrities and their lips
Kylie Jenner made lip fillers famous worldwide. Overnight she went from girl next door to sultry sex goddess with this amazing pout. But even her lips sported a slightly larger lower lip. Angelina Jolie is also famous for her stunning pout. Both her lips are full, although she still has a slightly larger lower lip. Rihanna gets a lot of press for her lips because of her excellent proportions and her amazing cupids bow. Some celebrities can pull off a 50:50 ratio, like Nicki Minaj, but you’ve got to have the face for it. It suits her and looks great, it doesn’t suit everyone.
How much do lip dermal fillers cost?
The cost depends of which dermal filler I choose. Generally I charge $600 for lip fillers, although it can be $650. We will discuss the options at your appointment.