POSTED: 21 Jul 2023

Here’s When You Should Consider Dissolving Lip Fillers

Lip fillers are very popular aesthetic treatment because they can define, reshape and plump up your lips. If done correctly, they can be a quick, safe and effective way to enhance your lips. However, what happens if there’s a problem or you’re not happy with the results? Thankfully, hyaluronic acid lip fillers aren’t permanent and can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyaluronidase if needed. In this post we’re going to go through the most common reasons why you might want to dissolve lip fillers and how to get this done.

Why Dissolve Lip Fillers?

Whilst most people get great excellent results with lip fillers, there are some situations when its best or even necessary to dissolve them. This is why its important to only get hyaluronic acid dermal fillers for your lips (or anywhere on your body really). Below are some of the most common reasons you might consider dissolving lip fillers.

Medical reasons

Lip fillers carry a number of risks. Immediate complications such as vascular occlusion or an allergic reaction are medical emergencies and generally require dissolving of your lip filler amongst other medical interventions. Delayed complications like infection or hard lumps forming, also known as granulomas, may also require dissolving. Whilst rare, these complications can have grave consequences. That’s why its important to only see an experienced medical practitioner for your lip filler treatments. They should also have an emergency kit including hyaluronidase should there be a problem.

If you are having a surgical procedure on your face, your surgeon may also request that you dissolve your fillers. This is because fillers are technically a foreign body and so may interfere with the surgery or recovery.

You’re unhappy with the results

This is the most common reason to dissolve your lip fillers and any reputable medical practitioner will provide this to you. The main causes of dissatisfaction are that your lips look overfilled, uneven or just not how you envisioned them. First of all though its worth remembering that your lips might take 4-6 weeks to fully settle down after treatment. So in that period, there can be some asymmetry and they may look bigger than intended due to swelling. In this case a simple review and massage by your practitioner should even them out. They might also recommend icing them in the first few days after treatment to bring down the swelling.

In general, most practitioners will recommend waiting at least a month before dissolving lip fillers to ensure that you see the final outcome however ultimately this is your choice. If you’re unhappy with the whole lip treatment, then they will dissolve everything. If however, there is a minor asymmetry or lumps then they may just spot dissolve that area to even out the lips. Either way, they will give you all the options and help you decide.

Change of heart or circumstances

Whilst less common, another reason to dissolve your lip fillers is if you simply no longer want the enhanced lips even if they look great and there’s nothing wrong with them. Sometimes, people enter a new stage of their life and perhaps enhanced lips are no longer a priority or something they want to continue. In this case, you can either wait for hyaluronic acid lip fillers to naturally dissolve over time or your practitioner should be able to dissolve them for you. There’s nothing wrong with a change of heart as ultimately this is your face and you should have the freedom to make this decision.

Your Practitioner Recommends it

Sometimes practitioners will recommend dissolving lip filler before doing further treatment. This is usually if there is overfilling, migration or lumps. Even if you are not bothered by these, your practitioner may still advise this in order to restore normality to your lips before treating you again. This often happens if overtime your lips have accumulated asymmetry, migration or over filling. These can make the lips look poorly defined, uneven and unnatural. It is not usually possible to correct these and achieve a good cosmetic outcome without dissolving lip fillers first. This will give your practitioner a better staring point to then shape, define and plump up your lips with fillers. Many practitioners will refuse to treat someone if they don’t have problematic filler dissolved first.

Which Lip Fillers Can Be Dissolved and Which Can’t?

The only lip fillers that can be dissolved are hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers. As such, these re considered the safest types of dermal fillers to use. Thankfully, these are widely available and include popular brands such as Juvederm, Teosyal, Belotero and Restylane.

Popular and reputable non hyaluronic acid fillers like Radiesse, Sculptra and Bellafill cannot be dissolved and if there is a problem you will need to wait for them to naturally degrade. If there are lumps or problems that need them removed sooner, then surgery maybe required.

How Lip Fillers are Dissolved

Hyaluronidase is an enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid. It can be used to dissolve lip fillers for any of the above reasons. The process is relatively quick and typically takes less than an hour. Your practitioner will inject hyaluronidase into your lips using a volume and concentration needed to break down the filler.

What to Expect During Dissolving

Your injector will likely number your lips with numbing cream to minimise discomfort. Immediately after the injection there will likely be swelling. There can also be mild discomfort and bruising. These typically subside within a day or two. While the process is quick, the dissolving effect isn’t instant. It may take a few days to a week to see the final results as hyaluronidase takes up to 72 hours to work. Its also not possible to predict the exact amount of hyluronidase needed to dissolve filler or precisely limit it to one area. That means you might have asymmetry still if the aim was to spot dissolve. If you need to dissolve all of the filler, then you might need several sessions depending on the amount and type of filler you had in the first place.

Is Hyaluronidase Safe? What are the Side Effects?

Hyaluronidase is generally safe with few side effects. However, there is risk of allergic reactions which is why your injector will do a patch test before first using (unless there is an emergency). Some people may also experience temporary redness, swelling and bruising at the injection site. Hyaluronidase can also in theory dissolve some of your own skin’s hyaluronic acid. Don’t worry though as this is temporary and your body will replenish it in 6-8 weeks.

When and Where to Get Lip Fillers Dissolved

If you’re having any problems or unhappy with your lip fillers, you should immediately contact your practitioner. They will assess whether there is an emergency that needs immediate dissolving. Lumps and unevenness can generally be massaged in the first few days after lip fillers. Since swelling post-procedure can distort the actual results, your injector will also advise you on whether to wait or proceed with dissolving.

Lip filler dissolving should be carried out by a trained medical professional, ideally the same one who did your initial procedure, as they’re familiar with your treatment details. If you did not get your treatment by a medical professional, they they will not be able to manage any emergencies or dissolve your filler for any reason. In that case, you will need to find an aesthetic doctor or other medical providers who offers lip dissolving as a service. If you are worried about infection, allergy or vascular occlusion and can not see your treating practitioner or they weren’t a medic, then you should see your doctor or go to the emergency services.

Alternatives to Dissolving

Not all cases of uneveness or lumps require dissolving. Sometimes, simple massage can help to adjust the filler or smooth out any lumps. If you simply don’t want the filler anymore but aren’t experiencing complications, you could wait for it to naturally dissolve over time. Finally, Topilase is a topical alternative that has been recently ontroduced to dissolve fillers without injection. Its relatively new and needs further study but this could in future offer a needle free alternative to dissolving fillers.

When it comes to lip filler dissolving, prevention is certainly better than cure. You can avoid a lot of the reasons that people get lip filler dissolved by choosing an experienced medical injector who will have an honest discussion with you about your expectations and what can be achieved. Good technique alongside high quality products and anatomical knowledge will reduce the risks and side effects we discussed above. Only ever get hyaluronic acid dermal fillers in your face because if there’s a problem or you simply change your mind, you can get them dissolved.

Whether you choose to have Botox or fillers, remember that your results will always be limited by how good a condition your skin is in! Check out our online skin clinic if you are interested in prescription-strength skincare for acneskin ageinghyperpigmentation and melasma. Book a virtual consultation with us today and let our doctors create a bespoke treatment plan for you.


Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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