Lip fillers can help to give your lips natural-looking definition, shape and volume — but how long do lip fillers last? We also give our top tips and tricks for how to make lip fillers last longer.
In this blog post, we’ll be looking at how long fillers usually last, as well as how to increase their longevity, how often you can get them, and some other frequently asked questions.
What are lip fillers?
Lip fillers are a safe and common cosmetic procedure used to enhance the appearance of the lips. They work by plumping up the lips using an injectable gel, typically made from either hyaluronic acid or collagen.
If you are considering lip fillers, the first step is an initial consultation, where you discuss your requirements with your doctor and they offer advice on what to expect.
The procedure itself is simple and will take between 15 minutes and two hours. Your lips will be numbed using an anaesthetic cream or injection, so you will not feel any pain. Filler is then injected into the lips to create the desired look. Your doctor may use ice packs during and after the procedure to minimise swelling and bruising.
After the treatment is complete, your doctor will monitor you for a short while to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the treatment before being sent home.
How long do lip fillers last for?
Most lip filler treatments last between six and 18 months. Premium lip fillers like Belotero lips and Juvederm ultra can last up to 6-8 months whilst advanced fillers like Juvederm Volbella or Volift can last up to 12-18 months. It is often recommended that you schedule top-up appointments before the desired effect has faded to reduce any noticeable fluctuation in the size and shape of your lips. Going for top-up treatments will also ensure you don’t need to have the same amount of filler added each time. Instead, you will need less treatment to maintain your look.
You should talk to your doctor about how often you should come for top-up treatments — they will be able to give you a better idea of the timescale. It is important to note that everyone is different, and you may find that your body breaks down lip fillers faster or slower than others.
Are lip fillers safe?
Lip fillers are generally considered a safe treatment. However, it is important that you choose your lip filler provider with care and check their certification to ensure you’re in the best possible hands.
There are two main types of lip filler — hyaluronic acid and collagen. Both are safe to use in lip fillers, though hyaluronic acid is most commonly recommended by doctors. This is because hyaluronic acid produces consistent results and is highly unlikely to result in serious side effects or allergies. It is also absorbable and can be quickly reversed using an enzyme called hyaluronidase.
When deciding on a lip filler practitioner, it is a good idea to look for an established clinic with plenty of experience and a proven track record. You should ask for testimonials and case studies to get an idea of the quality you can expect. While price is an essential consideration for many customers, it is crucial not to compromise quality or safety for cost. You should also carry out research on the doctor or dentist to ensure they are GMC (general medical council) registered or GDC (General Dental Council) registered.
What to expect after lip fillers
After your lip filling procedure, you may experience some side effects. These will usually be minor and will clear up within a few days. Your doctor will inform you about the most likely side effects you can expect to experience.
Some common side effects include:
- Swelling and bruising
- Red patches or bumps at the injection site
- Minor bleeding
- Recurrence of cold sores if you usually experience them
There is the possibility of more serious side effects like allergy, infection or severe bleeding, but these are very rare. Another serious complication is vascular occlusion where filler blocks the blood supply to the tissue. This is extremely rare in the hands of trained medical practitioners and can be treated with hyaluronidase if it is quickly identified and hyaluronic acid fillers are used. If you are concerned about the side effects you’re experiencing, you should get in touch with your practitioner as soon as possible.
To aid in your recovery after the treatment and to ensure you get the best possible results from your treatment, you should practice good aftercare. Your doctor will walk you through aftercare more thoroughly after your treatment. Usually, this includes icing the lips, not touching the injection site, keeping yourself well hydrated, avoiding strenuous activities, and eating soft foods.
You should avoid anything that may disturb the site of the injections while the filler settles, such as drinking from straws and smoking. It is usually recommended that you avoid alcohol as this can cause dehydration and thin the blood to worsen bruising, which can make recovery take longer.
How long does it take for lip fillers to settle?
You will normally see the effects of your lip fillers immediately, which is one of the major benefits of fillers, particularly hyaluronic acid fillers. You may find that your lips will look overfilled for a few days after the procedure due to the swelling, but this will usually settle within a few days. Your lips may also look lumpy or uneven initially which will also settle down as the swelling reduces.
It can sometimes take from a week to a month to see the final results, though most people see some improvement straight away.
How often can you get lip fillers?
How often you get lip fillers will depend on your personal preference. As mentioned above, it is often best to get your lip fillers topped up before the initial treatment has faded, to reduce the appearance of fluctuating lip size and shape.
However, it is important to note that getting lip fillers too frequently can have some risks. The most common issue associated with too frequent lip fillers is the possibility that the filler will migrate, causing puffiness and an unnatural appearance in the lips and face.
You should talk to your doctor to ensure you get the most out of your fillers and follow their advice on how long to wait between procedures.
How to make your lip filler last longer
You can ensure your lip fillers stay intact for longer by following the aftercare recommendations from your doctor closely. Staying hydrated, avoiding strenuous activity and exerting are all key in the days after your treatment.
After the initial recovery period, you can ensure your fillers last longer by staying out of the sun and using a high SPF on your lips year-round — even during winter.
You should also keep stress to a minimum. Also be aware that doing lots of exercise can make filler break down more quickly. That’s not to say you should give up the gym! Just be mindful that you may need to schedule your top-up appointments more regularly. Eating healthily can also be invaluable in avoiding inflammation in the body. This may result in your filler breaking down more quickly.
Another crucial way to make your lip filler last longer is to choose the right practitioner. Look for an established medical clinic with experienced medical practitioners.