Call it a social media-triggered boon, the “Jolie effect,” or simply credit the ever-increasing availability of minor in-office treatments. Whatever the case, perfectly plump lips are more popular today than they’ve ever been before. Don’t just believe your Instagram scrolling, though — the statistics speak volumes. Since the year 2000, the number of people who’ve invested in lip augmentation has increased by 60 percent, according to the 2017 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
[Editor’s note: Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists now.]
What’s also worth noting is that we’re seeing a shift in demographic. Historically, lip injections — typically a temporary hyaluronic acid-based filler injected into the lip for instant plumping — was most popular among mature patients to add volume to thinning lips. Today, an increasing number of younger adult clients are coming in for enhancement. And while lip augmentation has traditionally been very popular with women, that’s changing, too: “its popularity is rising among men,” notes Dr. Michelle R. Yagoda, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in NYC.
Whether you’re mildly curious about what getting lip filler is like or you’re eagerly awaiting an appointment of your own, we’ve outlined some things you need to know below.
Who Can Be a Lip Filler Candidate
Let’s just jump straight to it: if you’re over the age of 21 and want a plumper pout, there’s a good chance you may already be a candidate for lip filler. As mentioned, the minimally invasive procedure has rapidly gained momentum among people who simply want more volume. It also remains popular among those who have diminished fullness as a result of getting older. To know for sure if you’re a candidate for lip filler it’s best to get in to see a provider – either a derm or plastic surgeon – for an individualized consultation. Consult with our medical concierge to find one near you!
“Just like everywhere else in the body, we lose volume as collagen, elastin, bone, and muscles atrophy,” explains Yagoda. “The reduction in collagen and elastin in the upper and lower lips causes a deflation of sorts.”
Dr. Steven R. Cohen, a board-certified plastic surgeon and the founder of San Diego’s Faces Plus, adds that because of the way bones and teeth change with age, the lips could lose their support, making your pout appear even smaller. “It seems, with age, that the lip lengthens and thins, and the pink part of the lip, [called the] vermilion, begins to roll inward,” he explains, “all of which make the lips look less full and youthful.” Adding filler can go a long way into visually correcting this, restoring some of that lost volume and making the lips look plumper again.
What to Expect at Your Lip Filler Appointment
Your consultation and the administration of lip filler could occur on the same day. Your doctor will ask you about your specific aesthetic goals, walk you through your options, and together you’ll determine how to move forward. There are a handful of options to choose from when it comes to injectable filler, but how much filler is used varies from person to person. Generally speaking, 1cc for both lips is a relatively common amount, which costs between $600 and $1,000.
“Once the patient decides how they want to proceed, we either use either an injectable or a topical anesthetic to numb the lips, or both,” says Dr. Cohen.
When injecting the anesthetic, there’s typically a small pinch felt along with some mild burning. After roughly 20 minutes, the area becomes numb. Dr. Yagoda says this numbness lasts for between 30 to 60 minutes, which is long enough for your doctor to administer the filler. “Most fillers have lidocaine added for pain control, so mainly it is the little needle puncture that might hurt for a second,” explains Dr. Cohen.
Because of how sensitive the area is and how deep the filler is placed, bruising, swelling, and some localized discomfort are relatively common for about a week following your appointment. They’ll also likely provide you with an ice pack to use post-appointment to help soothe your lips. Talk to your doctor about any post treatment recommendations. Per on-label instructions, filler in the lips can last anywhere from 6 months to a year.
How to Get the Results You Want
Above all, the most important thing to know before getting lip injections is to select your provider with great care. This is a medical treatment, and as with any medical appointment, there are risks involved, so it’s essential to do some research beforehand for best results.
“Like any procedure, make sure your doctor or injector is licensed to do the procedure,” advises Dr. Cohen. “Also, the lip has its own distinct anatomy and it is important to marry art with the science of the underlying anatomy. In this way, complications and unnatural results can be avoided.”
In other words, choose a doctor that’s not only board-certified, but who has an eye for nuance and works carefully with you to create a personalized approach. Doing so will help ensure you walk out of that doctor’s office with not just a fuller lip, but a genuine one.