Whether you want to blame the rise of social media or the influence of celebrities, injectable lip injections are seemingly everywhere these days. Done well, you may not even notice if someone has temporarily added volume to their lips. However, there are still some tips to follow to make sure you get the aesthetic you want. Below, three doctors share the seven essential must-dos if you’re considering lip injections.
[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.]
Research Where to Go
Above all, it is essential to see a licensed provider for your lip injections — and once you book a consultation with one, it is just as important for you to do your homework. Ask him or her plenty of questions to determine whether or not they are credible, as well as a good match for your needs. Queries like asking to see credentials, finding out how often they do lip injections, and explanations of the procedure are all strong ones to start with. Find more questions to figure out if your provider is credible here. NYC dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD, explains that board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons know the anatomy in and out and are able to treat issues that may arise from injectables. “They know the warning signs of what to look for and where the vessels, nerves, and muscles are, so they can understand the depth at which they’re injecting,” she explains. “You also can trust that they’re using the proper injectables.” Dr. Nussbaum makes sure to always show her patients the sterile needle and the vial of what she’s using before placing the product’s sticker on their chart so, should something go awry, she can check the batch number.
Go in With Realistic Expectations
When you’re looking to add volume to a particular facial feature, it can be easy to separate it from the rest and think, “If only I just had Angelina Jolie’s lips!” But it doesn’t work like that. “The shape of your lips is dictated by the way your bone structure forms,” says NYC plastic surgeon Dara Liotta, MD. “Your jaw, your teeth, and the muscles around your mouth are all connected to how your lips look.” Therefore, filler can’t change the shape of the lips — it can only add volume.
Skip the Celebrity Photo Inspiration
Given that your unique lip shape is so important to achieving subtle-looking results with lip injections, bringing in a picture of a celebrity who doesn’t look like you is rarely helpful. Instead, NYC dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, MD, recommends bringing in an older photo of yourself. “When people bring in pictures of themselves in their twenties, it’s great for me because I can see where gravity has pulled things down and where fat loss has occurred,” she says. (That loss of volume in certain areas of the face, such as lips and cheeks, can give the face a bit of a sagging, deflated look.) “The point is to [treat] your characteristics,” she adds.
Avoid Too-Good-to-Be-True Prices
“Price-shopping and coupons for injections are a red flag,” says Dr. Liotta. “If you are board-certified, experienced, and busy, there is no way you can charge as low as the prices that are advertised [on discount sites]. That either means you’re getting injections that are about to expire, filler that isn’t FDA-approved, or someone who is looking for practice. Your face isn’t the place to cut corners.”
If you’re looking for a specific number to understand what questionably low pricing is, Los Angeles facial cosmetic surgeon Alexander Rivkin, MD, says that you can assume anything under $600 could be imported or counterfeit product. The typical pricing for lip injections tends to vary from $600 to $1,000 per treatment.
Never Share Syringes
On that note, Dr. Nussbaum, Dr, Liotta, and Dr. Rivkin all echo the sentiment that even if you were to dip in again with a new, sterile needle, it is never a wise move to split a syringe. Some providers may tell you that if they treat you with lip injections but don’t use the entire syringe worth of product, they will save the remainder for a future visit (hence, splitting a syringe). This practice can be seen as unsanitary. “Even if I’m not going to use a full one, I charge by the syringe because that’s what I pay for, and I’m going to open it for you and nobody else. I don’t save filler and I don’t split filler,” says Dr. Liotta.
Follow the Aftercare Instructions
Even though you can see the results from lip injections instantly, you’re not fully in the clear when you walk out the door. The lips are extremely vascular, so you’ll want to avoid working out for 24 hours, extensive sun or heat exposure, and any alcohol, as those can cause temporary swelling, redness, or itching at the injection sites.
“Keep in mind that it’s normal for your lips to look swollen for a day or two after, and it usually takes [a couple of weeks] for everything to settle,” says Dr. Nussbaum. If swelling or pain persists after that, or if you develop any nodules, it’s a sign that something has gone wrong and you need to check with a medical professional.