Toying with the idea of a little lip augmentation, but not wanting to look “ducky”? Relax, lips can be very tastefully done!
There are many things to consider—first up is finding an injector who is passionate about what they do and with whom you can clearly communicate with. You may know what you’re hoping for, but you have to rely on their expertise to assess your anatomy, have a working knowledge of what products they carry and how each of them will respond in the area being treated. Then those ideas have to be married in a way to optimize your ultimate outcome. Getting your lips to their perfect state is a team sport!
When I assess first time lip goers the first question is “what are you hoping for?” Are you looking for volume or light hydration? From there I can start turning my little brain cells over to decide what filler I want to use. Some hyaluronic acid fillers provide more structure for crisp borders, some are soft and fluffy for a luscious pout. Some are super soft and stretchy and others are more firm, but may have more durability.
What are your native lips like? Does the upper lip have a swoop, like a ski jump? Are there points to your cupid's bow or is it more tubular? Does your upper lip seem to vanish when you give a toothy smile? Is your lip more like a raisin, or a little more inflated like a prune? We can enhance your born-with lip, but do have some limitations. You can’t put larger tires on a Prius and make it look like a Tesla…it just doesn’t work that way. These factors contribute to my final filler decision.
After conversation, cleansing and topical anesthesia—we get to work on creating a wow lip. And whether or not you are looking for va-voom or just a little less ho-hum once I get to the sweet spot and hand you the mirror to see them for the first time, there is a classic gasp in first time filler patients.
In your brain you silently say, “OMG, they’re big. Maybe this was a bad decision”. Then I work on talking you off the fence. Some of what you see is filler, and some inflammation from the needle pokes. I know that one syringe of filler is 1/5 of a teaspoon, and I know how much I have put in; but to the filler newbie they are quite different than what you came in with, so seem larger than life.
Then I warn you: “later tonight or tomorrow morning you will likely be swollen and what is currently huge will seem ginormous. But rest assured the swelling will go down. And in all likelihood by the end of tomorrow when you are less puffy, you will probably wish they were a little more swollen.”
During the first 2 - 4 weeks the filler will attract more body fluid (that’s what hyaluronic acid does, it attracts 1000 times its molecular weight in water). During the time of fluid movement, you may detect irregularity, even lumpiness—particularly detected by your probing tongue. Please leave it alone it will soften on its own. If you squish it, massage it or manipulate it not only can you potentially make the swelling worse but you may move filler around in the plane of tissue it was carefully placed in. Fourteen days out, if there is a visible lump that makes you crazy because your entire focus is on it—let us know and we can help guide you!
Be kind to your lips during the early healing phase. Do not use old lipstick or gloss until your needle injuries have closed. Do not use your new lips excessively for extracurricular activities (straw sucking, referee whistling, oral gratification, drug paraphernalia such as bong use or the like)—give yourself 4 or 5 days of relaxation—but admire them in the mirror all you’d like!
Once you adjust to having fullness you likely won’t want to be without. Each person makes a varying amount of the enzyme that breaks filler down, so it’s really hard to say exactly how long it will last, but for those who love having moist lips plan on a refresh every 6 months or so. First time lips tend to not last quite that long, but consider that you’re building a foundation on top of which the house will stay strong!