Lip Filler 101

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If you’re interested in having your lips augmented–whether it’s for balance or volume–you’re not alone. Dermal fillers are the second most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure in the country, with over 3.4 million Americans getting fillers in 2020. Out of those 3.4 million, 2.6 million people got hyaluronic acid injections—the most commonly used filler for lips. This treatment has rapidly grown in popularity and it’s not hard to see why: All it takes is a short, non-invasive procedure to yield beautiful results on clients of all ages. 

Welcome to your complete guide to lip filler: What it is, what it’s like, and everything you need to know before you go under the needle.

What are dermal lip fillers?

Dermal fillers are one of the most common cosmetic procedures, with lips being one of the most popular areas of treatment. These injectable solutions add volume to areas of concern, enhancing desirable contours, smoothing fine lines, adding fullness, and various other benefits. More often than not, these formulas are hyaluronic-acid-based, mimicking a naturally occurring humectant in the human body–making fillers an excellent hydrator.

Injecting dermal fillers in the lips is a simple, non-invasive procedure typically intended to add volume to the lips for a fuller look. It can also adjust the shape and structure of your lips, like defining the cupid's bow or lip line. It can even improve the appearance of fine lines along the mouth.

With only a few injections, any client can achieve the look of plump, more hydrated lips. Whether thin lips are a genetic characteristic or you’ve noticed some volume loss over time, this treatment can address those concerns and create a natural-looking outcome.

Depending on what your provider recommends for your aesthetic goals, here are some of the lip-enhancing dermal fillers you can choose from: 

What will my appointment be like? 

We understand your first lip filler experience may be intimidating. You may have concerns such as: Will my results look natural? Are dermal fillers safe? Our providers are there to ease your worries and help you feel comfortable with the process. We’ve found that proper research and preparation can be very helpful in easing client concerns, so here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the treatment.


First, we advise booking a free consultation. This can be a separate visit or the first half of your treatment appointment–whichever makes you feel most comfortable. At your consultation, you’ll have the chance to share your goals with your provider and ask any questions. The provider will also assess the shape, size, and structure of your lips to determine your best treatment plan. The consultation is an opportunity for you and your clinician to get on the same page about expectations—and what results could realistically look like. 


Your appointment should take thirty to forty minutes from start to finish. Before treatment, your provider will apply a topical numbing cream and allow about fifteen minutes for it to take effect. Once this period has finished, your clinician will prepare you for your injections and begin treatment. While the numbing cream is highly effective, you may still feel a slight pinch at insertion. Don’t worry, it will be over soon and any discomfort will be well worth it! When the provider is finished, you’ll be sent home with ice to reduce swelling and after-care instructions. 

Depending on the filler formula, your age, and your metabolism, results can last anywhere between a few months and over a year. Most lip fillers will last about 12 to 18 months, at which point you can refresh your lips with another treatment. 

How can patients prepare for treatment? 

Prior to your treatment, there are a few key things you can do to prepare. For a detailed list of dos and don’ts, visit our How To Prep for Your Aesthetic Treatment blog post.

The key things to remember are to stay well hydrated to minimize your risk for swelling and bruising and to avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. To avoid drug interactions, it is advised to stop taking supplements a few days before your appointment, especially St. John’s Wort, garlic, ginseng, fish oil (omega-3), and vitamin E. Lastly, be sure to arrive at your appointment with a clean, makeup-free face.

What is the recommended post-treatment care? 

Your provider will prescribe a post-treatment care plan specific to your needs. But a good rule of thumb is to avoid smoking, drinking, strenuous exercise, and excessive heat for a few days after treatment to lower the risk of swelling and bruising. To further minimize swelling and to avoid filler migration, it is advised to sleep on your back with your head elevated.

If you notice bruising at the injection site, it can be helpful to apply a topical arnica cream or aloe vera, according to a 2015 review. Applying a cold compress or ice can also soothe swelling and reduce pain.  

And finally, don't forget to use daily sun protection on your skin and lips to ensure your results last as long as possible. 

Who is the ideal candidate for lip fillers? 

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the ideal candidate for lip fillers fulfills all of the following criteria: 

  • Physically healthy 
  • Non-smoker 
  • Has a positive outlook
  • Has realistic goals for the improvement of their appearance
  • Committed to maintaining healthy skin

That being said, lip fillers are not for everyone. Some people are not a good fit for the treatment altogether, while others might benefit from an alternative treatment to achieve their goals. If you’re interested in lip fillers, speak to a trusted provider to see if you are a good candidate for treatment.

What are the benefits of lip fillers? 

While most people turn to lip fillers to add volume, there are numerous other benefits to this treatment. Here are some of the reasons why this cosmetic procedure is so popular: 

  • It can make you look or feel more youthful
  • It can refresh your appearance by minimizing fine lines
  • It can improve your self-confidence 
  • It creates a natural and subtle enhancement
  • It’s non-invasive and has a quick recovery time 
  • It can easily be dissolved or reversed 

If you’re ready to further explore the benefits of lip filler, visit our website to book your appointment with a Portrait provider today.

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