While it is true that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, it remains unarguable that alluring lips are one of the features that greatly influence the beholder’s perspective. It is therefore understandable that there is an increase in the demand for lip augmentation procedures. This guide is designed to answer all your questions about lip augmentation.
The term ‘lip augmentation’ broadly refers to any procedure designed to give the lips a plumper appearance, correct imperfections, change the shape of lips etc. Defects in shape and structure of the lips may be congenital while thinning of the lips is a part of the natural aging process. By giving the lips a plump and full appearance, lip augmentation procedures ensure the lips continually radiate health, youth, and beauty. Various lip augmentation procedures exist in large numbers but the use of injectable fillers seem to be the most common procedure in this day and age.
Various fillers have been injected into the lip or in the region around the mouth for lip augmentation purposes. Collagen, fat and hyaluronic acid are just some of them. Hyaluronic acid fillers have been established as the mainstay of lip augmentation because they are fairly simple to inject, produce almost immediate results and last for an appreciable length of time while posing little or no risk to your health.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the body and it works mainly by increasing the ability of the skin to retain moisture. Thus, your lips would not wither away or thin continually because of the volume the water retained provides. The retained moisture also has an effect on the shape and structure of the lips. Thus, the general appearance of the lips can be markedly improved by hyaluronic acid fillers.
The very first step in the lip augmentation procedure is consultation. You need to visit a qualified expert and discuss if the procedure is right for you. They would inform you of the requirements in terms of preparation and cost as well as the risks involved.
Before your lip augmentation procedure, you may need to follow some general health guidelines. You need to let your doctor know if you are currently taking any prescribed or bought over the counter medication. You may be advised to stop some medication, such as blood thinners, after your doctor weighs the risks and benefits. You should also avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, some weeks before your procedure.
Injecting hyaluronic acid fillers is a fairly simple process and it comes with little or no discomfort. The procedure takes less than an hour, results are seen immediately and you could get back to carrying out your daily activities immediately after the procedure.
If you feel some discomfort after the injection, your doctor may give you ice cubes to ease the discomfort and swelling. You would also be advised to avoid alcohol, exercise, using lipsticks and other cosmetic products applied on the lips immediately after the injection.
The majority adults are eligible for lip augmentation but you still need to talk to your doctor to be sure the process is appropriate for you. You also need to have realistic expectations about the procedure and discuss with your doctor about the possibilities of achieving the desired look. It is always better if you have a clear picture of what you want, so your doctor could align his/hers plans with your goals.
People with health difficulties, such as oral herpes, Lupus, diabetes and clotting problems are considered unfit for hyaluronic acid fillers. You should inform your doctor if you have or have had any of the conditions listed. Your doctor should also be aware of all allergies, especially if you are allergic to lidocaine or other related substances.
Numerous hyaluronic acid fillers are available. All the available products would have been approved by the regulatory authorities so you can be sure they meet a minimum standard. They may, however, have slightly varying specifications in terms of cost, duration of activity etc. Your doctor would be in the best position to advise you on which product is ideal for you. Some of the hyaluronic acid fillers include
Doctors generally tend to prefer products that come with lignocaine as its anesthetic effect ensures the procedure is as pain-free as possible.
Overall, dermal fillers are considered safe but the possibility of side effects cannot be completely ruled out, as with any medical procedure. Most of the side effects associated with dermal fillers are short-term, occurring almost immediately after the injection and resolving in less than a few hours. Some prolonged side effects have, however, been reported, although on rare occasions.
The temporary side effects that may be experienced include:
- Bruising and swelling
- Bleeding from injection sites
- Localized redness and tenderness.
More severe side effects that have been reported include:
- Prolonged swelling (lasting for over one week)
- Secondary infection of bruising site
- Asymmetrical lips
- Tissue loss arising from injection into a blood vessel
- Allergic reactions which may lead to anaphylactic shock.
You should inform your doctor immediately if you notice any severe or persistent side effect.
Compared to other substances (such as collagen and fat) that have been used for lip augmentation, hyaluronic acid fillers offer a lot of advantages.
- Safety: This is perhaps the most important advantage of hyaluronic acid fillers. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found in the body of every individual so the risk of an allergic reaction is almost zero. This is in contrast with collagen, which is an animal-based product and has triggered severe allergic reactions in several people. The only risk of allergic reactions arising from the use of hyaluronic acid fillers is posed by other components present such as lignocaine and other excipients.
- Immediate results: While it may take some time before the effects of other types of fillers manifest, the effects of hyaluronic acid fillers are seen immediately, so you do not really need weeks of planning if you want the augmentation for an event.
- Gradual pace of treatment: Since results are seen immediately, it is possible to carry out the lip augmentation procedure gradually. The injections could be administered over different appointments until the perfect pout is achieved. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who do not want the change to appear too sudden or are not exactly sure of what they want.
- Perfect control over lip volume: The amount of filler injected is predetermined and can be easily controlled by the doctor so you can be sure of getting the desired volume from the procedure.
- Reversibility: In case you change your mind after the procedure or in the event of any mistake by your doctor, hyaluronic acid fillers offer the advantage of being reversible. Your doctor can easily inject another substance (hyaluronidase) that is capable of dissolving the hyaluronic acid, restoring your lip back to its previous state.
- Takes less time and causes less discomfort: the procedure lasts for less than an hour and there usually is less bruising on the lips compared to other types of fillers. You could resume your regular activities immediately after the procedure. Besides, bumps that may arise from moving your lips can be dissolved easily so there really is nothing to worry about.
- Long duration of activity: although hyaluronic acid injections are not permanent, the results obtained could last for about 6 months or more. You can easily get another injection if you notice the effects have started disappearing.
Immediately after the lip fillers are administered, it is normal to experience some bruising or swelling but this should resolve after a few days. Your doctor may provide ice packs to deal with the initial swelling. You are advised to avoid alcohol and exercise for at least 24 hours after the procedure. Kissing and using lipsticks or other lip products should also be refrained from in the period immediately after your lip augmentation procedure.
If the pain becomes worrying, you could opt for over the counter analgesics, like paracetamol or ibuprofen. You could continue the cold compress for a few days after the procedure but remember not to apply to much pressure on the lip region. Your doctor may also give you homeopathic preparations to help with fast resolution of the pain and swelling.
Typically, the effect of lip fillers lasts up to 3-9 months. Repeat injections may be needed, if you wish to sustain the effects of the lip filler. Because the duration of effect is dependent on the type of product used, your doctor should be able to provide a definite answer on how long the filler would last.
If for any reason whatsoever, you decide to discontinue the lip injection, you can be sure your lip would retract back to its original state.
Lip augmentations aren’t exactly cheap. Since most insurance plans would not cover the cost of cosmetic procedures or complications arising from them, you should know what you are getting into before opting for a lip filler injection.
The cost of the procedure largely depends on the geographical location, the experience of the practitioner and the number of injections required for the procedure. The typical cost of the procedure ranges from £350 to £1500