How Long Does Lip Filler Bruising *Really* Last?
Main image – Evgeniyasht19/Adobe
One flick through the pages of Instagram will tell you that lip fillers are now pretty much everywhere.
It’s pretty difficult to find an influencer or celeb that hasn’t had some type of aesthetic work done (no judgement here), and plump pillowy lips seem to still be top of the agenda in 2023.
In fact, lip fillers and injections are at an all-time high and have been for the past 5 years or so, probably partly influencing my own decision to have them on a few occasions now.
Dermal fillers are a generally safe way to enhance the shape, volume and definition of lips and are usually made of hyaluronic acid (HA), a substance naturally found in the body that helps retain moisture and adds plumpness to the skin (yep, the same HA that’s in your serums!).
And while my own experience with lip fillers has been pretty great overall (I’ve always had a thing about my upper lip and the added volume is definitely a confidence boost for me personally), the time taken to recover has varied each time.
That’s why before I venture down the path of a fuller pout again I wanted to know how how long any side effects- like lip bruising- may last.
I spoke to experts Dr Saulis Banionis of Palm Beach Anti-Aging, Lilian Alishaev, cosmetic nurse injector at the prestigious Manhattan Laser Spa, and Akis Ntonos, a dermatology nurse practitioner and injectable specialist and the co-founder of New York’s Aion Aesthetics, to get the lowdown on lip fillers and bruising.
How long does lip filler bruising last?
Like most cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, there are some risks and recovery time involved. One of the most common side effects of dermal fillers is bruising, or a small hematoma (pooling of blood from blood vessel leakage), and lip swelling around the treated area.
Bruising happens because of the trauma caused by the needle during the injection, which can result in small blood vessels being damaged.
The severity and duration of bruising can vary from person to person and will depend on skin sensitivity, the technique used during the procedure, and the skill of the injector. Most lip filler bruises resolve within 2 weeks however and it can also take up to a full 2 weeks for lip filler to ‘settle’ (to achieve a final smooth result without any lumps and hardness).
According to the NHS, “The affected area may be a bit red, sore and swollen. Any swelling or bruising should settle down in a few days.
“You should be advised about what to do to help reduce the risk of side effects. This includes not wearing make-up immediately after the procedure and avoiding alcohol, coffee and the sun,” it adds.
Akis explains, “After getting lip fillers, bruising is a common side effect that can occur due to the injections. The duration of bruising can vary from person to person, but typically it lasts around 7 to 10 days.
“The severity of the bruising can also influence the recovery time. Applying ice packs and avoiding blood-thinning medications prior to the treatment can help minimise bruising.”
Lilian agrees that “you should start seeing the full effects of your treatment within a week or two.”
But what about other common lip filler questions?
We asked the experts.
When is bruising worst after lip fillers?
You will experience the worst of the bruising in the first few days after your lip filler appointment, and the upper lip is more prone to bruising.
Lilian explains, “Results are immediate however there is swelling due to a post inflammatory response from the injection trauma. This resolves within a few days.”
Dr Banionis adds, “You will notice an immediate difference in the appearance of your lips after the procedure. They will likely look fuller and more defined. However, keep in mind that some initial swelling is normal, so the final results will become more apparent as the swelling subsides.”
He agrees these symptoms are worse within the first few days, explaining, “swelling, bruising, and redness around the injection sites are common temporary side effects. These effects usually subside within a few days to a week.
How much bruising is normal after lip fillers?
You should expect some bruising and swelling (and count yourself lucky if you don’t experience either!), but the amount of bruising will depend on your skin, the type of filler, and how experienced your injector is.
If your bruising doesn’t subside within a week and you’re following your injectors advice long how to reduce bruising and swelling (we’ve covered this below *wink*), you should contact your injector or the clinic.
Lip filler risks
Although a relatively small procedure that is completed in less than an hour, filler treatments still come with risks, especially if your injector has a poor injection technique (run for the hills). Some of the risks and most common side effects of lip fillers include:
- Bruising and damage to the small blood vessels
- Risk of bleeding
- Tissue damage
- Allergic reaction
- Cold sores
- Blood clots
- Risk of infection
- Vascular occlusion
How to reduce the chance of lip filler bruising
How does the saying go, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”? The same can be said for lip filler procedures! Make sure you prepare the area to reduce the chance of bruising and any other risks.
Some of the best ways to prepare before your procedure include avoiding alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen and any other blood-thinning medications for up to 5 days before your treatment, according to Lilian.
She adds, “some popular vitamins that should also be avoided are fish oil, garlic, vitamin E, and ginkgo biloba.”
You should also make sure you research a practitioner or plastic surgeon carefully, they should be using a super sharp needle and cleaning the area beforehand.
Make sure to get a thorough consultation before your treatment to, “discuss your goals, desired results, and any concerns you may have,” as Dr Banionis advises.
He explains that on the day of your procedure, “it’s best to arrive with clean skin, without any makeup or lip products. Avoid taking blood-thinning medications or supplements that can increase the risk of bruising.
“If you have a history of cold sores, discuss possible precautions with your doctor.”
How do you get rid of bruising after lip fillers?
Dr Banionis advises that, “applying ice packs and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help with any swelling or discomfort. It’s also important to stay hydrated and protect your lips from excessive sun exposure.”
Even if you haven’t bruised after previous lip filler appointments, it’s always a possibility. But there are ways you can help reduce the swelling and bruising, like using a cold press or applying soothing aloe vera or arnica cream.
And if all else fails, fake it ’till you make it with a good concealer!
Oh, and if you need any recommendations on some great lip balms to apply once your new pout has settled, we’ve got you covered with our balm review here.
Lip filler aftercare
It’s important to look after your newly plumped lips by drinking plenty of water and avoiding:
- Strenuous exercise
- Steam rooms and saunas
- high temperatures
Dr Banionis agreed, saying, “after the procedure, we will provide you with specific aftercare instructions. These typically include avoiding strenuous activities, excessive heat or cold, and touching or massaging the treated area.”
So, now you know how to look after your new plump lips, how to avoid bruising, and how to take care of it if you are unfortunate enough to bruise like a peach after your lip augmentation procedure.
The minor side effects will wear off after a couple of days, and lip filler is an easy, non-permanent treatment to improve the shape of your lips.
Now get that fave lipstick out and enjoy your new pout!
Meet the experts
Dr Saulis Banionis is board certified by The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and was trained extensively in aesthetic and regenerative medicine to become an expert in anti-ageing medicine. He has also worked as a Medical Expert for the Florida Board of Medicine and his practice is Palm Beach Anti Aging.
Lilian Alishaev is a cosmetic nurse injector at the Manhattan Laser Spa, specialising in treatments like treatments such as Botox, Dermal Fillers, Platelet Rich Plasma, RADIESSE®, Kybella ®.
Akis Ntonos is a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner, & Injectable Specialist, (a.k.a. Facial Architect) and co-founder of Aion Aesthetics, New York’s premier injectables clinic.