How long should you *actually* wait between lip fillers?
Main image – ChikaMilan/Adobe
Lip and dermal fillers have become one of *the* most popular cosmetic treatments of the last 10 years, thanks in most part to the rise in celebs and influencers alike embracing fuller pouts (we’re looking at you, Kylie Jenner).
Advancements in their safety and effectiveness at providing a natural- yet noticeable- effect have also seen a rise in popularity.
But while fillers have come a long way, they’re still not forever and if you want to take advantage of the cosmetic benefits of lip fillers, you’ll need to know how often to maintain them.
That’s why we asked anti-ageing expert Dr Saulis Banionis and Dermatology Nurse Practitioner and injectable specialist Akis Ntonos for their advice on how often you should wait between lip filler injections to both maintain or add volume to them.
The short answer
The NHS says that “fillers are not permanent. How long they last depends on things like the type of filler and where it’s injected. They usually last between 6 and 18 months.”
As a general rule, you should leave a minimum of 6 to 12 months between lip injections. Waiting at least 6 months ensures enough time for lip filler to settle properly, creating a firm base for future treatments.
Akis tells us that “this interval allows the previous filler to fully integrate into the lips and provides a stable foundation for the next treatment.
“Rushing into another filler session too soon can increase the risk of complications and may lead to an unnatural appearance.”
He adds, “Consulting with your healthcare provider is crucial to determine the ideal timing for your specific needs.”
But what if it’s your first time getting any kind of lip augmentation? We’ve got you covered, asking the experts the answers to your most common questions.
What are lip fillers?
Lip fillers are a type of dermal filler that is injected into the lips, making them look fuller, more even (we’re not symmetrical, after all), or softening fine lines (but not in the same way as Botox does). They can also be used on either the upper or lower lip alone (for example if you feel your upper lip is particularly thin).
Most are hyaluronic acid fillers, a substance that naturally occurs in the body, and there are numerous brands and types on offer.
Medical News Today says, “Dermal fillers, sometimes called soft tissue fillers, are substances designed to be injected beneath the surface of the skin to add volume and fullness.
“Substances used in dermal fillers include:
- Calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a mineral-like compound found in bones.
- Hyaluronic acid, which is found in some fluids and tissues in the body that add plumpness to the skin.
- Polyalkylimide, a transparent gel that is compatible with the body.
- Polylactic acid, which stimulates the skin to make more collagen.
- Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA), a semi-permanent filler
“Each one of these is designed to treat different signs of aging or other cosmetic issues,” it adds.
The different types of lip filler
There’s a whole host of of different lip filler varieties to choose from and you’ll want to discuss your options with your aesthetician who can recommend the best lip filler for you.
Different types are sometimes associated with correcting specific issues.
For example, Restylane is typically recommended to those with naturally thin lips. On the other hand, Juvederm is often recommended to those who have experienced volume loss in the lips due to ageing.
Here are some of the most common types of lip filler.
- Body fat lip fillers
- Juvéderm Ultra XC
- Restylane Silk
How long do lip fillers last?
Although the effects don’t last forever, you can expect fuller lips for anything between 6 months and two years.
Dr Banionis explains, “the duration of lip filler results varies depending on the type of filler used, individual metabolism, and lifestyle factors. Generally, lip fillers last between six months to a year.
“Over time, the filler gradually breaks down, and you may choose to have touch-up treatments to maintain the desired appearance.”
He adds, “the company says 1 year is how long the filler lasts, but with our patients, especially the active ones and the ones that do not stay hydrated, we do notice after 6 months they could use a little more.
“It really varies from person to person. Some patients are happy for two years.”
Potential lip filler risks
Although lip filler treatment is safe, there are some possible side effects to be aware of before undergoing treatment.
Anyone interested in getting lip fillers need to consult with their aesthetician to make sure that they are a good candidate for the procedure. You’ll also want to pick an experienced injector or plastic surgeon with extensive training to carry out any dermal filler treatments.
Before your appointment, you’ll need to be in good overall health and free from any oral infections to be considered a good candidate for the lip filler procedure.
Some swelling and bruising should be expected after the procedure, but the healing process shouldn’t take more than around two weeks. Ice packs and arnica cream can both help here.
In more severe cases, individuals may experience damage to small blood vessels as a result of the procedure.
Dr Banionis tells us, “Swelling, bruising, and redness around the injection sites are common temporary side effects. These effects usually subside within a few days to a week.
“Some people might also experience tenderness, lumps, or unevenness in the lips initially, but these issues often resolve as the filler settles.”
Here are the most common complications following lip fillers.
- Allergic reactions
- Risk of infection
- Blood clots
- Tissue damage
- Vascular occlusion
- Cold sores
Prepping for your fillers
Ok, so you know what type of filler you want and you’re aware of the risks. How do you make sure you get the best results from your treatment?
Pre-filler prep and post-injection aftercare are essential here and is something you should be going through at length with your medical professional at your first appointment. You’ll also discuss the sort of long-term results you’re looking for and how much filler you should have for your desired look.
When heading in for your fillers, Dr Banionis says, “on the day of the 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.”
He adds that anyone with a history of cold sores should let their aesthetician know so they can discuss possible precautions.
Lip filler aftercare
Looking after your new lips is also essential for improving your overall final results.
Cold compresses can be effective at minimizing bruising and swelling after the procedure. You can also apply arnica cream on swollen or bruised areas to help reduce inflammation and minimise discomfort. You’ll also want to drink plenty of water and generally take good care of your skin around the treatment area for optimal results.
Dr Banionis says, “applying ice packs and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help with any swelling or discomfort.”
He adds, “it’s also important to stay hydrated and protect your lips from excessive sun exposure.”
You’ll also need to avoid a few things, including applying pressure to lips (that’s a no to kissing and oral sex), strenuous exercise and high temperatures (including steam rooms, hot baths and sunbathing) for 48 hours afterwards.
Lip fillers are super popular and the majority of treatments go well resulting in gorgeously plump lips (although not having a full pout is also *completely* cool too, by the way).
Trying to have too many injections too close together though, not using a trusted professional, or not following proper pre and post-injection best practice can all lead to complications.
Always wait a minimum of 6 to 12 months before getting further filler and make sure to talk to your injectable expert about what’s actually best for you. You’re unique after all!
Meet the experts
Dr Saulis Banionis is board certified by The American Academy of Anti-Ageing 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.
Akis Ntonos, FNP-C, Dermatology Nurse Practitioner, & Injectable Specialist, (a.k.a. Facial Architect) and co-founder of Aion Aesthetics, New York’s premier injectables clinic.