Tales from the Chair: Why I Got Lip Injections (Plus 8 Most-Asked Questions About the Procedure Answered)
Curious about going under the needle? In this first-person account, an AW Plastic Surgery patient shares her recent experience about why she, at age 35, elected to have lip fillers for the first time and what the pout-plumping procedure was like.
The first time it happened, I didn’t think too much of it. The second time, I raised an eyebrow. But the third time someone asked me about my assumed lip-ring scar set in the right corner of my lower lip, I admittedly started thinking more about it. Because I have never had a lip ring. Nor was it any sort of scar. What I did have, however, was a wrinkle that was starting to become a bit more noticeable than the rest. So I did what any 35-year-old would do: On and off, for probably about a year, I Googled “lip wrinkle treatments,” slowly gathering and digesting little bits of research regarding my options.
Which is what led me to going under the needle – for lip injections, that is. Not just for that blasted wrinkle, but to restore structure I’ve lost over the years while adding some volume and shape to my pout that I’ve just never naturally had (in fact, my lips have always been a little uneven). Sure, I do my best to take care of my skin and live a healthy lifestyle, but in some cases and at some point, that’s not enough to combat the inevitability of age…and I have no qualms about seeking solutions that don’t just help me with the process of aging “gracefully,” as they say, but help me feel confident about putting my best face forward.
But I digress. Here’s the lowdown on my lips, organized by some of the common questions I had prior to the procedure, followed by my own personal experience and final takeaways.
Where Should I Go for Lip Injections?
Short answer: A board-certified medical professional, whether that’s a provider at a med spa, plastic surgery practice, or dermatologist. But personally, I chose AW Plastic Surgery, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based medical aesthetic practice specializing in a whole host of both non-surgical and surgical cosmetic treatments, everything from skincare treatments like dermaplaning and dermal peels to the latest skin resurfacing technologies like Morpheus8 and HALO to facelifts, liposuction, breast augmentation, and more.
In fact, after a year of research, that’s the very reason I chose AW Plastic Surgery with whom to start my medical aesthetic journey with: I was looking for a practice that would serve as a true expert in all things beauty and aging that I could trust, not just with this first procedure, but any that might come after it. Their glowing reviews didn’t hurt either. Neither did meeting Michelle Raffin, a BSN RN with the practice who with a bounty of beautiful before-and-after photos of her lip injection work.
How Much Do Lip Injections Cost?
They generally range from $500 to $1,000 for one syringe (1 cc), but the price can vary depending on your injector and location (for example, in more expensive areas like New York City or LA, the price can run higher). At AW Plastic Surgery, the cost also varies depending on the type of filler used, but, for the brand I opted for, it ran $450 for a half-syringe and $700 for a full syringe. There is also a consultation fee of $100, but if you book the procedure, it is put toward your final cost.
What Are the Best Lip Fillers?
That depends on your individual condition and desired goals, plus budgetary concerns. But the top-of-line fillers to know are Juvéderm®, Restylane®, RHA Collection, and Volbella, which are all formulated from a clear, gooey-like substance known as hyaluronic acid. You might already be familiar with this ingredient as it makes up a core component of many skincare products and is actually a naturally occurring substance found in the body. While Silicone gel was used in the past, hyaluronic acid has become the gold standard because it’s a naturally soft material that can also be dissolved if a patient is unhappy with the results.
After chatting through my concerns with Raffin, we opted for RHA2 for its ability to target those little lines around the corners of my mouth, plus better define my cupid’s bow and add a much-needed boost of hydration to my usually dry lips.
How Much Lip Filler Do I Need?
Whether you want a subtle volume to puff out a few corner lines, a plumper pout more on par with Kylie Jenner’s famous lips, or even to do some injecting into just one lip to better balance those babies, that’s really up to you. I would just suggest trusting and working with your provider, who will create a treatment plan for you based on your personal goals.
While I will admit to being drawn to the plumper lips, I wanted to do it naturally, in stages, to achieve the desired look but not super noticeable (only one person has asked me, straight-out, if I got fillers, whereas my mom just thought I was finally wearing lipstick for the first time in my life). So, while I bought a full syringe, we only used about half to 60 percent of it in my first session. Then based on how I felt about the look and how my lips reacted to the filler (everyone is different), during my two-week follow-up, we could decide if I wanted to inject a little bit more to touch anything up. Spoiler alert: I did, but it still wasn’t quite a full syringe’s worth.
Do Lip Injections Hurt?
Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by how much less I expected the process to hurt, plus how quickly it was done (the injections took no more than maybe 15 minutes, I’d say). It’s really nothing more than a series of quick pinches around the edges of your mouth. Think of it like this: if you’ve ever gotten a tattoo – even a tiny one – you can definitely handle this. Not to mention, there is a topical numbing cream slathered over your mouth prior to the procedure, and the actual filler contains lidocaine (a numbing agent).
How Long Do Lip Injections Last?
No, they do not last forever, but neither does any cosmetic procedure because you have to expect some follow-up maintenance to “protect the investment,” as founder and board-certified plastic surgeon behind AW Plastic Surgery, Dr. Anthony Wilson, describes it. On average, lip fillers dissolve naturally over time, and depending on which filler you choose, the results can stick around from six to 10 months, maybe even a full year. It all really depends on your lifestyle and other factors. For example, if you have a fairly fast metabolism, that can speed up how quickly your results fade. Stress, smoking, exposure to the sun can also speed up the rate, the same it would do to any cosmetic procedure.
Given my desire for the plumper-lip look, Raffin guessed I might need a touch-up (potentially half a syringe) at the six- to eight-month mark, but it’s not an exact science. I can tell you at the almost three-month mark at the time of the posting of this article, my lips look as full as day one after my swelling subsided (see image tracking my lip-filler journey below, from before injections, one hour after, four days out, to the six-week mark).
How About Lip Filler Recovery Time?
Naturally, I swell up pretty easily (you should see me after a bee sting), plus I bruise just as much too (you should have seen my jawline after my wisdom teeth removal), so my lips, particularly my upper lip, were puffy for about 24 hours, and there was some bruising that lasted roughly three to four days. But some patients report only being swollen for a few hours. Definitely use ice to bring the swelling down and try to refrain from taking Ibuprofen and drinking alcohol a week leading up to the procedure (as this can increase bruising).
Was My Lip Augmentation Experience Worth It?
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m obviously in the lip-filler fan club. Not just because I was able to successfully bump-out that alleged “lip-ring scar” that was starting to come a little too much into question, but because the process was easy and, in my opinion, well worth the investment and any mild discomfort.
So AW, I’ll be seeing you at my next appointment.
- Love Your Lips, Lose Your Lines
- Alternative Uses for Botox® that May Surprise You
- Not All Lines Are Created Equally: Dynamic and Static Wrinkles