Lip fillers are among the most frequently booked treatments at beauty clinics. They are an excellent way to achieve fuller, more pronounced lips with a 30-minute, non-invasive procedure.
Most dermal fillers for lips are made of hyaluronic acid, a chemical found naturally in the human body. The procedure is simple, but you may wonder: What happens immediately after? Is there any bruising after lip filler? Do patients experience swelling?
What Causes Swelling After Lip Fillers?
Lip fillers are injected with a needle. Lips are a super-sensitive area, packed with blood and nerve supply. Pricking that area with a needle triggers the body’s natural response to injection-caused trauma and perceived threat. It starts a healing cascade, sending a rush of fluid and white blood cells to the injured area. The inflammatory phase or swelling is the essential first part of the healing process.
Since lip tissue is so sensitive, choosing a qualified and experienced injector is important for your safety and making sure you are happy with the results when the swelling subsides. But when does that happen?
How Long Does Lip Filler Swelling Last?
Patients usually experience different stages of swelling after the treatment. The inflammation peaks during the first 24-48 hours, and gradually subsides within 7-10 days of the treatment.
The process is unique to each patient, depending on the injector’s expertise, the patient’s metabolism, their aesthetic goals, and how they care for the injected area post treatment. Special aftercare behavior can help speed up recovery.
How to Reduce Swelling After Lip Fillers
Patients can see the final lip filler results once the swelling goes down. Follow these easy aftercare tips to speed up swelling recovery.
This is likely the first advice you’ll receive from your injector. Ice helps ease swelling, bruising, and itching. Apply ice to your lips immediately after the procedure to restrict blood flow, and then continue doing so for the next 48 hours.
You should first cover the ice in a cloth or a towel so that the cold surface does not touch your lips, as it could cause mild frostbite. That’s the last thing you want with freshly injected lips! If ice wrapped in cloth still feels too cold for you, soak a cotton ball or a cotton cloth in iced water and gently apply it to your lips.
Ice your lips as often as you can for the first several days, up to five times a day, for 20 minutes at a time.
Keep the Area Clean
Keeping your lips clean for the first 24 hours after injection is extremely important. Always wash your hands before touching them, change your pillowcase before going to bed, and do not use an old Chapstick or lipstick.
Avoid Routine Dental Work
Dental work can introduce bacteria into your blood stream and may increase your chances of developing nodules in your freshly injected lips. We advise avoiding routine dental work for two weeks after the treatment.
Swelling is the storing of fluids in one concentrated place. Being hydrated allows your body to mobilize fluids and let them move freely, keeping their flow. Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Drinking a lot of water also helps your body heal.
This is our general advice all the time, but it also comes in handy when dealing with lip filler swelling. Eating healthy and hydrating with fruits and vegetables assist with the healing process. Avoid high-sodium foods because they may worsen swelling.
Elevate Your Head
You know how, when you sprain your ankle, you put your feet up? That is so that the fluids can drain away and reduce the swelling. It’s the same with lip filler-induced swelling. Use an extra pillow, because the added elevation will help prevent fluids from pooling in the face.
Take a Pill
Consult with your injector about the recommended painkiller. Over-the-counter antihistamine pills may reduce swelling and OTC Tylenol may help control post-procedure pain. Most practitioners advise patients to avoid NSAIDS such as Motrin/Ibuprofen and Aspirin since it may increase the chances of bruising. Always talk to your provider before taking any medication.
Swelling after lip fillers usually goes away within a week. Some patients love the swollen look of their lips and are disappointed when their lips settle to the full effect of fillers. If that’s the case, you can have a small top-up to give you your desired look. In any case, be patient for the first several days after the treatment—soon you will be able to enjoy the final look of your filled lips.
Avoid Strenuous Exercise
We know some of you are taking your fitness regimens seriously, but please avoid strenuous exercise 24 to 48 hours after your lip filler treatment. This is for several reasons.
Sweating on the needle entry points—the little dots around your lips where the needle poked you—can introduce bacteria, so it’s a no-go. Additionally, elevated blood pressure and heart rate can lead to heavier swelling or bruising. Finally, heavy exercise affects your hydration levels, and you should not allow yourself to get dehydrated after lip fillers.
If you have the urge to move, walking or similar light activity can be your exercise of choice in the first 48 hours post treatment.
Don’t Apply Pressure to the Area
It is important not to apply deep pressure to your freshly injected lips. Light massage may be done in the treated area by the practitioner to help with any lumpiness or asymmetry, but this should not be done at home. Massaging the area can increase swelling and may disperse the freshly injected filler, leaving you with undesirable results.
Avoid High Heat
Avoid high temperatures in the 48 hours after your lip filler treatment. If exposed to extreme heat, your swelling can become more pronounced. Avoid saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga, and even hot showers for at least 48 hours. Use lukewarm water until you notice the swelling has significantly reduced.
Refrain from Alcohol
Alcohol usually dilates blood vessels, which is something you want to avoid after getting lip fillers. Swelling after lip fillers can worsen if you drink alcohol. It can also cause inflammation and the likelihood of bruising. That’s why it’s good to avoid it not only post treatment to prevent swelling, but for several days before the treatment as well.
It’s best to wait at least a week after your treatment before you hop on a plane, and two weeks is even better. Different atmospheric pressures, such as on planes, might cause the filler to react differently in some patients.
Filler generally works by attracting the water in the body and altered pressure on your skin and other tissues can result in undesirable outcomes. Additionally, the air on the plane is super dry and may dehydrate you.
To reduce swelling after lip fillers, you should rest and protect your lips—so refrain from hard kissing in the next 48 hours.
Don’t Drink Through a Straw
You may not have given this simple action a thought, but it does put pressure on your lips. Right after getting your lip fillers, avoid drinking through a straw so as not to exacerbate swelling.
Avoid Wearing a Lipstick
Your lips will be very tender after getting lip fillers, so it’s best you stay away from lipstick until you notice a reduction in swelling. If you cannot live without lipstick, make sure to purchase a brand new tube and apply it very gently. You can also opt for one that contains SPF for added protection.
Don’t Sleep on the Injection Site
Do not sleep on your face. Some belly sleepers will have a hard time fighting this urge. Muster all the willpower you can to stay flat on your back and reduce swelling by simply not applying pressure on your lips.
Avoid Natural Remedies
Once you enter the realm of Google search, you may find that black tea bags, herbal ointments, coconut oil, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and aloe vera gel are discussed as natural remedies for swelling after lip fillers. They may or may not help, but they may do more harm than good. Stay away from those and ask your injector for advice on what you can use.
Swelling after lip fillers is normal. Slight modifications in your behavior after the treatment can help accelerate recovery.
In rare cases, if the swelling is really intense and lasts more than a week, please contact your doctor right away. You may be having an allergic reaction to hyaluronic acid or a more serious complication.
Learn more about best practices when getting Lip Fillers and Lip Filler aftercare tips.
Check out our Lip Filler FAQ section to get answers to the most common questions about lip fillers.