Swelling After Lip Fillers: Do’s and Don’ts

luscious woman's lips

Lip fillers have quickly become one of the most favorite treatments in beauty clinics. No wonder, as they cater to the young and the older alike, and are an excellent way to achieve fuller, more voluminous, and more pronounced lips. Now everyone can have the lips of their dreams with a simple 30-minute non-invasive procedure. You want more beautiful and more luscious lips? Then lip filler may be the treatment for you. Lip fillers are substances that get injected into your lips, resulting in more volume and better shape. Most lip fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, a chemical found naturally in the human body. The procedure is simple, and much has been written about it. So, if you’ve read about getting lip fillers and feel ready to come in, you may wonder: what happens immediately after? Lip fillers are an injectable after all, so do they leave any bruising? Swelling?

Yes – bruising and swelling are the most common side effects of getting lip fillers. But since they are so common, it also means you have next to nothing to worry about. Choosing a qualified and experienced injector is important for your safety and so that your experience will allow enjoying your new lips right after the swelling subsides. But when does that happen? And more importantly, can you do something to help reduce swelling?

Not only can you do something, you should do something. Here’s a cheat sheet of the do’s and don’ts for the best possible treatment of swelling after lip fillers!

Swelling After Lip Fillers – Is It Normal?

Rest assured, swelling after getting lip fillers is completely normal. Lip fillers are injected with a needle. No matter how tiny this needle is, there is likely to be some swelling – when a needle is inserted into your tissue there will be injection-caused trauma and your body will react with a healing cascade. Lips are a super-sensitive area, packed with blood and nerve supply, and pricking that area with a needle and injecting a substance will usually cause some swelling.

Additionally, your injector’s skills can also play a role. Experienced injectors usually reduce the speed of their injections to minimize pain and swelling, and we always emphasize the importance of doing any cosmetic treatments with a reliable and experienced practitioner!

Swelling is also why you should not judge your filler on the first day. Final lip filler results are seen once the swelling goes down, usually 7-10 days post injection!

wide open mouth and full lips

DO Apply Ice

This is likely to be 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 in the next 48 hours. You should first either 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! Definitely 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 twenty minutes at once.

DO Keep the area very clean

Keeping your lips clean for the first 24hours 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.

DO avoid routine dental work 2 weeks after lip injections

Dental work can introduce bacteria into your blood stream and may increase your chances of developing nodules in your freshly injected lips. Please plan your routine dental work accordingly.

DO Drink Water

Swelling is actually the storing of fluids in one concentrated place. Keeping this in mind, remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Being hydrated allows your body to mobilize fluids and let them move freely, keeping their flow. Additionally, drinking a lot of water will help your body heal.

DO Eat Well

This is our general advice in all areas of life, but it also comes in handy when dealing with lip filler swelling. Eating healthy and hydrating fruits and vegetables assists with the healing process. On the other side of the spectrum is excess sodium – avoid such foods because it may worsen swelling.

woman pouting, swelling after lip fillers

DO 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 the swelling is reduced. 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.

DO Take a Pill

This is NOT a piece of DIY advice, and please talk to your injector about the recommended painkiller. Over-the-counter antihistamine pills may reduce swelling and OTC Tylenol may help control pain post procedure. Most practitioner’s advise patients to avoid NSAIDS such as Motrin/Ibuprofen and Aspirin since this may increase chances of bruising. Always talk to your provider before taking any medication.

DON’T Engage in 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 due to several reasons. Sweating on the needle entry points – the little dots around your lips where the needle hit you – can lead to bacterial problems on the injecting site, so it’s a no-go. Additionally, elevated blood pressure and heart rate that you get from exercise can lead to heavier swelling or bruising. And finally, heavy exercise affects your hydration levels, even if for a short while, 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 Massage 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 in the office 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.

DON’T Get Hot

High temperatures are to be avoided 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 been significantly reduced.

DON’T Drink

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, and 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!

DON’T Fly

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 lead to different reactions of the filler 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 less than desirable outcomes. Additionally, the air on the plane is super dry. It may dehydrate you, which is, as we spoke already, an excellent no-no post-filler.

DON’T Kiss

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, it’s best avoided to not exacerbate swelling.

DON’T Wear Lipstick

Your lips will be very tender after getting lip fillers, so it’s best you stay away from lipstick until you notice the swelling is reducing. If you cannot live without lipstick, make sure to purchase a brand new one 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 restless sleepers will have a hard time fighting the urge to just rest on their faces. Still, you need all the willpower in the world to stay flat on your back and reduce swelling by simply not applying pressure on your lips.

DON’T Take 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 help or not, but they may do more harm than good. Stay away from those and ask your injector for advice on what you can use.

woman pouting and holding a lipstick

DO Be Patient

Swelling usually goes away within a week. Some patients love the swollen look of their lips and will be disappointed when their lips settle to the full effect of fillers – if that’s the case with you, you can have a small top-up to give you the 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.

DO Contact a Doctor If Need Be

Swelling after lip fillers is normal – but in rare cases, if it’s really intense, includes a lot of bruising or mild swelling 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. Chances are you are experiencing normal swelling and will enjoy your beautiful lips very soon, but serious complications must be addressed immediately so call if anything seems out of the ordinary.