Those who have had lip fillers injections often find the results magical. Like Cinderella, it’s only natural to wonder how long the spell will last. If you’ve been thinking about having your lips done, I’m sure you’re curious about this, too. Sadly, the answer here isn’t a strict “until midnight.” In fact, the response depends on a lot of things.
No other factor influences the duration of lip fillers as much as the type of material. Some substances last longer than others. Actually, many practitioners classify fillers according to how long-lasting they are. Of the following, hyaluronic acid and polyacrylamide are the most appropriate for use in lip augmentation.
In the past, people looking for a non-permanent filler could only turn to collagen injections. Today, hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in the human body, is by far the most popular option.
Doctors consider these dermal fillers permanent in the sense that they last quite a long time. When injected, they stimulate collagen and elastin fibers to grow around them. They include polyacrylamide, polymethyl-methacrylate (also known as PMMA), and silicone oil. Aquamid is a hydrogel, meaning it’s mainly composed of water; 2.5% of it is polyacrylamide. A filler called Bellafill is partly polymethyl-methacrylate. Silikon-1000 consists of medical-grade silicone which gets injected using a microdroplet technique.
Adding volume to lips using Aquamid is an established procedure. Some doctors do lip augmentation using Bellafill and Silikon-1000, but for both it’s considered an off-label use.
Calcium hydroxylapatite and poly-l-lactic acid are two other dermal filler substances. Products made with these materials are more durable than those made with hyaluronic acid, hence, the semi-permanent name. However, they aren’t suitable for lip injections. Radiesse is a filler containing calcium hydroxylapatite and practitioners feel it is too thick for use in lips. Also, it tends to move around, and lips can end up with an uneven look. Sculptra is made of poly-l-lactic acid. Doctors often use it to add volume to the entire face, but avoid injecting the lips. The reason is the nodules that can form when lips move while eating and talking.
WHAT TYPES OF HYALURONIC ACID FILLERS EXIST?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that retains a large amount of water, which is why it provides hydration to the skin. Making lips appear fuller is one of the most popular applications for hyaluronic acid fillers:
- Older patients often seek these fillers because, as time passes, lips lose volume. This is because these molecules decrease in number as we age.
- Younger patients often just want lips that look more plump.
Among hyaluronic acid fillers there are such well-known brands as Restylane, Juvederm, and Teosyal. All three of them offer products specifically made for lips.
Manufactured by Allergan, Juvederm is a line of hyaluronic acid fillers that can be used on different parts of the face and neck. One of their products is Volbella. Concentration of hyaluronic acid in Volbella is 15 mg/ml, and Allergan includes two syringes pre-filled with 1 ml each in every package. Doctors say it can give patients pillowy-looking lips, the kind so in vogue right now. The makers of this filler say that the results last up to a year.
Restylane, made by Galderma, has a filler designed for use in the lips. It’s called Restylane Kysse. Hyaluronic acid concentration is 20 mg/ml, and each box contains one syringe pre-filled with 1 ml of the filler. Practitioners recommend this to patients looking for subtle definition. The maker’s claim is that outcomes with Restylane products last around nine months.
Teoxane Laboratories produces Teosyal fillers. There’s one especially for lips called Teosyal Puresense Kiss. Kiss has a hyaluronic acid concentration of 15 mg/ml. Each of the two pre-filled syringes that come in every box has 1 ml of the product. This is another filler that’s good for creating a plump, pouty look. The filler’s manufacturer states that the effects last up to nine months on average.
HOW LONG CAN YOU REALLY EXPECT LIP FILLERS TO LAST?
As mentioned, besides hyaluronic acid-based fillers, polyacrylamide, or Aquamid, is another choice for lip injections. Aquamid is considered permanent and is very long-lasting. Some patients still describe their lips as plump four years after receiving it. Products based on hyaluronic acid simply can’t produce results that are this durable. Hyaluronic acid degrades and the body absorbs it. This doesn’t happen with polyacrylamide.
As a whole, hyaluronic acid-filler manufacturers say that their fillers’ outcomes will still be visible nine months to a year later, or even more. The reality is that different people may have the same filler injected on the same day and see the amount of time the effects last vary, sometimes by many months. The factors that contribute to this inconsistency are many. They include:
A patient’s unique traits influence the duration of their lip augmentation. This is particularly true of metabolism. Hyaluronic acid will eventually break down in the body, but it will do so much quicker in someone with a fast metabolism. Age, skin quality, and original lip size and shape are other individual characteristics that impact durability. Lifestyle can also have an effect. Younger, very physically active people often metabolize everything faster, including hyaluronic acid.
Lip fillers characteristics
Fillers used for lip augmentation may all be based on hyaluronic acid, but every laboratory will have its own proprietary formula for making them. Different factors in those formulas also affect how long the fillers last.
Two of these are the viscosity, or thickness, of the filler gel and the hyaluronic acid particle size. As a rule, the thicker the filler and the larger the particle, the more durable the results.
Hyaluronic acid concentration is also important. Products with higher concentrations tend to last longer.
One of the most important distinctions is whether the hyaluronic acid is crosslinked or non-crosslinked. Crosslinking is a way of modifying hyaluronic acid. Highly crosslinked fillers are more durable but have a lower capacity to swell, that is to attract water. So, it’s important for the maker of a filler to get that trade-off just right. That way, a filler can both last a long time and plump skin effectively.
Quality of after-treatment care
Practitioners recommend that you not touch or apply pressure to the area after receiving an injectable lip filler. Avoid excessively hot environments like saunas and jacuzzis. Don’t use exfoliating cleansers on your lips or sleep on your stomach. Pursing your lips isn’t recommended either. Failure to follow these and other suggestions from your doctor can have an impact on the filler’s duration.
Circumstances affecting lip fillers’ durability
Even things such as the climate can influence the longevity of a filler. UV rays can speed up the degradation of hyaluronic acid. Telling a patient to avoid sun exposure can be easier said than done if they live someplace like Phoenix or Miami.
However, the biggest reason that lip fillers deteriorate quickly is lip movement. The area around the mouth is a highly mobile one. Besides speaking, you move your lips when you eat, when you create facial expressions, when you use a straw, when you apply make-up, and when you kiss. Unfortunately, short of becoming a mute hermit after your procedure, there’s nothing you can do about this.
As a result, some patients report having their lip filler last only six months, rather than the nine or 12 the filler’s manufacturer claims. Ultimately, a filler’s longevity varies by individual and is hard to predict. So, if you’re a potential Cinderella, your plump new lips might last only until 9:45 p.m. or they may make it all the way to 2 a.m. before reverting back until their original “pumpkin” shape.
LIP FILLERS MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE CAN PAY OFF
Hyaluronic acid-based fillers were always designed to need regular touch-ups. So, regardless of whether the initial result lasts four months or fourteen, you’ll still need to see your doctor again for a top-up. Fortunately, there is a bright side.
Studies have shown that successive hyaluronic acid injections can stimulate collagen production. This leads to a natural buildup of both collagen and hyaluronic acid. This gives a lip augmentation treatment a sort of cumulative effect. With each injection, the results start to last a little longer. In this way, some patients report eventually needing to freshen up their lips with more filler only once every year or even year and a half.
Some of the elements that can make lip fillers more durable are certainly out of your control. You can’t change your metabolism or the properties of a particular product’s formula. You can manage others, though. Stick religiously to your doctor’s post-procedure recommendations. Apply ice as indicated, and abstain from activities like yoga that can increase blood flow to your face. And remember that with each subsequent treatment, your results will start lasting longer and longer.