Injectables

How Long Does Lip Filler Swelling Last

August 15, 2022

On the quest for more voluminous, full lips, many people turn to filler. Fillers are hyaluronic acid compounds that are injected beneath the skin to restore volume. One of the most common side effects of this treatment is swelling. If you’re wanting to get lip fillers and doing some due diligence on the procedure, you may have found yourself asking ‘how long does lip filler swelling last?’.

Our providers are here to cover any questions you may have which is why we've compiled some of the top questions on lip filler swelling in one article. You’ll get the expert advice you need to help you prevent or minimize lip filler swelling to enjoy your results sooner.

Lip Filler Swelling: What it is and Why it Happens

Lip filler swelling is normal and temporary. After any minimally invasive treatment, your body responds by swelling. It’s a perfectly natural response and usually only lasts a few days after treatment. 

Why Do Lip Filler Treatments Cause Swelling?

Lip filler is considered a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment. That means that it’s quick, easy, and painless. But it also involves injecting a thin needle into the lips to administer the hyaluronic acid compound that is filler.

Here are three reasons why swelling happens after lip filler.

1. Hyaluronic acid binding to water

Hyaluronic acid is naturally occuring sugar that binds a thousand times its volume in water. When hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin, it binds with the skin’s natural water supply. This creates temporary swelling and a ‘puffed up’ effect, lasting until the body establishes its natural fluid balance.

2. Inflammatory response to micro-trauma 

When a needle is injected into the skin, the body triggers a normal inflammatory response. The body is programmed to protect itself against foreign bodies. Even though hyaluronic acid is naturally occuring, the body still responds to the minor trauma caused by the needle puncturing the skin. This inflammatory response causes swelling and bruising.

3. The role of pain relief

One of the reasons lip filler is so popular is that it is a relatively painless procedure. That’s because local anesthetic is administered to numb the area prior to treatment. Numbing cream is put on the lip area, which usually contains lidocaine, which has a vasodilatory effect. The benefit is that it prevents pain, the downside is that it can cause swelling

How Long Does Lip Filler Swelling Last?

Swelling is the most apparent 24 hours to 72 hours after treatment, and will then gradually reduce. The intensity of swelling varies person to person, and so does the duration. But a good benchmark is to expect swelling to go down two days after treatment and to completely disappear within a week. Let’s dive deeper into this.

Swelling is a temporary response. Much like when you get a paper cut, you trigger an inflammatory response - blood cells clump together to form a clot to stop the bleeding, and the site becomes red, swollen, and tender. Your body’s response to a paper cut is fleeting, and it’s the same for lip filler. But much like a paper cut, some people’s response is more severe, whereas other people barely notice it.

What Factors Increase Lip Filler Swelling?

So how long does lip filler swelling last? The answer is, it depends! There are many factors that influence how long lip filler swelling lasts. For example:

1. High temperatures

When your body temperature or the outside temperature is elevated, increased blood flows to the injection site and will worsen swelling.

2. Physical activity

Physical activity increases your heart rate, and as a result, increases blood flow and body temperature. We always advise to avoid physical activity for at least 24 hours after lip fillers.

3. Pace and place

Some cosmetic injectors inject multiple sites of the lips. The more injection sites, the higher the likelihood for swelling. Plus, if your injector is rushing through your treatment and injecting quickly without allowing the body to regulate the inflammatory response, you’re going to experience more swelling. 

Sisu Clinic providers take their time in creating the best possible outcome for each patient. We never overlap appointments, overbook or overextend our staff. Each patient that has a treatment at our clinic will experience thoughtfulness and precision unlike any other. Bringing you amazing results, every time.

4. Salty and spicy

Certain foods can irritate the lips and cause swelling. The most common culprits are spicy and salty foods and spices. Avoiding these can help to minimize swelling after lip filler.

5. Genetics

The truth is that some people are more predisposed to swelling and bruising after a filler treatment. This depends on your body’s natural response to minor trauma.

While you can’t alter your genetics, you do have control over the other factors that influence swelling. Avoiding these can reduce swelling after lip filler.

How to Reduce Lip Filler Swelling

If you are planning to get lip fillers, you’re probably doing your research on some of the best pre and post-care tips and tricks. We spoke to Dr.Oisin Browne at one of our clinics who gave us some helpful advice.

1. Avoid elevating your body temperature 

Whether through exercise, sauna, tanning, or hot tub - avoid elevating your body temperature after fillers. It will make your swelling a lot worse and sweating will increase your risk of infection.

2. Do not touch the injection site

It may be tempting to touch your newly plump lips, but don’t! Manipulation of the treatment area will heighten the body’s inflammatory response and may delay recovery. Aside from touching your lips with your fingers, we also recommend avoiding:

  • Kissing
  • Drinking directly from a cup - use a straw instead!
  • Sleeping on your face
  • Resting your lips on your hands 
  • Facial massage
  • It’s essential to avoid these things for 48 hours after lip injections.

3. Use ice packs

Ice is one of the most effective ways to reduce swelling after lip filler. The cold constricts blood vessels and decreases blood circulation to the area. Be careful not to put an ice pack directly onto the skin to avoid a cold burn. Instead, wrap an ice pack in a hand towel and gently hold it to the surface of your lips.

Use an ice pack or cold compress for five to 10 minutes every two hours for the first 24 hours after lip injections. If swelling is still evident you can continue to use ice one to two times a day for a few extra days until it has disappeared.

4. Adjust your sleeping position

Sleeping on your stomach is a big no-no after filler! This can move the filler in your lips as you place pressure on the injection site. The best way to sleep after filler is on your back with your head elevated with two pillows. Elevating your head reduces blood flow and promotes fluid drainage to minimize swelling.

You only have to do this for two to three nights after the lip filler treatment.

5. Drink lots of water

We mentioned earlier that hyaluronic acid fillers work by binding to the water stored in our tissues. When you stay adequately hydrated before and after lip injections, it ensures the filler binds optimally, visibly smoothing the surface of the lips. Plus, drinking plenty of water  reduces swelling. When you aren’t hydrated enough, your body holds onto the fluid it has, which contributes to swelling.

Aim to drink around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. This will enhance the appearance and longevity of the fillers, while helping to minimize swelling.

6. Holistic methods

Arnica is a herb that is used to naturally reduce swelling. When used topically or orally, the active chemicals in arnica fight inflammation and support the body’s own healing system. You can purchase arnica cream, gel, or pills from your local pharmacy without a prescription.

Follow the instructions on the arnica package but typically it will involve taking a tablet every six hours after lip fillers. For arnica ointments, apply the cream 30 minutes after the treatment and every few hours for the next couple of days following treatment.

What is Considered Normal for Lip Filler Swelling? 

What is considered normal for swelling after lip filler? It’s important to expect some swelling after lip injections. Here are some examples of normal lip filler swelling.

While you should expect some swelling, if it has not subsided in three or four days after treatment, reach out to your provider who will quickly get you into an appointment to assess and resolve any issues you may be experiencing.

You should still have normal lip movement and should not experience any trouble swallowing, eating, talking, or breathing following the treatment. If any of these occur, it’s important to seek medical attention. It is extremely rare to have a reaction to lip fillers but it can happen.

How to Adjust to Lip Filler

Remember that when you get lip fillers for the first time, you will feel like they look a lot bigger than they actually do. While at first your new lips may feel quite noticeable, the results will seem perfectly subtle to everyone around you. Every Sisu injector is highly skilled and competent so will ensure you leave the clinic with natural-looking lips; even if they are a little swollen!

We recommend waiting for two weeks before making a judgment call on your lips. This will allow the lip filler swelling to naturally go down, and for you to get used to your new lips.

Final Takeaway

  • Lip filler swelling is most significant for the two to three days post-treatment.
  • Swelling after lip filler starts to diminish after three days post-treatment, but can last for up to a week in some individuals.
  • Practicing proper pre and post-care treatment like applying ice, using arnica treatments, and keeping the area clean and upright, will help to reduce inflammation and thus swelling.
  • Monitor your swelling, if something doesn’t feel right or it doesn’t go down when you think it should be, consult your provider. The providers at our clinics are here for you every step of the way and want to ensure your results leave you feeling your best.

You deserve the lips of your dreams, and you deserve experienced medical professionals that will give you the best possible results. Don’t wait any longer, to book a free lip filler consultation, click here. If you have questions, reach out to us - we’d love to chat.

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