Blame it on Kylie Jenner, or our love for plump, pillowy, matte lips, but ‘lip fillers’ has been one of Google’s top beauty search terms for quite some time now. Not only that, but it’s also become a bit of a cultural phenomenon and a defining trend of the 2010s. The distinctive look was arguably propelled into the spotlight by Kylie Jenner, who despite originally denying allegations of cosmetic treatments, has since admitted to receiving fillers in her lips.
But then, in 2018, the reality TV star and beauty mogul had her filler ‘dissolved’, causing many advocates to rethink their injectables regime. While lip fillers are still one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments available, there’s certainly been shift in the results people are looking for.
“The perfect lip will have a 1:1 ratio between the outer corners of the top and bottom lip. The middle of the lip and the outer corner should be 2:1,” advises Dr Tijion Esho, expert cosmetic doctor. “The aim is to achieve that perfect ratio, so only injecting the filler to achieve it is the best approach.”
For those who regret having lip fillers, or maybe just fancy a more natural look, it’s possible to get fillers dissolved. But how hard is it to reverse lip fillers? What does ‘dissolving’ actually mean? And can it really be done ‘naturally’ without the help of a clinician?
What is lip filler made out of?
To understand how it’s dissolved, you need to know what lip filler is in the first place.
The non-surgical procedure basically involves tiny injections of hyaluronic acid, strategically placed for a plumping and volumising effect. There are three types of hyaluronic acid that are commonly used for lip augmentations: Juvederm, Belotero and Restylane.
All three of these are naturally broken down by the body over time (anywhere between 6-24 months), which is why follow-up appointments are needed to maintain the ‘fillers’.
How do you dissolve lip fillers?
Six to 24 months is a long time to wait if you decide you no longer want your lip fillers. So while the body naturally breaks them down over time, there is a way to speed up the process: Injections of hyaluronidase.
Hyaluronidase is what the body produces naturally to break down fillers, so by injecting more, it allows the lips to regain natural shape quicker, usually going down within 3-4 days.
How much does it cost to have your lip fillers dissolved?
This will depend on the clinic you visit, however, one hyaluronidase treatment should cost around £150.
Can I dissolve my lips fillers at home?
The short answer is no. Lip fillers are an injectable treatment, which has been administered in a clinical setting. Any tricks or techniques to remove them at home could result in infection, injury and even more trips to the doctors.
What are the risks of dissolving lip fillers?
However, this procedure isn’t without risk; “There’s a small chance of allergic reaction and it could mean the lips go even thinner than anticipated”, says Dr Nick Milojevic of leading Harley Street Medical Clinic, Milo Clinic. “This is due to the breaking down of the hyaluronic acid within the lips, which could lead to the patient being unhappy with the results.”
It’s for these reasons that Dr Nick usually recommends for his patients to wait for their lip fillers to dissolve naturally, without hyaluronidase injections.
Mr Olivier Branford, Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Cadogan Clinic says, “Hyaluronidase is not actually licensed as a lip filler dissolving application, however, its use is permitted provided that it is used in the best interest of the patient and with full, informed consent.”
“It is common for patients who have had numerous lip filler treatments over the years to have hyaluronidase to strip the lips back before starting with lip fillers again, which may be what Kylie Jenner is doing. This will achieve a fresher, smoother appearance; a blank canvas before starting again.”
Does getting your lip filler dissolved hurt?
Unfortunately, having your lip filler dissolved isn’t exactly pain-free.
Mr Olivier Branford says, “the lips are an extremely sensitive part of the body due to the high number of nerve endings present, so it can be a painful and eye-watering experience.”
“The lip filler dissolving procedure begins with the application of numbing cream to dull the burning sensation (often likened to bee stings) that is often experienced. Following the numbing cream, hyaluronidase is then injected into the lips with a series of tiny injections to dissolve the lip fillers. Whilst hyaluronidase begins to work immediately, the full effects are seen at two weeks after the procedure, once the swelling fully resolves. The procedure itself is relatively quick, taking approximately 10 minutes to perform.”
What are the side effects of having lip fillers dissolved?
As for side effects, Mr Olivier says it’s not uncommon for patients to experience swelling and there may be bruising and discolouration in a minority of patients post-treatment. However, this should all subside within a few days.