This Is How Safe Lip Injections Really Are

January 24th 2016

Jennifer Nguyen

We’ve seen them everywhere — on television, magazines covers, and storefront displays. Fuller lips have been a desirable beauty standard for decades. However, with the growing popularity of lip-enhancing beauty products and a certain reality TV star, lately there seems to be a greater emphasis on having big, vixen lips.

In an explanation of her beauty routine, Kylie Jenner recently admitted to getting Juvéderm lip fillers in a candid interview with The New York Times. But despite how ubiquitous these injections have become with Hollywood starlets, how safe are they? One treatment costs an average of $808, according to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But what about the costs to your own health and well-being?

Putting synthetic substances into your face might seem rather dubious, but as long as you’re getting your puckers injected at the doctor’s office and not from an unlicensed practitioner, the injections should not be harmful. When injected correctly, the enhancement should not feel any different than natural, pre-augmented lips.

Like other medical procedures, cosmetic injections have to abide by numerous regulations to ensure their safe use, so those given at the dermatologists’ or plastic surgeons’ offices must be approved by the Food & Drug Administration.

What exactly are lip injections or fillers?

These injections, also known as soft-tissue or dermal fillers, can also be injected into the cheeks, nasolabial folds (which are “smile lines” from the side of the mouth towards the nose), or hands, to make features appear smoother or fuller. There are various types of injections made from different materials, but the most frequently administered ones are made with collagen and hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is known as a “sugar gel,” thus it is highly recommended for lips because the body can easily break it down and the acid won’t awkwardly settle within lips. Although you can opt for “permanent” fat injections via liposuction for other anatomical features, it is not suggested for lips.

Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York City-based plastic surgeon, told People Style Watch that fat is “very unpredictable” and can shift around the lips and form unwanted lumps, which is definitely not preferred if patients want their lips to be full and symmetrical. He explains:

“Also, you can lose up to 50 percent of the fat that’s injected, so you need to put in a lot of fat in order for you to get the result that you want."

Other permanent fillers, like Polymethylmethacrylate beads and silicone injections, although not inherently harmful, are more uncommon now and doctors prescribe them less frequently. Hyaluronic acid injections like the aforementioned Juvéderm, Perlane, and Restylane are now standard filler options.

Like most cosmetic injections, lip fillers are temporary and each treatment can last from three to 12 months. Since the fillers are reabsorbed into the body, plastic surgeons recommend to get routine injections every few months if you want to keep the fuller lips. Fortunately, you can go back to your natural lips after the filler wears out without any physical or internal effects.

Routine injections don't result in long-term damage, but patients should be mindful of the several side effects that may occur when obtaining soft-tissue fillers. It is important to know that not all augmentation experiences are alike and the procedures can affect bodies differently. Common side effects from lip fillers include rashes, itching, pain, bruising, and bleeding at the injection point, all of which can be rather uncomfortable.

Unless you’re putting yourself at risk with a sketchy botched job, FDA-approved injections are safe, even after long-term, continual use.

This cosmetic procedure isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

There was a reported 11 percent increase in the number of soft-tissue fillers administered in 2014 from the previous year, with hyaluronic acid fillers making up most of that percentage increase. Though it is worth noting that this percentage also includes non-labial augmentation, lip injections are still a significant part of this data. Experts recommend that anyone opting for this cosmetic procedure should consult a licensed doctor, as each person's body is different.

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