lip injections

How to Achieve Natural Looking Lips with Dermal Fillers

Lip fillers are one of our clinic’s most popular and requested treatments. Dermal fillers in the lip can be used to restore lost volume in a more mature lip, and also to enhance volume and proportions in a younger client’s lip.

However, the most common concern I hear from clients prior to lip injections is that their lips won’t look natural and that they will end up looking “ducky” or have “fish lips”. As a nurse injector, I know that these types of undesirable outcomes are usually the result of a few different factors:

  • Incorrect product selection
  • Too much product injected in a treatment or over several separate treatments
  • Incorrect product placement during injection
  • Poor injection technique

Incorrect Product Selection

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar. We make it naturally in our own bodies. You often hear about it being in face creams and that’s because it is a humectant. It’s purpose is to pull water to itself. When  filler is initially injected into the lip or anywhere in the face, it’s normal to be able to feel it if you were to palpate it (it shouldn’t LOOK lumpy or bumpy though).

Usually 2-4 weeks post injection the hyaluronic acid in your filler will pull water from your body and bind it to itself. This “softens” and “settles” the filler and is why we usually tell clients to wait a minimum of 2 weeks post-injection for optimal results.

Choosing The Right Filler Is Important

Hyaluronic acid fillers all have different concentrations of hyaluronic acid in them. What does that mean for product selection? Product selection is an extremely important step in achieving a desirable outcome.

If a product with two high of a hyaluronic acid concentration is injected into the lip, it will pull too much water to itself, and create an unattractive “white ridge” above the lip.

Never let an injector inject any other type of filler into your lips other than hyaluronic acid fillers. Hyaluronic acid fillers are reversible, and are the only type of dermal fillers that are indicated for lip injections.

Finally, choosing a product with enough elasticity, or G prime, is very important. Our mouths and lips move a ton, so we need to make sure the fillers we inject into them, move with them!

“At External Affairs, we carry products that have been specifically created to inject to the lip.”

Talk to your injector about these great lip fillers:

  • Restylane Kysse
  • Belotero Lips Shape
  • Belotero Lips Contour

Too Much Product

We have all seen them. Lips that are obviously filled beyond capacity. They look unnatural and disproportionate to the rest of the person’s face. How does this happen? In a single treatment, most clients will receive a maximum of only 1cc of filler in their lips at External Affairs. This is because injecting more than that (for most clients) can disregard the integrity of a client’s natural lip shape.

It is similar to shoving a sausage into a casing. The lip border can be lost and blown out, and the lips end up looking “sausage-y”.

However, if done gradually (i.e., multiple treatments over several months), clients and injectors can work together to achieve the desired outcome. On average, most clients will receive 1-3 cc’s of lip filler over the course of a year to reach their goals. The good news?! Once you have built your lips to your desired volume, most clients find that they can maintain that volume with approximately half of the amount of filler the next year.

“Lip fillers typically last 3-6 months after the first treatment and then typically 6-8 months for subsequent treatments.”

Your injector will work with you, and ask you what your personal goals for your lips are. From there, your injector will talk to you about BeautiPHIcation. PHI is a ratio – 1:1.618. It defines all things that the human eye finds beautiful or attractive. Throughout the face, there are several different PHI proportions that your injector will look for. Specifically in the lips, your top lip should be approximately “1” to your bottom lip’s “1.618”.

There are also other PHI proportions that your injector will assess on your face. Different faces can carry different volumes of lip better than others. Using PHI, your injector will ensure that your lips never look overdone and remain in balance with the rest of your face.

Incorrect Product Placement

This one is pretty self explanatory. If product is injected too deeply into the tissue, it will essentially disappear. Meaning, you won’t see any change in your lips. On the other hand, if lip filler is injected too superficially, you will definitely see it. But not in a good way: Do your research before choosing a clinic and injector. Feel free to ask the front desk representatives for credentialing when you are on the phone making your appointment.

This is your face! Cosmetic injections are fun, but they are still a medical procedure and should be treated as such.

Poor Injection Technique

This goes hand in hand with the previous point. Incorrect product placement is often due to poor injection technique.

“At External Affairs, 90% of our lip filler treatments are done with a cannula.”

A cannula is a long blunt instrument attached to the end of your syringe of filler. It looks like a needle, but it’s not.

It looks and sounds kind of scary, but it is actually a comfortable (we numb you beforehand with topical numbing and the filler has numbing integrated into it). It’s also a much safer injection technique than using needles. There are many benefits to using a cannula to inject filler.

It dramatically reduces the risk of trauma to the tissue including bruising and swelling. It also provides a smooth, natural looking result. Sometimes, when needles are used to inject the lip, the product can be placed in several different deposits that can end up looking “balled”.

Cannula use in the lip only requires two pokes! That’s right, two small pokes are made in the corner of the mouth on either side, and from there, your injector can reach all areas of your lips with the cannula.

lip injections technique

Choose Your Lip Injector Carefully

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into lip injections! That is why it’s so important that you research the clinic and injector you see. Your face is literally in their hands.

External Affairs has been open for 25 years. Our medical team’s credentialing is extensive including BeautiPHIcation training from Dr. Swift and MD Code training from Dr. De Maio. We would love to see you at our clinic!

Book a consultation today, and come meet us! Fill in the form below to book your consultation.

RN Hayley

RN Hayley

Related Articles

Everything You Need To Know About Our Henna Brows Treatment

How great would it be to wake up every morning and already have your eyebrows good to go? With our henna brows treatment, you can temporarily tint your eyebrows in a painless and all-natural way, so they’re shaped every morning, with no need for pencils or powders. Here is everything you need to know about our henna brows treatment: What…

Why do a Photofacial NOW?

If you suffer from red blotchy skin (rosacea), freckles, age spots, sun damage, uneven skin tone due to acne scars, or you feel that your skin is no longer radiant, don’t lose hope. Our photofacial treatment is a gentle skin rejuvenation solution to get an even, glowing complexion in just a 30-minute treatment! Here are 5 reasons why you should…

How Much Does Botox Really Cost? We Reveal The Truth

“How much does Botox cost?” This is probably the number one question that our Customer Service Reps get at our front desk. The answer is, “ it depends!” When clients call the clinic and ask this question we really can only give ranges. Experienced patients are familiar with a cost per unit pricing structure. Most clinics, including External Affairs, charges…


We’d love to hear from you!