So, I’m no stranger to injectables -- Botox, Restylane, Juvederm, I love ’em all (actually I don’t like Restylane as much, but we’ll get to that later). I’ve got Botox in my forehead (that could use a little touch up actually), and Juvederm in my lips and nasolabial lines. Why do I do this? Because I don’t like letting nature tell me how to look. I mean who does nature think it is? Just because it’s responsible for all life on Earth it thinks it’s so big. Well the smug bastard's not going to tell me what to do.
Anyway, that’s enough about my feelings about nature (but just so we’re clear, I don’t like it). I'm here to tell you all about getting lip injections!
So, let’s begin at the beginning with deciding whether you want to get fillers in the first place. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
1. Can you afford it? Lip injections will run you about 500 bucks per syringe of goo, and last about six months. Consider all the other things you could spend that money on, like a chair, or several bathtubs full of candy, or a tuba (I checked to make sure you can get a tuba for that price and you can, so… there you go). Make sure you want the lip injections more than the tuba.
2. Why do you want lip injections? Are you doing this because you feel ugly? Because then it’s probably not coming from the healthiest place and lip injections probably won’t solve the problem in any permanent way. I don’t want to tell you you should never get lip injections, but give it some thought and work on loving your body a bit before you do. If you just think “I’d look cool with fuller lips” then you’re probably going to be happier long term with the result.
3. Are you cool with the risks involved? Lip injections are relatively low risk in the grand scheme of things, less dangerous than getting in a car for example. But if the doc hits a blood vessel there may be tissue loss. This as well as things like irregularities of shape or symmetry can largely be avoided by seeing a good doctor, but there’s still the risk of infection, allergic reaction, and so on. So be aware, and consider your willingness to take said risks.
So once you’ve actually decided you want lip injections the next step is to close your eyes, turn around counterclockwise 11 times with your arms stretched out and then recite the Yankee magazine recipe for blueberry pie 3 times and -- no, wait, that’s wrong, the next thing you need to do is find a doctor. It’s very important that you go to a board certified plastic surgeon, because although any doctor can legally provide cosmetic services, most of them aren’t properly trained and results can end up looking…unexpected. (No seriously, we’re not all going for pretty but we’re going for something, so unexpected is usually bad.) So go to someone certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons or the equivalent organization in your country.
Most board certified plastic surgeons will list their board certified status on their website, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to check the ABPS website as well to be sure. I mean it’s your mouth we’re talking about here, you eat with that, so you want to be careful.
Then you should look at photo galleries from the board certified surgeons in your area, see whose results you like and be sure to check their reviews. Yelp, health grades, and the various plastic surgery forums are good places to check for those, but not every doc has reviews.
Is this the process I went through? No, because I have almost no self preservation instinct and am absurdly impulsive. I picked a random nearby board certified plastic surgeon and booked an appointment.
Once you’ve booked your appointment, using either the smart sensible person method, or the Madeira method (and I do recommend the former) you’ll wait until the day of the appointment and then follow whatever the doctor’s orders are regarding prep for the appointment. They’re a doctor, so unless you’re also a doctor, they probably know best. If they tell you to bring a paper bag filled with live bees to the appointment, you bring the bees. Though it’s definitely reasonable in the case of a request like that to ask why they want you to bring a bag filled with bees. Note: They probably won’t ask you to bring bees. It’s a proven fact that most doctors prefer working in bee-free environments. But they might ask you not to wear makeup, or to have someone with you.
So, on to exactly what happens at the appointment.
At my doc they use a tube that blows super cold air at your mouth and a numbing gel to help minimize pain, and Juvederm and Restylane are both mixed with novacaine so that they numb as they beautify, which if you aren’t as deeply masochistic as I am is probably a good thing.
All in all, I find the pain minimal, and would consider the process more uncomfortable and weird-feeling than anything else. The worst bit is the needle entering the lip for each little injection. Other than that, pain wise it’s cake. It still feels strange to have a foreign substance injected into your lips. Also you’ll bleed A LOT. So those who gag at the taste of blood may have some issues there.
Recovery time with both Juvederm and Restylane is minimal. You can go to work the same day, and the only noticeable signs of what you’ve done will be your plumper lips, and possibly some bruising (though the novacaine will make you sound weird for a little while, so keep that in mind). I’ve had more bruising with Juvederm than with Restylane, but I’ve also found that Juvederm looks a lot better, giving a more defined shape, and less bumpiness. Restylane was very bumpy for me, and gave my mouth a blobby look, which could be cool if you’re into blobby, everybody’s different. But I prefer Juvederm.
You’ll want to be a little gentle on your lips for awhile after because until the fillers settle, excessive pressure will make them absorb back into the body. (Both Juvederm and Restylane are made of hyaluronic acid which is a naturally occurring substance in the body.) So no giving vigorous head to anyone for at least a few days (but you can still get head, so really it’s all fine).
And that’s what I know about getting lip injections.
Collagen kisses, ducklings.