How to make lip filler last longer

By Dr. Aaron Stanes

Treatment guide

Discover the vital information you MUST know about lip augmentation & fillers with our detailed guide written by expert cosmetic doctors.


    How to make lip fillers last longer

    Lip fillers are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments world-wide. While there are plenty of cheap providers (who are usually unqualified or use fake fillers), a well-performed lip filler treatment using approved products is not cheap. Accordingly a common concern among people who get lip fillers is that their results don’t last.

    With new evidence showing that dermal fillers can last over a decade, why are there so many cases of people claiming their lip fillers worse off too quickly?

    Many uneducated clinicians are quick to claim ‘It’s your metabolism’, or ‘You exercise too much’ when questioned about lip filler longevity. But is this true?

    Pharmaceutical companies who manufacture fillers initially claimed results last up to 6-12 months, although revised guidance now gives a wider timeframe: 6-24 months. Clinically, we routinely see some patient’s lip fillers lasting over 3-4 years. So, is your lip filler really wearing off too quickly, or is something else going on?

    What affects the longevity of lip filler?


    The longevity of lip filler depends on a property know as cross-linking. Fillers are made of hyaluronic acid molecules, and cross-linking is a process the entangles the particles to stabilise them. If fillers weren’t cross-linked, your body would metabolise them in a matter of days. The more cross-linked a lip filler, the harder it is for your body to break it down.


    The more lip filler injected, the longer it takes your body to break it down, and therefore the longer it will last.

    Number of treatments

    There is good observational evidence showing that re-treating an area of the face with fillers a second time significantly stabilises your result (as long as your previous fillers have not fully worn off.


    This does not refer to metabolism in a typical sense (how efficiently you burn calories). Rather it describes your body’s intrinsic rate of filler breakdown. This is not something that can be changed, but is rarely a significant contributor to lip fillers not lasting.

    Why your lip fillers aren’t lasting

    There are 4 evidence-based reasons why your lip fillers aren’t lasting.

    1. You didn’t have enough filler injected
    2. You only had one treatment
    3. The filler’s cross-linking was too low
    4. You’re body broke it down faster than anticipated (very rare)

    How to get your lip fillers to last longer

    Improving lip filler longevity is simple, but there are some critical intricacies and considerations.

    1. Have more filler injected: this sounds simple, but remember that with higher volumes comes a higher risk of migration and ‘duck lips’.
    2. Have a second session to stabilise your result.
    3. Try a filler with higher cross-linking: be careful with this, as more cross-linked fillers have a higher the risk of lumps. Injecting more cross-linked fillers into the lips requires substantial experience to perform well.

    Pitfalls to avoid when getting lip fillers

    Sneaky sales tactics

    The most rampant sales tactic in the cosmetic industry involves lip fillers. Many unethical clinics offer a cheaper, entry-level lip filler, sold as ‘thin filler’. Such lip fillers typically have a low amount of cross-linking, and either make almost no visible difference, or wear off within weeks. At your follow-up they then upsell you to the more expensive ‘thick filler’, and then convince you that you’ll need 2 sessions to build your result. This means the cheaper clinic who only cares about profits has now charged you more money and wasted your time with an unnecessary appointment to yield a subpar result. They’ve also exposed you to more risks, because you’ve had an extra treatment.

    Understand the limits of lip fillers

    If you have naturally thin lips, don’t expect a Kylie Jenner pout, ever, no matter what result you see on social media or what the clinic promises. Most before and after photos show the immediate result from lip filler, but this is never how they look once healed. Chasing such results will cause migration. Never confuse the resolution of swelling with lip fillers wearing off.

    Lip filler longevity myths

    1. Exercise causes lip fillers to break down faster: False. There is no evidence to support this claim.

    2. Sun exposure causes lip fillers to wear off quicker. There is evidence that UV rays cause hyaluronic acid to breakdown, but there is no evidence showing that sun exposure causes fillers to break down.

    3. Nutrition affects the longevity of lip fillers: This is not proven, and there is no link between poor health and filler metabolism.

    The key take-home message when looking for long-lasting lip fillers

    Don’t ever cheap out on lip fillers, they never need doing every 6 months. Invest in choosing an experienced cosmetic clinic led by a doctor for your lip fillers to ensure your expectations are realistic, and that you get the right lip filler for you. Avoid menu based lip filler treatments (‘what thickness would you like?’) at all costs. And finally, build your lips first, then maintain them infrequently.

    Lip augmentation & fillers

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