What Happens to Lips Once Filler Breaks Down?

Two dermatologists on the aftermath of temporary plumping.

Lip Filler Injection
(Image credit: Pintrest)

Question: Do lips go back to their original size and shape once the filler is gone or is there a risk of even greater volume loss? 

Answer: So you've been getting lip injections for years and are ready for a more natural look. Or maybe you just want to get them once, along with extensions and a personal trainer, for your wedding. Perhaps you're headed to a war-torn region for a year of volunteer work (how admirable!) and won't have access to your dermatologist. Whatever the case may be, it's worth considering what will happen to your pout once the plumpness wears off. 

"If the filler is not permanent, such as Restylane Silk or Juvederm, the lips will return to their original shape," says Dr. Howard Sobel (opens in new tab), founder of DDF Skincare. "If the filler is permanent, such as Silicon 1000, they'll stay the same." Dr. Dennis Gross (opens in new tab), New York City dermatologist, agrees, and explains that because hyaluronic acid is naturally-occurring in our bodies, hyaluronic acid-based fillers are easily metabolized by our system: "It's not something that happens overnight. On average, fillers are supposed to last six to nine months, but as the lips are more mobile on a daily basis, it could sometimes be a little less. Over the months after the filler is injected, lips will slowly decrease in fullness before taking on their original shape and they won't be 'dis-formed' at all." But—there's always a but—that's assuming the filler has been injected correctly. "Injecting both the body of the lip and the vermillion is key to customization and the most natural-looking results. It's also crucial for the doctor to massage and mold the filler to prevent misshapen lips," says Gross, so make sure you do your research and be specific about the exact result you're after. 

Alexandra Tunell
Alexandra Tunell

Alexandra Tunell is the Senior Digital Beauty Editor at Harper's BAZAAR, where she writes beauty features and covers industry news, health, fitness and wellness trends. She began her career in the Lucky beauty closet, then went on to work at Allure. When she's not testing the latest skin care treatments, the Los Angeles native is searching the city for the best Mexican food, binge-watching Bravo and escaping to the beach as often as possible.