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Lip Filler Swelling Stages? Here’s What to Expect

Lip Filler Swelling Stages? Here’s What to Expect

Lip filler is one of the most popular types of cosmetic procedures.

The ease of the procedure and the impressive possible results — especially when performed by a trained, licensed skin care provider — attract thousands of people every year.

If you’re considering getting lip filler of your own or doing research to learn more about how the procedure works, you’ve come to the right place.

The advanced practice providers at Skin Pharm would love to work with you to help create the lips you’ve always dreamed of.

We have information about what to expect before, during and after your appointment and what lip filler swelling stages you’ll likely experience. That way, you can feel confident getting lip filler at Skin Pharm.

How does lip filler work?

Lip filler is an injectable cosmetic treatment, a procedure that works similarly to Botox or Dysport. However, instead of injecting a neuromodulating agent that paralyzes the underlying muscle, lip filler (and other types of dermal fillers) are injected to plump or fill in areas of concern. 

Common lip fillers include Juvederm and Restylane, which are all treatments that we offer here at Skin Pharm. (While we also offer Sculptra, it is not recommended for use in the lips.)

Most dermal fillers are made out of one of three different active ingredients — hyaluronic acid (HA), poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) or calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA). 

For context, Juvederm and Restylane are both hyaluronic acid-based fillers, while Sculptra is a poly-l-lactic acid injectable that stimulates collagen.

When injected into the lips, filler (which is often a gel-like substance) works to support and change the shape of the underlying tissue, thus altering the aesthetic appearance of the lips. Researchers consider lip fillers to be both safe and effective, and the majority of those surveyed were satisfied with how their results looked afterward.

Does it hurt to get lip filler?

Any procedure involving needles will have some amount of discomfort, which is often related to the anxiety you experience. While most people don’t find the procedure intolerable, that also depends on your tolerance. 

We’ll apply a topical numbing cream before your injections, and both Juvederm and Restylane also contain lidocaine, an injectable medication used to reduce discomfort. 

What are the lip filler swelling stages?

Although everyone progresses and heals at different paces, depending on their body, immune system and medical history, people generally move through a few specific lip filler swelling stages. The main difference for post-lip filler procedures clients is how long they stay in each of those phases.


After receiving lip filler, the most frequent complaints are redness and swelling at the injection sites. 

The swelling is a common reaction to the “trauma” created by the punctures of the needles into the skin and the body reacting to having “foreign” material injected, even though those substances are primarily natural. 

For most, redness and swelling don’t last more than just a few hours after leaving the office. If it has not mostly resolved within three to five days of your injections, please contact your medical provider. 

Be aware that, due to the swelling, the lips may have an asymmetrical appearance. This asymmetry is temporary, but it may persist for up to a few weeks as the lips slowly settle into their new shape. Although it may be tempting, avoid massaging the lips to lower the filler’s risk into unintended areas. 

To help minimize any side effects, avoid makeup and strenuous exercise the day of your procedure (and for 24 hours afterward). You will also want to avoid extensive sun exposure or heat for 72 hours.


The day after your injections, you will most likely wake up with the most extreme swelling that you will experience with them. The upper lip area may seem to be projecting over the lower lip and appear to be significantly bigger. 

This swelling is a normal part of lip filler swelling stages and the healing process and should begin to subside during the day. If your care provider instructed you to, you could also use cool compresses on the lips for 15 minutes at a time, once an hour. 

In addition, sleeping on your back with your head slightly elevated can help reduce the swelling you experience when you wake up. At the very least, do everything you can to avoid rolling onto your stomach and sleeping on your face. 

Not only will this be uncomfortable and likely wake you up, but you may also damage your filler and change the way that it sets.

If you are experiencing any tenderness or sensitivity (which is expected at this stage), Tylenol is often the most effective over-the-counter medication to help manage it.


As you continue to progress through the lip filler swelling stages, day two is the stage where you will begin to notice the full effects of your treatment. Swelling will continue to subside and should be entirely gone after the first 48 hours. 

Any discomfort or tenderness related to the injections should have subsided as well.


The third day after your lip filler appointment is when you’ll start to get an idea of what your lips will look like. You should start to feel more comfortable as the swelling should be gone, and it should feel much more normal and comfortable eating and talking. 

However, keep in mind that a learning curve is involved with essentially having “new” lips, so you may still notice a slight lisp or not feel the most graceful when eating or drinking.


From week two on, you will notice a return to normalcy of your lips. While you may still see some mild, intermittent swelling, you shouldn’t have to pay much attention to your lips at all – which is a good thing! 

By this point, you have hopefully also gotten used to the way they look and any changes with eating, drinking, or talking that you may have needed to make.

If you’ve made it two weeks and you feel comfortable, now is the time that it is safe for you to schedule any necessary dental procedures. You can also start having additional skin care treatments, like microdermabrasion, BBL photofacials and massages. 


Once you’ve hit a month with your new lip filler, the lips you see when you look in the mirror are most likely your final results. If you are not entirely pleased with your results or feel like you’d like more filler in certain areas, now is the time to contact us and schedule a consultation. 

We keep all syringes of your dermal filler for eight weeks following your injections so that we have it available in the event you need any touch-ups. 

Swelling outside of the normal lip filler swelling stages timeline

Suppose you’re more than a month into the healing process and still noticing swelling. In that case, this is something that you should always take seriously.

In some cases, you might be going through something known as a late-onset inflammatory response. This reaction is more common in people who have undergone hyaluronic acid-based lip filler injections, like Juvederm and Restylane, but dermatologists still consider them to be “rare” complications. 

Late-onset inflammatory response is self-limiting, meaning it usually resolves without treatment and can happen between 4 and 14 months after injection. 

How long does lip filler last?

The type and amount of lip filler you receive will often dictate exactly how long your results last, as will your personal metabolism, but most people find their lip filler sticks around for 6-12 months after injection. 

When compared to other injectable cosmetic treatments, that’s two to four times as long!

If you elect not to continue getting lip filler, and your lip filler “runs out,” your lips are likely to go back to the way they were before treatment. This change will happen gradually as your body processes the filler, and you can always elect to have additional filler placed later.  

To wrap things up...

Are you ready to get lip filler and work with us to reveal the lip size and shape you’ve always wanted? At Skin Pharm, We’re ready to schedule a consultation with you today and help you reach those goals. 

Now that you know the typical lip filler swelling stages, you can go into your appointment with a realistic view of what to expect, as well as an awareness of how to minimize side effects after your injections. We’re excited to meet you!

Peer review

This article was medically reviewed by Chelsie Rogers, PA-C, a board-certified physician assistant and clinical lead with 6 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology.


ABCS | Injectable Dermal Fillers Guide

PubMed (nih.gov) | Effectiveness and safety of hyaluronic acid fillers used to enhance overall lip fullness: A systematic review of clinical studies

PubMed (nih.gov) | Late-Onset Inflammatory Response to Hyaluronic Acid Dermal Fillers


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