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Everything you need to know about lip fillers

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Mar 21, 2024 9:02 pm Updated Mar 21, 2024 9:24 pm

Bombarded by beauty ideals on social media and in the media, cosmetic procedures are becoming more and more common. Celebrities and influencers are constantly in the spotlight, and many are choosing to enhance their features or follow current beauty trends through cosmetic procedures. One of these is lip fillers.

While lip fillers can sound scary at first, especially if you're considering them for the first time, they can be safe if you make sure it's done by a professional and reputable clinic.

Take it from fashion icon and socialite Heart Evangelista, who recently looked back on her "traumatizing" experience with lip fillers.

In a clip reposted on TikTok from her Instagram Live session, the local star said that she didn't consult her dermatologist Dr. Aivee Teo before doing the procedure. Instead, Evangelista had it done by a "very, very close" friend whom she trusted.

"When I got the lip filler, I went against Dra. Aivee. I didn't do it with her. I did it with somebody that was very, very close to me, but he didn't have the license to do my lips. But I trusted him. Kumbaga, budol na budol ako, so ginawa ko 'yung lip filler," she shared.

The actress said that the lip filler procedure made her lips look uneven. Heart also said that she felt pain and swelling on her lips after the experience. "It was so bad. So, anyway, I had a doctor really, like, have to take it out and fix it because it was really, really bad."

"You know, when you trust, sometimes, tanga, naniwala," she said. "I really thought that mahal ako ng taong yun, pero na-malpractice ako."

To avoid getting into a similar situation to Evangelista, here's what you need to know about lip filler procedures.

Speaking to PhilSTAR L!fe, John Paul Pareja, a cosmetic, aesthetic, and laser surgeon and the medical director of The SB Clinic, said "Lips are a very crucial area that carries serious complications when done incorrectly." Hence, "one must seek a professional specializing in these types of treatments."

This also rings true for Maika Slatensek, a cosmetic surgeon at Slate Medical Clinic.

"Choose your professional doctors as this cannot be done by a non-medical doctor. The type of a filler brand is also important if it is FDA-approved and of course, someone who is trained and does lip fillers as an expert," she told L!fe, adding some red flags that a customer should observe before undergoing a lip filler procedure.

She said that the doctor should ask you about your allergies, ongoing treatments, or your history of filler injections.

"You really have to check if the person injecting it is a licensed doctor and trained," she said.

Likewise, an immediate problem or swelling and pain upon injections of the filler can also be considered a red flag, as per Slatensek. "There might be telltale signs like blanching, which means there might be a vein or an artery that was obstructed, and yeah the lips were very sensitive and mostly uneven."

Pareja similarly said, "If there are some signs of infection like excessive pain, plus, swelling for more than seven days," something must be wrong. 

"Fillers should be dissolvable once you want it; permanent fillers are never suggested and are not safe," he added. 

Moreover, Slatensek noted that "very cheap fillers" can also be a sign that one should not trust the procedure as it can be either fake or not FDA-approved.

"Baka mga silicone oil or collagen yan or fake fillers [that] can 'cause allergies," she warned.

What to expect during the procedure?

According to Pareja, an individual can feel a little sting from the injections, but usually, the pain will go away in seconds since there is anesthesia.

"Topical anesthesia or numbing cream will be applied a few minutes prior to the procedure, and patients may apply ice packs after the procedure to avoid excessive swelling and bruising," he explained.

Additionally, Pareja noted some possible yet manageable risks one could expect after the procedure.

"Common complications are bruising and swelling, which may occur within 3-5 days. The most dreaded complication is skin necrosis, which is due to occlusion of blood vessels," he said.

Slatensek said that the side effects can be swelling and bruising, which can be managed by a cold compress of anti-histamines."

What can fillers do to your lips?

In essence, lip fillers can give a plumper look to enhance the shape of the lips and rejuvenate the lips by restoring their moisture, said Pareja. Meanwhile, Slatensek said, the lip filler procedure could also "hydrate your lips, especially if [they] are dry or chapped" due to the loss of collagen and elasticity as we age.

"Others who do lip fillers want to bring back that elasticity of the lips and decrease the lip lines as well," the latter added.

Why do people get lip fillers?

Yuki Ito, a local singer-songwriter and an entrepreneur, said she started doing lip fillers when she was 26 years old. Due to her lip insecurities, particularly bearing "thin" and "dull" lips, as well as her love of the 2007 American television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Yuki was prompted to undergo a lip filler procedure.

"After doing lip fillers mas naging confident ako. Yung feeling na parang ang sexy ko kahit wala akong ayos," she said.

Recent photo of Yuki flaunting her lips

"I think 'yun din naman ang reason why I did lip fillers, to make myself happy."

Yuki said to take good care of it, "I drink lots of water kasi yun daw ang food ng fillers. Also, hindi ako mahilig mag-coffee or anything na mainit para hindi siya mabilis matunaw."

Meanwhile, Stephanie Ongkiko from Punto Consultancy, also had a "genuinely positive" experience with lip fillers. According to her, this helps her boost her confidence, especially when taking photos.

Stephanie's lips in 2019

"I've always felt my lips were slightly uneven and thin. I wanted a subtle enhancement to give them a natural plumpness," she shared to L!fe.

Stephanie continued, "It's nice because while people notice a change, they can't quite put their finger on what's different. Plus, it's a great confidence booster, especially in photos."

The price range for this procedure is between P16,000 to P25,000, at least in Slatensek's clinic.