Woman getting lip injection (Photo : Gustavo Pring/Pexels)
Woman getting lip injection.

A doctor has warned against overfilling the lips and other areas as he said fillers stay in the skin for years even if it seems like they're gone.

Fillers, which add volume and shape to lips, cheeks and other areas, are usually made of hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body. Their results are temporary and can last anywhere between six to 18 months before the materials in the fillers are gradually absorbed by the body, according to Harvard Health. Many patients get touch-ups once the "effect" wears off.

Cosmetic doctor and liposuctionist Gavin Chan, however, told Prestige that while their effect is temporary and typically lasts months, the potential longevity of fillers and their properties is much longer.

Chan observed that individuals who had too much filler injected remain overfilled for years even if they don't get additional treatments.

In 2019, he collaborated with radiologist Dr. Mobin Master on an investigation into this issue. Master performed MRI scans on patients who had gotten fillers two or more years prior, and they found that their fillers were still there, with some even persisting for "up to 12 years." However, the fillers no longer produced the effect that patients desired.

"They flattened and spread out, losing its initial effect. As the fillers move, it becomes an impetus for patients to have more filler done even though the filler is still present," Chan said.

Other research and studies have since supported their findings, according to Prestige.

Due to this, Chan said he has adopted a more cautious and selective approach to injections. He told the outlet that he now administers fillers less frequently, in smaller quantities, averaging once a month in his practice. Driven by a focus on enhancing skin quality, he has shifted toward cosmetic procedures that center on improving overall "attractiveness."

A person's metabolism and lifestyle factors like smoking and exercise can affect the longevity of dermal filler. Filler will likely metabolize faster in the bodies of people with a high metabolic rate, a 2019 piece by Chan said.

In recent years, the popularity of lip fillers among teens and young women has risen. This trend was attributed by experts to celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, who first confessed to having them in 2015.

According to a 2015 report by The Independent, Jenner's revelation that she got lip fillers sparked a massive surge - up to 70% - in inquiries for the cosmetic procedure at some clinics.

Dr. Leah Totton and Dr. Maryam Zamani told the news outlet that they received more-than-the-usual number of inquiries about the procedure 24 hours after Jenner made the confession.

The procedure involves injecting dermal filler "into the border of the lips to define the lip line or injected into the body of the lip to create a fuller pout or even asymmetry," Totton said.

The expert noted that common side effects of lip fillers include bruising and swelling.

Other adverse effects include tenderness, injection site mass, and injection site pain, according to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Surgery.