Here's What Not To Do After Getting Lip Filler

We're lucky enough to live in a time where cosmetic procedures are easily accessible. But just because you can pop into an aesthetician's office and get some Botox or fillers on your lunch break doesn't mean you shouldn't do your research first. It's not just about finding someone who's experienced but also learning what the procedure entails, as well as what's okay for before and after the treatment. Not everyone's body reacts the same way to the same procedures, and not every person wielding a needle knows exactly what they're doing.


"Finding the right, most qualified, physician to perform any procedure is priority number one," says Steve Jurich, CEO and executive vice president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc. "Always select a surgeon specifically trained in procedures of the face, head, and neck and make sure the physician is qualified, experienced, and board-certified in the procedure you want."

One of the procedures that's becoming more and more common is lip fillers. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon's 2020 annual report, 3.4 million Americans opted for soft tissue fillers alone. But before you decide to jump on the filler bandwagon, it's important to know what to expect when getting lip fillers and what you should avoid after getting your injections. If you're going to invest in altering parts of your face, you want to do whatever it takes to make sure your lips stay looking great for as long as possible.


Don't subject your face to heat

When you walk out of the doctor's office, there's a good chance that your lips are going to be pretty darn swollen. Like you would with any other swollen part of the body, you want to apply ice or cold packs to the area to reduce the swelling. This means you especially want to avoid all things heat-related like the sun, saunas, tanning beds, the gym, hot showers — all of it. Not only can the heat increase the swelling, but fillers that contain hyaluronic acid can degrade due to heat exposure. When this happens, it can mess with the effects of the fillers.


It's recommended that you stay away from these things for at least 48 hours. If you can go a little longer, great. It's all about keeping that swelling to an absolute minimum so that you eventually have the lips you paid for.

Don't skip the OTC medication

If you're in pain and the ice isn't helping, don't try to be a hero with super strength. Instead, reach for those over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol to help with any pain and swelling. However, you want to steer clear of things like aspirin and ibuprofen. These meds are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which can cause bruising. They also reduce clotting in the blood, which you don't want while your body heals. Your lips are already going to be swollen enough and susceptible to bruising, so there's no need to add to that.


According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, arnica, aloe vera, or vitamin K creams can be used to reduce the possibility of bruising. Although these are great options, you still want to check with your doctor before using. Likewise, if you have known allergies to these topical substances, you want to skip them.

Don't pick at your lips

Although it should go without saying, do not, under any circumstances, pick at your lips. No matter how itchy or irritated the injection site may be, keep your hands off as much as possible. Don't even do it lightly, like gently dragging your fingernail over the injection site. Itchiness is a very normal reaction to the procedure and will subside in a few days. Just be patient. If you feel a bump, you can gently massage the area, but still refrain from picking and scratching so as to prevent any type of scarring or disruption of the filler. 


Slight lumps and bumps are not unheard of and are completely normal after getting fillers. In fact, your lips will not feel like themselves for a couple days after the procedure as the filler settles into place. Just accept it and know that this is part of the healing process. 

Don't go to the dentist

Dental work and lip fillers do not mix. Sure, after a few weeks — the longer the better — you can go to the dentist, but within in a week or two after your lip procedure, you're signing yourself up for two possible issues. For starters, having your newly filled lips manipulated by a dentist is going to cause more swelling, as well as possibly shift the filler, neither of which you want. There's also the potential for micro-injuries around your filler, making it open season for a bacteria invasion.


According to a 2015 study published in Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, dental bacteria can result in a biofilm developing on the lip around the filler. Biofilm is a buildup of bacteria not unlike dental plaque in the mouth. In other words, this slimy collection of bacteria and fungus isn't something you want on your lip.

Don't get vaccinated

When you put two foreign substances in your body back to back, you run the risk of there possibly being a reaction. It doesn't mean that if you have fillers, you need to skip vaccinations, but just don't get vaccinated within two weeks of getting your fillers, either before or after.


"With flu shots, other bacterial/viral illnesses, vaccines or dental procedures, these are immunologic reactions that are occurring," dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D. tells Cleveland Clinic. "They're not allergies. They're not infections. These are just immunologic reactions where swelling occurs in places where people have or once had fillers ... Typically these immunologic reactions are very rare. Within the last eight years of my practice, I've had about three or four patients who were sick with pneumonia or had a kidney infection. They all experienced swelling where their dermal fillers were placed."

A 2022 study published in Springer Nature also found a handful of cases of people experiencing delayed inflammatory reactions in those with lip fillers following COVID-19 vaccinations. But because the cases are so rare, the researchers still have to do more studies about the connection and how many more people may have experienced it. Either way, just don't risk it if you don't have to. 


Don't drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes

Have a crazy Friday night planned after getting your lip fillers? You might want to postpone it. Unless, of course, you can abstain from drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Like aspirin and ibuprofen, alcohol can act as a blood thinner, which means the chance for bruising — or more bruising if you already have some — increases. Both of these things will make it longer to heal and will extend the amount of time until you get your dream pout. Surely you can wait a few days to enjoy a martini with your friends.


Cigarettes, too, can create some problems. Smoking requires one to pucker their lips which can be both painful post-procedure and also interfere with the filler settling into place. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Samuel Lin tells Byrdie that patients should avoid smoking for "a minimum of one week after treatment. Cigarette smoke interferes with healing and the act of smoking can distort the filler."

Don't put any unnecessary pressure on your mouth

Other things to avoid: In addition to putting down the cigarettes, you want to avoid using straws for the same reason — they cause you to pucker up. You don't want to get any massages that require you to be in a facedown position, nor do you want to sleep on your stomach. You don't want to apply lipstick, and if you do use cleansers and makeup around the mouth area, you want to be gentle about it. You also shouldn't kiss for a couple days.


Anything that is associated with applying pressure to your lips is off limits, including flying. No matter how short the flight, the pressure in the cabin contributes to swelling from head to toe, meaning your already swollen lips aren't exempt. It's best to wait a minimum of a week before you take a trip via plane. It's not likely that anything horrible is going to happen, but you want your fillers to settle nicely, so it's always best to err on the side of caution — especially when it comes to your face.