Lip Fillers Q&A with Dr Martyn King

It was recently reported that online searches for ‘lip filler appointments’ have increased by 37% which is believed to be, in part, due to the latest series of Love Island. Many of the contestants have openly discussed the fact that they have received aesthetic treatments, but with the show’s stars admitting that they have had complications, the question on everybody’s lips is – ‘how much is too much, when it comes to lip fillers?’

Faye Winter’s lips have been a topic of conversation both in and out of the villa. During one discussion the 26-year-old talked of the sagging she experienced when she had her lip fillers dissolved.

Dr Martyn King is a GMC registered doctor, internationally accredited and award-winning aesthetics expert, ACE Medical Director, Vice Chair of the JCCP and owner of Cosmedic Skin Clinic, offers guidance and an expert opinion on how to avoid complications for anyone who is considering lip fillers.

Are there any dangers involved?

“As with all aesthetic treatments, there are risks involved and anyone considering treatment should do their research. Individuals should be a registered healthcare practitioner and have had appropriate training and insurance in place. With the current fashion for larger lips continuing, it is especially important to find a fully qualified and experienced practitioner.

“The greater the amount of filler used during treatment, the higher the risk of developing a complication. If you are injecting a lot of volume, you certainly run a higher risk of a vascular occlusion, which is where blood is restricted from flowing through a blood vessel and can lead to tissue damage and scarring if it is not appropriately managed. There is also a risk of bleeding, bruising, nodules, lumpiness, asymmetry and a poor aesthetic result. By injecting excessive volume, the lips can have a very unnatural look and feel and really stand out on the face. It is important to have a consultation with your practitioner and be clear what you would like to achieve with treatment.”

How much is too much when injecting lip filler?

“Keep in mind that large trout pouts are a trend and, in my opinion, best avoided. My own view is that lips should look natural and when someone you don’t know can tell that you have had your lips filled, you’ve probably had too much! Lip filler can truly enhance facial features, and in some cases, corrective work using lip filler for asymmetry can be life changing, building confidence, and allowing the use of lipsticks and glosses where there was only a very thin lip beforehand.

“Personally, I don’t tend to inject more than 1ml of any filler into lips at any one time due to the greater risk of complications and to allow time for patients to get used to their new lips. Often a single syringe will create the desired effect and no more is needed. However, if they do want some additional volume after their first treatment, I believe it to be safer and better to invite them back for further treatment a couple of weeks down the line.”

When does sagging occur, is it treatable?

“Excessive volume in the lips is not normally aesthetically pleasing and can look abnormal with movement of the lips. Sometimes denser fillers are used in the lips, which are more appropriate in other areas of the face such as the cheek, temples, or jawline, resulting in very stiff lips which do not function the same as untreated or correctly filled lips.

“Dissolving excessive volume in the lip should not be taken lightly and comes with its own dangers. Sagging of the lip can occur if high volumes of filler are dissolved and the filler will have been removed quickly and it may take a bit longer for skin tightening to occur. It is more likely a short-term issue and will improve with time.”

What type of filler should be used in the lips?

“Different brands of filler will have a range of products with different levels of viscosity. So, for example within the UTH product range there are four products: Hydrate, Fine, Deep and Sub Q. Depending on patient age, clinical examination, and the desired results, Fine or Deep may be appropriately used in the lips.

“Other well-known brands will have similar product range and they will be progressively thicker and longer lasting, as each should be used for different purposes and should be injected into the correct anatomical plane.

“UTH Sub Q is the densest product in the UTH range, and this would be used for tissue augmentation or facial contouring and non-surgical rhinoplasty. I suspect that when we see people with lips with huge volume, they are using a similar product to this, but it isn’t made for the lips and that is where issues will arise.”

What are the current trends you’ve noticed, should people go with the latest trend?

“Lip augmentation trends are constantly changing and can be extremely diverse, such as the devil lips, where little ridges are created above the lip to create a crown appearance. Russian lips is the over-filled lip and is unfortunately still very popular, mainly due to social media influencers.

“It is really important to do your research and seek a practitioner who is medically trained and experienced in dermal fillers and a member of an organisation such as ACE Group, JCCP, BACN or BCAM. More than 70% of dermal filler complications which the ACE Group help manage are related to lip filler treatments, so choosing a practitioner working in an aesthetic clinic who can diagnose and manage a complication is essential. It is also wise to ask which product your practitioner is using and why.”