Dissolving My Lip Filler Hurt, but It Was Worth It

POPSUGAR Photography / Renee Rodriguez

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re thinking about getting your lip filler removed. I recently went through the experience, and although it was a process, I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve always had naturally full lips, but last year, I began toying with the idea of trying lip filler and ultimately decided to get a technique called “lip gloss filler” in December. At first, I loved how it looked – we only added the tiniest bit of hyaluronic acid filler into my lips, and it gave them a hydrated, glossy finish, without any additional volume. It wasn’t until I decided to make them a little bigger that things took a turn for the worse.

Immediately after my appointment, I was freaked out. My lips swelled a lot, and in addition to looking like I had had an allergic reaction from eating too much shellfish, I also had bruising on my lower lip that seemed to be getting darker by the hour. In all honesty, I pretty much knew I hated how my lips looked right after having them injected, but I was told I needed to wait until the swelling went down before deciding what to do.

I waited a full two weeks and during that time, I spent the majority of my free minutes staring in the mirror at how f*cked up my face looked. I couldn’t go anywhere for almost a week because it looked like someone had punched me. Plus, my lips have always been the tiniest bit uneven – the left side is a little bigger than the right – but once I had the filler, the unevenness became impossible to ignore. The filler was also injected into the corners of my lower lip, which made my mouth appear wider.

When the two-week marker hit, I booked the soonest available appointment to get everything dissolved. I had heard horror stories about how painful the process was, but in my mind, nothing could be worse than what I was currently dealing with.

Keep reading to learn more about the process of having lip filler dissolved and what my personal experience was like.

How Does Filler Dissolver Work?

Injections of Hylenex (hyaluronidase) are used to dissolve the filler. (Note: this only works for hyaluronic acid (HA) based fillers like Juvederm and Restylane.) “Hyaluronidase targets the bonds that hold the hyaluronic acid molecules together in the filler, and once these bonds are broken, the body can more easily absorb the fragments of hyaluronic acid,” Kami Parsa, MD, a Beverly Hills oculoplastic surgeon, tells POPSUGAR.

One of the things I had read about online was that hyaluronidase could deplete your body’s own natural hyaluronic acid, which could leave areas like your lips looking less full than they originally did. This is something I was extremely concerned about because I didn’t want to lose any of the natural volume I had.

Dr. Parsa says that it can happen, but it won’t last forever. “Any impact to your natural HA is temporary, as our bodies regenerate hyaluronic acid every three to four days,” he says. “This is why we recommend slowly dissolving your filler over a few weeks, as it allows your body to bounce back.”

Dr. Parsa also says that what most people confuse with natural HA reduction is actually stretched tissue. “Hyaluronic acid fillers cause tissue expansion, and these fillers are like a sponge, attracting water to expand in size,” he says. “If too much filler is injected over time, especially over a matter of years, it will result in the slow expansion of your natural tissue.”

My Lip Filler Dissolving Experience

The appointment typically starts with the application of topical numbing cream because the process can be uncomfortable, to say the least. “Depending on the reason for dissolving the filler, our approach is individualized based on that patient’s lifestyle and history,” Dr. Parsa says. “If we do opt to dissolve the filler, we use Hylenex and ultrasound guidance over the course of a couple of weeks, and tighten the skin with a procedure like CO2 laser or fractionated radio frequency like Morpheus8.” However, my experience didn’t involve an ultrasound and since I had such a small amount, we got rid of all of it in one go.

When I went in for my appointment, the experience was similar to having filler injected. The injector used lidocaine to numb me, and after waiting about 30 minutes, she made four injections of Hylenex into my lips – two on the border of my top lip and two in my actual bottom lip. Did it hurt? Absolutely. Possibly even more than getting the lip filler did. But it was over quickly and there wasn’t any lingering pain.

I iced my lips immediately after my appointment for hours, and I made sure to avoid any blood thinners like ibuprofen, which can lead to bruising. My lips swelled a lot in the hours following, but it went down as time went on. Once I hit the 24-hour mark, my lips looked almost completely back to normal. I had some slight bruising on my top lip, but it wasn’t very noticeable.

By day three, the swelling was completely gone, and I finally had my natural lips back. Honestly, I can’t even express how good it felt to look in the mirror and feel like myself. In the future, I think I’ll forgo the lip fillers, but if I ever do decide to try them again, I need to be way more adamant about symmetry and what I’m looking for from the process. If you’re thinking about having your lip filler dissolved, you should do whatever makes you feel your best, but for me, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Renee Rodriguez is a staff writer and social producer for POPSUGAR. She writes across all verticals, but her main areas of expertise focus on fashion and beauty content with an emphasis on reviews and editor experiments. She also produces social content for POPSUGAR’s TikTok and Instagram accounts.

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