Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (2023)

It was a seemingly unremarkable Thursday afternoon when I decided I needed lip fillers. I was sat at my desk transcribing a Megan McKenna interview. I’d interviewed her the night before at a Country music awards ceremony (obvs) and while she told me all about her on-off boyfriend Pete Wickes (it was on then, it’s off now) I struggled to concentrate as I became almost enchanted by her powerful pout.

I have always hated that when I smile my top lip becomes more non-existent than the 2005 Big Brother winner (it was devout Christian Cameron Stout FYI. Yeah not a clue), and so it was at this moment sat at my desk in central London that I had an epiphany – I simply could not exist another day on this earth with my current lips. It was unconceivable. Preposterous.

My mum always says I do things on impulse without really thinking, and I’ve got to admit Denise is right. I quickly Googled, ‘Lip Fillers London’ and found the first place that actual doctors would be performing the treatment (a sure fire way to avoid complications I thought LOL). Within an hour they rang and booked me in and that very Saturday I found myself sitting in a waiting room where the walls were plastered with previous surgical and non-surgical patients photos with captions like, ‘I feel incredible now.’ ‘I’ve never felt more confident.’ ‘LOOK AT ME. I LOOK FREAKING AWESOME WITH MY NEW BOOBS.’ You know stuff like that. Smashing. Sign me up. Quite literally I did have to sign a form to say I understood what I was doing.

During a quick consultation with the Doctor he told me I had a lopsided face that he couldn’t fix unless I wanted to also fork out for some face fillers. I imagined my mug in the reception with that caption. ‘I couldn’t afford the face fillers so here I am with my lopsided face. Woe is me.’ Numbing cream on. A few pricks later (I’m used to them - shout out to my ex) that actually hurt less than my monthly Hollywood wax and I was walking out the door with big lips (and a bit of a bloody chin).

Here’s me looking all smug a few days later with my fuller pout...

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But this isn’t the end of my lip fairytale. No readers, this is just the beginning. Sit down, get yourself a cuppa and prepare for the plot twist. About four days after my treatment I noticed a large lump had appeared on my bottom lip. On closer inspection the top lip was completely uneven and also slightly slanted like the emoji that no-one really uses.

(Video) Here's What Happens When Lip Fillers Go Wrong (GRAPHIC FOOTAGE)

Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (1)

Cosmopolitan UK

After a couple of weeks living with dodgy lips (and many Leslie Ash type jokes from ‘friends’ and ‘family’) and no sign of the lumps getting smaller I decided I needed to get them sorted. I contacted the clinic and long story short they cared a lot less about me now they had my money. A lot of emails were exchanged and I finally got my £290 back but I still had more lumps in my lips than a bowl of cauliflower cheese.

As an avid reader of Cosmopolitan (I mean who isn’t?) I knew from Beauty Writer Lucy Partington that the award-winning cosmetic doctor, Dr Esho of the ESHO Clinic was the go-to guy when it come to correcting filler f*ck-ups (you can read about her experience here).

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He was the self proclaimed 'King of Lips' and I knew I had to meet him. I’d also heard that he was responsible for some of the best lips in the industry – people who were so famous that they would never actually admit to getting work done. The ones who just love lipliner when pressed.

Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (3)

Dr Esho

The consultation

When I arrive in his office for my consultation I feel as if I’m visiting the headmaster. He is sat behind a large antique desk with his assistant sat next to him scribbling down everything I say. He pinched my lips and leaned over me so our faces were closer than Giovanna Pernice and Debbie McGee in their Strictly performances. He wasn’t impressed, and he told me the lumps (large pockets of badly injected filler) might never go if I don’t pop them, aka have them professionally drained with a bloody big needle.

Poppin' time

I’m back at the door that has a gold plated Dr Esho sign stuck on after a break - Dr Esho always makes you have a break between consultation and treatment so you can think about what you're doing which tbf makes a lot of sense. A bit of numbing cream later and I lie down on his black reclining chair and he puts a sterile needle into my lips and the filler oozes out. I mean words can only do so much. Click play on the below, but if you’re screamish maybe little bit leave it yeah. (Credit: Lethal Bizzle. Don’t want to get into the same legal trouble as Kem and Chris. I can barely afford rent as is guys.)

I left with some pretty swollen lips and advised not to go to the gym for 24 hours (that would be sad ON OPPOSITES DAY), to continue to abstain from the bottle - I'd also not been drinking for 24 hours before (happy news ON OPPOSITES DAY) and to keep icing it every hour for five minutes. (These rules were followed before and after every treatment). I ran to the nearest Pret and asked for some ice. The inquisitive man asked why, ‘Ermm I hit my lips on a lamppost.’ I have no idea why I lied but now some poor guy thinks my lips were massive because I walked into a lamppost and he’ll probably question forever how that is possible. I am so sorry to that guy. If anyone sees a confused man in a Pret uniform in the Harley Street area please can you fill him in on my lies.

For the next three days I had slight bruising like I'd eaten a chocolate bar rather haphazardly, but seeing as this isn't an unusual situation in my life I don't think anybody really noticed. The stuff used to break down my filler also slightly breaks down your normal lips so I was left with even thinner lips than normal, but not a noticeable amount.

Filler time

Visit 3 and I was starting to feel like I was spending more time in the Harley Street waiting room than I do in my own living room. I'd been taking arnicare tablets for a week prior to this visit to limit the amount of bruising/swelling I'd get this time. Again, I was also told no alcohol for 24 hours before and after.

Once back in his room (which I now noticed had a fancy new TV which was playing R&B classics - something I very much enjoyed) Dr Esho applied dental blockers. Advice if you ever have them: Do not try to talk. I got myself into a right mess asking for the wifi code. Dribble everywhere. Not worth it. Instagram can definitely wait.

My whole mouth is numb by the time it's treatment time so I literally couldn't feel a thing. (I could have done with some of this stuff when I kissed a guy in Fresher's week who treated my mouth like a chew toy). I used to be the girl who turned away during blood tests but now I was looking straight at the needle. I felt hard as nuts. (Sidenote: I'm now so unafraid of needles that I've started giving blood. My vanity led to some good so that's nice.)

(Video) Lip Injection at ‘Botox Party’ Goes Horribly Wrong
Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (4)

Cosmopolitan UK

Before and immediately after treatment:

Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (5)

Cosmopolitan UK

Here’s what happens when lip fillers go wrong (6)

For all you lip tech heads out there Dr Esho put in 0.8ml of Juvederm Vobella with a focus on the lip and cupid's bow without over projection. At the first clinic I had 1ml of Juvederm and they tried really hard to get me to buy 1.5ml but I literally did not have enough money. I had to say no three times.

Two weeks later. My final visit to the big black chair...

By this time I literally felt like Dr Esho was an old family friend. He was putting an extra 0.4ml in my mouth - it's important to slowly build up the filler rather than shoving it all in, so the lips have chance to take to it. It's like you wouldn't just do a marathon, you'd build up slowly with the training. That's a poor metaphor because I wouldn't do a marathon anyway. It's 26 miles people. Madness.

As I told Dr Esho about the latest boy to screw me over and how I was on the urge of a mental breakdown (I'm a chronic over-sharer so sue me) he tried to tell me about lips and told me a cool fact that I'd like to share with you. If you feel like the bottom lip is way bigger than your top that's because the bottom is practically dormant in day to day life and the top is doing all the graft meaning it's the first to go thin. He also said that I should, 'Just do you and the right boy would come along.'

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(Video) Lip Filler Gone Wrong 😬 #shorts

I would advice anyone thinking of getting lip fillers to do their research before they trust someone with a needle near their face, which sounds pretty obvious now. I'm so happy with my final results thanks to Dr Esho's corrective work, but I'll never be able to erase the memory of that month walking around with a smile that made me feel embarrassed.

Injectables should only be carried out by either a surgeon, doctor, dentist or nurse and if the clinic are not giving thorough consultations before you feel comfortable then they probably aren't right. If they are encouraging you to pay for more treatments before you've even had the first then their motives probably aren't great. Be safe out there - you only get one face.

Follow Josie on Instagram.

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(Video) Lip Injections Gone Wrong! - The Worst Lip Filler Complications & How To Treat Them!

How comparison syndrome made me get lip fillers

Josie CopsonI'm the features intern here at Cosmopolitan and I'm in love with Daniel Craig - I don't want to hear you mention his age or his wife.


How do you know if lip fillers went wrong? ›

Severe pain: which may initially be dulled if anesthetic cream has been applied to the lips. Prolonged blanching: when the affected area looks very pale, white or dusky due to the reduction in blood supply. Purple discolouration: this typically occurs several hours after treatment when tissue death has already occured.

What happens if lip filler goes wrong? ›

You may experience redness, bruising, bleeding or swelling. More serious complications include skin damage, infection or scarring. All of these side effects can be limited or prevented if you have your treatment done by a skilled professional with anatomical knowledge.

What damage can lip fillers do? ›

Skin eruptions and lumps might occur after you get lip enhancements. Another severe side effect of lip fillers is itching, which can be a sign of an allergic reaction. Skin damage and scarring near the injection area are also severe side effects of lip fillers.

How long after lip filler does necrosis occur? ›

The symptoms of ischemia can occur immediately after the injection or several hours after the procedure. Here, the authors report three cases of necrosis after hyaluronic acid injection with the first symptoms presenting only several hours after the procedure.

Do lips go back to normal after fillers? ›

A Cosmetic Injector's Answer:

Over the next six to eight months after your lip filler is injected, your lips will slowly decrease in size and fade back to their original shape. The filler will metabolize fairly evenly, so you should never experience a malformed appearance.

How long after lip filler do complications occur? ›

Early onset complications typically appear hours to days post procedure while delayed onset complications usually develop weeks to years post HA filler injection (Table 2).

Can botched lip filler be fixed? ›

If you have previously received a lip filler injection that produced an unwanted outcome, you aren't stuck with it for the next 12 or more months. Fortunately, there is an injectable product called Hyaluronidase that can reverse your treatment.

Can you correct lip filler? ›

If you are unhappy with lumps, bumps, or irregularities in lip filler, dissolving it with Hyaluronidase is the fastest option. Hyaluronidase (also called Vitrase or Hylenex) is an enzyme that is injected into the tissue to dissolve any hyaluronic acid based filler, including Juvederm, Restylane, and Voluma.

Should lips be lumpy after filler? ›

Lumps are actually a common side effect after a dermal filler or lip filler treatment. Often they are a short-term problem, but if not, they are correctable by an aesthetic medical professional.

What is the safest filler for lips? ›

Rajagopal, lip fillers — particularly hyaluronic acid fillers — are safe products. So as long as you choose an expert, you should feel secure with your treatment. On the day of your procedure, you'll visit the plastic surgeon's office. The doctor will apply a topical anesthetic to your lips.

Can lip filler permanently damage lips? ›

And yes, using too much lip filler product can permanently stretch lip skin. If this occurs, it is possible to perform surgery to remove excess skin from the lips.

Where should you not inject lip fillers? ›

Moreover, the superior labial artery is more frequently superficial in the midline; thus, extra caution is needed when treating cupid's bow area. Both in the upper and lower lip, median areas are important danger zones, whereas paramedian areas are considered safer locations when injecting the filler superficially.

What does necrosis look like? ›

What does skin necrosis look like? There are two main types of necrotic tissue present in wounds. One is a dry, thick, leathery tissue usually a tan, brown, or black color. The other is often yellow, tan, green, or brown and might be moist, loose, and stringy in appearance.

What does necrosis after filler look like? ›

Prolonged blanching - the affected area may appear pale or white, even after the removal of the needle. Discolouration - the area may also turn dusky or purple, although this is more likely to happen several hours after the treatment. Cool to touch - again, this may happen later.

How do you know if its necrosis or bruising? ›

Answer: Necrosis vs bruising

Necrosis often has white AND flushed areas. What you have appears to be just normal bruising. Necrosis is often accompanied by terrible pain as well, as you can feel that the blood isn't circulating properly.

What lips should look like after filler? ›

After the procedure. You can expect some swelling in your lips after the procedure. You may also notice some small red spots where the needles were injected into your lips. Bruising around the lips is another common side effect, which may last about a week.

Do lip fillers age you? ›

Fillers are a great option for patients seeking a softer, more youthful look. However, if used improperly or over used, fillers can have negative long term consequences. In fact, patients who do not properly use filler could actually speed up their skin's aging process, resulting in older looking skin.

What makes lip filler go away faster? ›

So while the body naturally breaks them down over time, there is a way to speed up the process: Injections of hyaluronidase. Hyaluronidase is what the body produces naturally to break down fillers, so by injecting more, it allows the lips to regain natural shape quicker, usually going down within 3-4 days.

What does a reaction to lip filler look like? ›

Swelling and bruising. Redness and tenderness at the site of the injection. Reactivation of cold sores or fever blisters (herpes simplex) of the lips or area surrounding the lips.

When should you go to the hospital after lip fillers? ›

You may experience considerable swelling during the first two days of getting a lip filler injection. However, this swelling should subside by the fourth day. If you experience extreme swelling three or four days post treatment, you should consult your doctor or dentist immediately, as it may be something serious.

What does filler infection look like? ›

Diagnosing dermal filler infections:

The patient will present with a combination of lump, redness, tenderness, swelling or pus. It is often only on one side of the face. They may present soon after treatment or weeks to months afterward.

How do you fix uneven lips after fillers? ›

Answer: Uneven lips

If after a week there is obviously extra filler, hyaluronidase is a quick and effective solution. Massage is generally not a good way to redistribute filler.

Do lip filler lumps go away? ›

The most common cause of lumps after a filler treatment is swelling and bruising from the injections themselves. These should naturally subside within the first week.

Can lips look uneven after filler? ›

The swelling that can often occur after Lip Fillers can cause the lips to look a little uneven for a short time. This doesn't necessarily mean that anything has gone wrong and it may just take a little time for the product to fully settle and for residual swelling to subside.

Why does my filler look like its above my lip? ›

Answer: Over-augmenting the white roll. They are injecting too much into the white roll of the lip, which is on the skin side. It is common when you inject from the skin side (which is more comfortable) and with lighter bodied fillers.

Does filler ever fully dissolve? ›

Because dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring skin compound, they are naturally dissolved by your body over a period of 6 – 18 months. This process uses a compound called hyaluronidase.

Should I massage lip filler lumps? ›

Experiencing lumps in lips after injectable filler is extremely common—and lumps most often resolve naturally with time. Gentle lip massage 5-7 days after the treatment can help smooth any lumps and bumps in the lips.

How long does it take for lip filler to soften? ›

What will my lips feel like afterwards? For the first 48hrs, it is normal for them to feel very firm. This is due to a combination of the filler and swelling. They will gradually soften over the next two weeks.

Why does my filler feel hard? ›

Are Lip Fillers Supposed to Feel Hard? Your lips may feel stiff or rigid immediately after injection with dermal fillers. Don't worry — this is entirely normal, and the lip fillers will soften with time. Your lips may also be swollen and tender, which can contribute to the lip filler feeling hard under the skin.

Who should avoid lip fillers? ›

The major contraindications to the use of a filler are as follows: active infection near the site of injection, a known allergy/hypersensitivity to the material or to the lidocaine mixed in the syringe of the filler (Zyderm, Zyplast, Cosmoderm, Cosmoplast and certain hyaluronic acid fillers and Artefill) and glabellar ...

What filler does Kylie Jenner use on her lips? ›

Kylie's preferred filler, Juvéderm, is a hyaluronic acid filler, meaning that the molecules found within it are also found naturally in our skin.

What happens if filler hits a nerve? ›

Most commonly, it results in neurapraxia, but injury to a nerve branch may cause localized anesthesia. Most common site for paresthesia is the infraorbital nerve when it gets compressed by tight filler injection in the vicinity, or from excessive molding into the foramen.

Do lip fillers go into your bloodstream? ›

The most serious risk associated with dermal fillers is accidental injection into a blood vessel. Filler that enters a blood vessel can cause skin necrosis (death of tissue), stroke, or blindness.

Where do fillers hurt the most? ›

Answer: Pain

Certain areas of the face are more sensitive to filler treatment. Juvederm products are available with lidocaine mixed in to make the treatment more comfortable. The lips tend to be the most sensitive. In general patients find the administration tolerable and the results are worth it.

Would I know if I had necrosis? ›

Some people have no symptoms in the early stages of avascular necrosis. As the condition worsens, affected joints might hurt only when putting weight on them. Eventually, you might feel the pain even when you're lying down. Pain can be mild or severe.

How quickly can necrosis occur? ›

Necrosis occurred in 2 of 4 cases in which the patient had been operated on within 3 hours of the injury, and our exploratory survival analysis estimates that 37% (95% confidence interval, 13%-51%) of all cases of ACS may develop muscle necrosis within 3 hours of the injury.

How do you detect necrosis? ›

The main features of necrosis are:
  1. Swelling of the cell.
  2. Swelling of the nucleus.
  3. Karyolysis (nuclear dissolution)
  4. Karyorrhexis (nuclear fragmentation)
  5. Nuclear pyknosis.
  6. Pale eosinophilic cytoplasm.
  7. Cytoplasmic vacuoles may be present in areas of necrosis.

Is lip necrosis reversible? ›

Answer: Signs of necrosis

Luckily if treated in time, this is reversible and should not cause any permanent damage.

How common are filler complications? ›

  • Dermal Filler complications are rare, but do present a real risk. ...
  • Out of 98 cases of vision complications from dermal fillers, 65 led to unilateral vision loss, and only two cases of vision loss were reversible.
15 Feb 2016

Can necrosis happen 2 weeks after filler? ›

Answer: Not likely necrosis

As others have stated, usually necrosis happens very quickly. It looks more like a bruise which can take a while to resolve in the lips.

What does necrosis look like in the beginning? ›

Early symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis can include: A red, warm, or swollen area of skin that spreads quickly. Severe pain, including pain beyond the area of the skin that is red, warm, or swollen.

When should I be concerned about lip filler bruising? ›

This swelling and bruising should go away in a few days. You can apply ice packs over the face to help subside the swelling and redness. However, if the bruising persists beyond one week, you should consult the doctor for further advice.

What does the beginning of skin necrosis look like? ›

The skin may look pale at first but quickly becomes red or bronze and warm to the touch and sometimes swollen. Later, the skin turns violet, often with the development of large fluid-filled blisters (bullae). The fluid from these blisters is brown, watery, and sometimes foul smelling.

How should lip fillers feel after? ›

Patients often notice that their lips feel lumpy, bumpy, and/or overly inflated following lip filler injections. This is a normal phenomenon and is to be expected. Over the next 14 days, as the fillers settle and soften, the lips should become much smoother and more even.

What is normal after lip fillers? ›

Swelling is the most common side effect and is most apparent in the first 24 hours after getting your injections. Swelling should subside within 2 weeks, and be completely unnoticeable after four weeks. Bruising at the injection site is another common side effect and will also decrease within the first 2 weeks.

How do you fix Duck lips after fillers? ›

Answer: Duck lip fix

This is readily accomplished by injecting hyaluronidase (a dissolving enzyme) directly into the previously filled site. This solution can be placed in very small amounts until the desired appearance is reached.

Does top lip swell more than bottom after filler? ›

Swelling straight after your lip filler treatment is normal and expected. This is the time when the swelling is at its most extreme. The top lip will usually be bigger than the bottom lip and project further than the bottom lip, however this will reduce over time.

What not to put on lips after fillers? ›

don't use and exfoliating agent for 24 hours or any harsh cleaning brush. don't have a facial massage for at least two weeks. don't drink through a straw for the 1st day as this puts pressure on the lips. don't drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after you have had fillers.

How long do your lips stay lumpy after filler? ›

The most common cause of lumps after a filler treatment is swelling and bruising from the injections themselves. These should naturally subside within the first week.

Is 1ml lip filler noticeable? ›

It's a common misconception that dermal filler is going to dramatically change your appearance with the very first treatment. In actual fact, 1ml of dermal filler is just enough to create a very subtle result that clients can then build upon over time (if that's your goal).

Can I put lip balm on after fillers? ›

Can I put lip balm on after lip fillers? We suggest avoiding make-up in the first 24 hours after treatment. That's because the area will be sensitive, and touching around the injection sites could cause pain, infection or product displacement.

What happens on day 4 after lip fillers? ›

Answer: Swelling 4 days later

It is definitely not unusual to have swelling 4 days post injections! We always tell our patients to wait 2 weeks for lips to fully settle and heal. Swelling can last a while. If it continues after 2 weeks, make an appointment to see your injector for a follow-up.

Can you ruin your lip fillers? ›

“When you repeatedly enlarge the lips — pumping them up as big as possible — the filler can act as a tissue expander, permanently stretching the skin, and causing the lips to sag and deflate when the filler eventually degrades, leaving you in worse shape than when you started,” she explains.

Does massaging lip filler break it down? ›

Will massaging my lip filler break it down? If you feel lump or lumps in your filler, massaging it gently with the help of your index finger and thumb. Over time, it will break down the lip filler.


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