Lip Flip or Lip Filler: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

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lip flip vs filler

Looking to enhance your pout? Over 1.3 million lip augmentation procedures were performed in 2022 alone. With more and more options available for achieving the perfect pillowy pout, it can be hard to decide between a lip flip using Botox or traditional lip fillers.

Which lip-plumping procedure is right for you? Here’s an in-depth comparison of lip flips versus fillers.

While both aim to improve the appearance of the lips, the mechanisms, results, and procedure details differ.

Read on for a complete overview of the key differences between these two popular cosmetic treatments and how to decide which is best suited for your particular aesthetic goals.

What Is a Lip Flip?

lip flip vs filler

A lip flip is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that utilizes Botox (Botulinum Toxin Type A) injections to relax the muscles around the lips. It targets the orbicularis oris muscle which encircles the mouth.

By strategically injecting small amounts of Botox, the lip flip causes this muscle to relax, which allows the upper lip to roll up and out slightly. This reveals more of the pink part of the upper lip for a subtle plumping effect. It also minimizes the appearance of vertical lip lines by smoothing out the texture of the lips.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Lip Flip?

The procedure is ideal for patients who want very subtle lip enhancement or have minor asymmetries they wish to improve. It is particularly beneficial for addressing a “gummy smile,” in which too much of the upper gums show when smiling. The lip flip can roll the upper lip out to cover more of the gums.

It can help smooth and soften these etched lines around the mouth. Patients with thinner lips who don’t desire drastic plumping but want definition and contour will see pleasing results from a lip flip treatment. The effects are delicate and understated.

How Does a Lip Flip Work?

The provider will mark where to make several tiny injections along the vermillion border of the upper lip. This is where the pink-colored lip meets the surrounding skin.

After cleaning the area and applying a topical numbing cream for comfort, the injector will administer approximately 4-6 units of Botox via tiny needles. The Botox blocks nerve signals to the orbicularis oris muscles surrounding the mouth. This causes the fibers to relax and the upper lip to roll slightly outward, revealing more of the upper teeth.

The effects take 3-14 days to fully develop and results last around 2-5 months. Most patients require touch-ups every 2-5 months to maintain the lip flip results.

What Results Can You Expect from a Lip Flip?

A lip flip produces extremely subtle changes, unlike the dramatic enhancement of lip fillers. The upper lip appears slightly lifted, allowing more of the pink part of the lip to show. This creates definition and the illusion of a fuller upper lip.

The procedure also minimizes vertical lip lines, giving the lips a smoother texture and blurred appearance. Some patients notice a very slight increase in lip volume, but the main effects are upward lifting and relaxation of the upper lip.

The effects are subtle and meant to look natural. The treatment does not significantly alter the shape or size of the lips.

What is Recovery Like After a Lip Flip?

The lip flip procedure takes only 10-15 minutes in the office. There is minimal discomfort involved. Most patients describe the injections as feeling like tiny pinpricks.

There may be minor swelling, redness, bruising, or tenderness around the lips immediately after the procedure. These side effects typically resolve within 1-3 days.

While there is minimal downtime, patients should avoid strenuous activity, manipulating the lips, and exaggerated facial expressions for 24 hours after the procedure. Avoid exaggerated facial expressions or movements that engage the lip muscles.

The full results are visible after 10-14 days as the muscles gradually relax. Effects typically last 2-3 months before needing touch-ups.

What Are the Side Effects or Risks?

When performed by an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon, a lip flip has minimal risks. While rare, potential side effects include bruising, swelling, redness, and numbness around the lips.

Infection and allergic reaction are possible but very rare side effects. Using sterile technique helps minimize infection risk. Asymmetry is also a potential risk if the provider lacks proper training in facial anatomy. Choosing an experienced, board-certified provider helps reduce this risk.

The most common side effects are temporary asymmetry, over-relaxation of the lip muscle, and difficulty using a straw or pronouncing certain words. These effects fade as the Botox wears off over 2-3 months.

An advantage of the lip flip is that it does not involve a foreign substance being injected like a dermal filler. The Botox naturally degrades and the results are not permanent.

How Do Lip Fillers Work?

Lip fillers are dermal filler injections containing hyaluronic acid that add volume to the lips themselves. Products like Juvederm, Belotero, and Restylane are commonly used. They attract water to the treatment area for plumper lips.

These injectable gels integrate into the soft tissues and elevate indented scars while increasing the size, shape, and contour of the lips. The filler injections add structure and definition.

Lip fillers allow for significant augmentation versus the subtle enhancements of a lip flip. They effectively plump thin lips or correct age-related volume loss in the lips and mouth area.

Who Should Get Lip Fillers?

Patients who want to increase lip fullness or volume are better candidates for lip filler injections than a lip flip. Those with very thin lips wanting a curvier, fuller shape can benefit from fillers like Juvederm.

People who desire a significant enhancement in the size and proportions of their lips should consider dermal fillers.

Lip fillers can also reduce fine lines around the mouth and boost youthfulness. They add hydration and moisture to chronically dry, chapped lips.

If you feel your lips are disproportionate to your other facial features, fillers can balance them out. Fillers augment specific sections of the lips as needed.

Those looking for long-lasting lip enhancement are also good filler candidates since the results persist for 6-12 months on average.

How Do Lip Fillers Work?

During a filler treatment, the provider marks injection points along the natural borders of the lip area. After applying numbing medication, hyaluronic acid filler is injected in small amounts throughout the upper, lower or both lips.

The gel filler instantly plumps and shapes the lips. An artistry skill is involved in correctly placing the filler to achieve smooth, natural-looking results. Touch-ups may be done every 2-6 months to maintain the desired volume.

What Results Can You Expect from Lip Fillers?

With lip fillers, the increase in lip size and fullness is immediately noticeable. The effects are seen right after treatment and continue to improve as swelling subsides over 1-2 days.

The injected hyaluronic acid integrates into the lip tissues to restore lost collagen, reduce wrinkles, and provide direct volume augmentation. Lip shape, definition, and proportion are all enhanced based on the amount and placement of filler.

Results last approximately 6-12 months for most patients before the filler is gradually absorbed. Maintaining the increased volume and contour requires repeat filler injections 1-2 times per year.

What Is the Recovery Like After Lip Fillers?

a woman is taking pain reliever after lip filler procedure

Swelling and tenderness are common after lip fillers and may last 1-3 days. Using ice packs can help minimize swelling and discomfort. Avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours.

Bruising, bumps, redness, and moderate pain are also normal. The lips may feel firm and stiff. The provider can inject anesthesia before the treatment to reduce pain. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can also help.

Most patients can resume regular activities the next day but should avoid kissing, drinking through straws, or anything that puts pressure on the lips during the first 2-3 days. After 4 weeks, any side effects resolve, and the final result will be visible.

What Are the Risks or Side Effects of Lip Fillers?

When performed correctly by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, the risks of lip fillers are low. Bruising, swelling, nodules, and asymmetry are potential but uncommon side effects.

Allergic reactions are very rare but possible side effects. Infections are unlikely with proper sterilization of tools.

Lip fillers should not be injected into an active acne breakout or cold sore. They must also be avoided if you have a history of anaphylaxis or are taking blood thinners.

An inexperienced injector risks over-injecting and an unnatural look. Choosing an experienced, board-certified provider helps ensure optimal, natural-looking results.

The results are temporary, so poor outcomes will gradually resolve as the filler dissipates. However, lumps or nodules may need to dissolve with hyaluronidase.

Lip Flip vs Lip Fillers: Key Differences

Now that the basics of a lip flip and lip fillers have been covered, what are the key differences between these two procedures?

Here’s a comparison of some of the main differences:

Comparison FactorLip FlipLip Filler
MechanismBotox injections relax lip musclesInjectable gels add structure
Areas TreatedFocuses solely on upper lip areaEnhances entire lip zone
Degree of EnhancementExtremely subtle resultsDramatic volume
Results DurationLasts 2-3 monthsLasts 6-12 months
Side EffectsMinimal risksMore swelling and tenderness
Cost$400-$800 per treatment$600-$2000 per syringe
RecoveryLittle to no downtime1-2 days of downtime
Repeat Treatments Needed2-4 annual touch-ups1-2 annual syringes

Which Is Better For Your Goals? Lip Flip vs Fillers

When deciding between these two options, the most important factors are your specific cosmetic goals and your tolerance for downtime.

Here are some key considerations when weighing a lip flip versus traditional fillers:

GoalBetter Option
Subtle enhancementLip flip for delicate upper lip shaping with no obvious augmentation
Natural plumpingTied. Lip fillers provide moderate, natural-looking enhancement. Lip flips offer subtle shaping and definition of the lips.
Asymmetry correctionsLip flip for targeted refinement and precision
Wrinkle smoothingBoth can improve texture but fillers add more long-lasting hydration

Subtle lip flips and dramatic lip fillers both have their advantages. The best way to decide which is right for you? Review your aesthetic goals, and options, and devise a treatment plan. Combining the two procedures is also popular for maximizing results.

Overview of the Lip Flip Procedure

Okay, you’ve weighed the differences and are leaning towards a subtle lip flip. Here’s a rundown of what to expect during a typical lip flip appointment:

  • The lips and surrounding areas will be cleaned and numbed with a topical anesthetic to maximize comfort.
  • The injector will mark small points along the upper lip border for the Botox injections.
  • Using a very fine needle, about 4-6 units of Botox will be injected into the orbicularis oris muscle just above the upper lip. The injections feel like light pinpricks.
  • Immediately after, there may be very mild redness, swelling, or tenderness which subsides within a few hours. Some minor bruising is possible as well.
  • An ice pack can be applied to alleviate any discomfort and reduce swelling.
  • Avoid manipulating the lips or making exaggerated facial expressions for 24 hours. After that, normal activities can be resumed.

What to Expect During a Lip Filler Appointment

If you opt for lip fillers, here is a general overview of the process:

  • After cleansing the area, a topical numbing cream will be applied for 15-30 minutes prior to injection to maximize comfort.
  • The provider will map out the desired areas for filler placement and mark them. This is customized based on your facial anatomy and cosmetic goals.
  • Small amounts of hyaluronic acid filler will be precisely injected into the marked sites using a thin needle. This takes 10-20 minutes.
  • Discomfort is moderate. Some offices offer dental nerve blocks to anesthetize the area during treatment.
  • Immediately after injections, swelling and tenderness are common. Use ice packs to alleviate this. Bruising or redness may also occur.
  • Avoid placing any pressure or trauma on the lips for the first 24 hours. Keep the area clean.

While there may be 1-2 days of downtime, many patients appreciate the natural-looking, moderate enhancement lip fillers can provide.

The Costs of a Lip Flip vs Lip Fillers

Another key difference is the cost and long-term investment of these two procedures. Let’s break down the price range for a lip flip versus lip filler injections.

For a lip flip:

  • The average cost per treatment ranges from $400 – $600
  • Typically 4-6 units of Botox are used, costing $10-15 per unit.
  • Since touch-ups are needed every 2-3 months, the annual cost is approximately $800 – $2400.
  • Some injectors offer discounted rates for repeat lip flip maintenance visits.

For lip fillers:

  • The average cost is $600 – $2000 per treatment session.
  • Multiple syringes may be required in one session depending on the desired augmentation. One 1 mL syringe averages $600-$800.
  • Considering subsequent touch-ups, the annual investment can be $1,200 – $4,000+.

When considering your budget, it’s important to think long-term. While a lip flip requires more frequent maintenance, the smaller price per session adds up to a similar overall annual investment as lip fillers for many patients.

During an initial consultation, be sure to discuss costs and develop a customized treatment plan based on your goals. Some patients choose to start with a lip flip, then opt for filler augmentation later on.

Find Out If a Lip Flip or Filler is Right for You 

Is one of these procedures clearly better than the other? The answer depends on your specific cosmetic wishes.

For subtle shaping and volumization of the upper lip, nothing beats the delicate effects of a lip flip using carefully placed units of Botox. It’s an affordable, low-downtime option for conservative enhancement.

But for those desiring truly plump, curvy lips with a significant restoration of youthfulness, lip filler injections better deliver on full augmentation. The effects are instant but require several days of recovery.

In many cases, a lip flip can be the perfect starting point before graduating to fillers later on. Combining the two treatments is also popular for maximizing subtle AND substantial improvements.

The only way to determine what’s best for your particular lips? Schedule expert consultations. An experienced cosmetic injector can evaluate your anatomy and help match you with a personalized treatment plan.

While tempting to do at home, injectable procedures like these should only be administered in a sterile medical setting under trained supervision. Avoid “injection parties” or unqualified personnel.

For safe, luxurious care from board-certified providers, look no further than the expert Montville Med Spa. We offer both cutting-edge lip flips and an array of Juvederm filler products to help you achieve your perfect pout.

Book a consult today!