Lip fillers are injections that add volume to your lips, making them fuller.
Injectable fillers aren’t permanent, but they can last anywhere from 3 to 18 months, depending on the type you choose. In short, they can still be a pretty big commitment.
That said, if you’re not completely happy with your results, you don’t necessarily have to wait it out. You might have the option of dissolving your lip fillers early, depending on the type of filler used.
You may be able to have all of the filler dissolved or just some of it, if you want to reduce the volume or even out lumpiness.
Below, get the details on dissolving lip fillers, including which type of fillers you can have dissolved, how the process works, and what to expect.
Only hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers, like Juvederm, Restylane, and Belotero, can be dissolved.
HA is a sugar naturally found in your body, mainly in your connective tissues. Mainly, HA works to keep your skin hydrated, which contributes to plumpness. The HA in fillers is a synthetic, or lab-made version.
Fillers made from anything else aren’t reversible — but again, they won’t last forever, regardless. Fillers degrade over time, which is why you need to get follow-up injections to maintain their look.
What to do about non-HA fillers?
If you’ve had your lips augmented with anything other than HA and don’t like the results, an experienced cosmetic surgeon may be able to correct asymmetry or lumpiness by injecting more filler to even things out.
Don’t want to have more filler injected, or wait for your fillers to degrade on their own? You also have the option of surgical removal.
Regardless of which way you’re leaning, you’ll want to start by asking a reputable cosmetic surgeon about your options.
To dissolve lip fillers, you’ll need to receive injections of hyaluronidase (Hyalase) near the filler.
Hyaluronidase is a concentrated synthetic form of an enzyme that naturally occurs in your body. When injected, it begins to break down the filler, speeding up the dissolving process that would take place over time.
Hyaluronidase had medical uses long before fillers, but healthcare professionals have used it to dissolve HA fillers for almost 20 years.
It doesn’t just dissolve lip fillers, either. It can also dissolve fillers in your cheeks, under your eyes, and any other area — as long as they’re HA fillers.
If you decide to have your lip fillers dissolved, you’ll want to start the process by requesting a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.
During the consultation, you can discuss your expectations and your options for dissolving your fillers.
What to expect
If you decide to go ahead with removing fillers, here’s a general idea of what to expect:
- First, your care team will do a patch test by applying a small amount of hyaluronidase on your arm to check for an allergy or sensitivity.
- If you don’t have any adverse reactions, they’ll clean your lips and apply numbing cream to the area to minimize discomfort from the needle.
- If you don’t want your fillers completely dissolved, they may first dilute the hyaluronidase so it doesn’t remove your entire lip augmentation.
- They’ll inject hyaluronidase into different parts of your lips, with the goal of getting the solution as close to the HA as possible.
- Once finished, they’ll clean your lips once more and apply aftercare balm or cream.
After the patch test, the entire process takes just a few minutes.
Hyaluronidase has an immediate effect. But since everyone’s body chemistry is different, not everyone notices results at the same rate.
Different brands of HA fillers may degrade at different speeds. The amount of filler you want dissolved can also factor in. You may need to return for more than one session in order to achieve the results you want.
Many people notice results within just a few days.
Keep in mind that your lips might temporarily appear fuller after the procedure. This can happen due to a combination of mild swelling from the injections and extra volume from the dissolving fluid.
It’s generally safe to have lip fillers dissolved by a reputable plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
Still, as with any procedure, you’ll want to keep a few potential risks in mind.
There’s a small chance hyaluronidase will cause an allergic reaction. According to
That said, you have a greater chance of an allergic reaction with a dose of more than 100,000 IU. The rate of allergic reactions increases to just over 31 percent with a dose of 200,000 IU.
Your dermatologist or surgeon will likely start with the smallest dose possible to help minimize the possibility of an allergic reaction.
Another potential side effect to consider: Hyaluronidase could potentially break down too much of the filler, as well as your body’s own HA. Consequently, you might lose more volume than you want and notice some unevenness in your lips. Your body will eventually produce more HA, but this can take a few months.
If you’re unsatisfied with the results of your lip augmentation, or you experienced some complications, the doctor who performed the original filler injections may dissolve them free of charge. It never hurts to start by asking about their policy.
If you choose to go to a different surgeon or dermatologist to have your lip fillers dissolved, or want to have them dissolved because you’ve changed your mind about the look, the cost typically depends on:
- how much hyaluronidase they’ll need
- their location
- their experience level
According to RealSelf.com, the cost ranges between $50 and $1,625, with an average cost of $450.
The internet tends to suggest you can DIY pretty much anything, but this isn’t something you should attempt to do yourself. You’ll need to get lip fillers dissolved in a clinical setting, by a skilled medical professional.
Trying to dissolve them yourself at home could result in injury and potentially serious complications, such as infection and even vascular or nerve damage.
Hyaluronidase can dissolve hyaluronic acid lip fillers before they degrade on their own.
If you’re not happy with your lip augmentation, you can connect with the professional who performed your injections to learn more about your options. You can also consult a board certified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist for more information.
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.