Aang aang- hello! I cannot believe it’s already October! I love Halloween, but then I want summer to come back. I don’t like fall or winter, just depressing- maybe this is a result of my love for the Beach Boys and Endless Summer when I was growing up?
Anywho, back in May, I decided to do something drastic (for me). I took the plunge and got lip injections. This wasn’t without lots and lots and lots and lots (and LOTS) of thought, though. For years, Jerry and I have both poked fun at injected lips. Well, at badly injected lips, that is. It’s now been several months, so I feel like I can go ahead and post, as any side effects would have happened by now.
It seemed every time I logged on to social media, and someone asked for lip filler recommendations, people would inevitably post pics that showed something that appeared to be the result of a fish and a duck having a baby. And, damn, they’re always SO proud of these results! I cringe each and every time I find out these are the final results, AFTER the swelling has gone down. I want to warn people to run, RUN FAR AWAY- but don’t want to insult the person in the pics…lol.
I’ve never been particularly unhappy with my lips, and never felt self-conscious or that there was anything wrong with them. But, when we started this site, I started noticing that if my top lip matched my bottom lip a bit more, lip colors would look better- and readers could see the color and finish more easily. It just hasn’t ever been worth risking looking like the aforementioned duckfishlip love child!
So, I started talking to Jerry about it (he was against it), and decided to ask Dr. Ball about my lips when I went in for my next Botox injections. I trust him implicitly- he’s never made me look “overdone.” (FYI to our Indigenous readers- Dr. Ball is Yaqui!) I get a total of about 15 units, where many people get 100 units for max results. I don’t want to look “fake,” I want to look like ME, just less stressed and tired.
Dr. Ball, and the nurse manager, Shay, have always been straight and up front with me- and they believe less is more. Start off with a little, wait a few weeks, see if you need or want more. They told me about a newer Juvederm filler from Allergan called Volbella. Volbella uses patented Vycross technology, and consists of smaller sized hyaluronic acid molecules, which allow for more natural, subtle results. This also allows for smaller lines and wrinkles to be smoothed out, which wasn’t quite as easy with other fillers.
Unlike Botox which takes a week to start seeing results, with fillers, the results are immediate. This means the doctor doing the injections can stop before things start looking unnatural. There’s also an enzyme called hyaluronidase which can “undo” the injections if need be. But, Shay said Dr. Ball believes it’s easier to take it slowly and get good results than it is to “erase.” This is especially the case with Volbella, as the Vycross technology makes it more difficult to dissolve than other fillers.
After careful consideration, I decided to go for it! Shay told me since I’d had fever blisters before, that I would need to take valacyclovir for a few days to prevent any outbreaks. It’s important to note that it’s not the hyaluronic acid or the ingredients that can trigger a fever blister, but the trauma from the needle itself. Nevertheless, I really like that they are proactive with this- don’t want to take the chance at temporarily ruining some beautiful new lips with fever blisters!
While you’ll see results immediately, your lips will start swelling later. To help prevent and minimize swelling and bruising, avoid taking any NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.) and drinking any alcohol for a day or two before getting injected. I abstained for 48 hours from any of these, and started taking arnica sublingually as directed on the package. I also got some arnical gel to use topically afterward.
I went to the doctor on a Wednesday with no makeup on (looking rough, right out of bed…lol), and they started off by using some numbing cream. At first I said I didn’t want it, as I’ve never used it for Botox injections- I don’t really want my face to be numb afterward like I’ve been to the dentist…lol! I was thinking it would take an hour or so to work, but it only takes a few minutes, so I humored them and let them do it. I can’t say whether or not it helped, as I’ve never had this done without it for comparison. Maybe next time?
Another one of the many things I like about going to Dr. Ball is that they’re always willing to let you see the packaging of your injectable. Botox comes in a vial containing many units, and most places sell by the unit so you don’t have to buy the whole vial. If you request, a good provider will allow you to see the actual vial they’re going to be drawing from. Most injectable fillers are sold by the syringe, and they should open the (sealed) package in front of you. If you go somewhere, and they don’t want to be transparent about these things, LEAVE.
The Volbella itself contains lidocaine, so it wasn’t really painful at all. The worst part was each time the needle first pierced my skin, but that wasn’t even intolerable. Think about tiny bee stings, but only a fraction as intense- in other words, the same type of sensation, just not as bad. The whole process was fairly quick, the injections only took a few minutes.
My goal was for my top lip to better match the size of my bottom lip so I wouldn’t always look like I was pouting. Naturally, bottom lips stick out slightly more than top lips, so he put a small amount in my bottom lip- not to make it bigger, but to keep a natural appearance. Since I didn’t want a drastic change, and the injections are long-lasting, there was enough in the syringe to do some along my lip lines to make them smooth- so now I don’t have to wear lip liner to prevent feathering, many thanks, Dr. Ball!
I really didn’t have any pain afterward. I kept up with icing my lips throughout the day, applying arnica gel, and taking arnica tablets. I had more irritation from my allergies and all the pollen towards to end of the week- as you’ll be able to tell from my swollen eyes…lol! The most lip swelling I had was Thursday morning when I woke up. Shay warned me about this, and said it would go down after I got out of bed- and it did. After being up for about an hour and moving around, using arnica, it went down with no problems.
I only had very slight bruising, not nearly what I expected. Glad I skipped my glass of wine and didn’t take any NSAIDs, or it likely would have been much worse. The level of bruising was my own fault- I had read to take it easy and avoid strenuous activity for a couple days, but I went on a three mile run between icings. Even so, the bruising was so slight that I could have put on some lip gloss and a dab of concealer and no one would have been the wiser. It did get slightly worse on Friday- again, my own fault, after doing a five mile run. I was often doing eight to ten, but kept it down to five because of the procedure. Ended up with a bit more bruising, but used arnica and it didn’t last long, and again, the effect all the pollen outside had on my eyes was worse than my lips!
Even when the bruising was at its worst, it was still easily covered with lipstick. The day of, and the day after, though, I used lip balm, applied with a cottons swab. I’m pretty paranoid about cleanliness and infection (I used to work in surgery), and wanted to make sure I didn’t get any bacteria into the injection sites. Likely overkill on my part since the needle was so small, but I didn’t want to take any chances.
It’s now been several months, so I’m confident any negative side effects would have shown up by now. The weirdest thing that happened was little tiny looking bumps inside my lips (like the part that’s inside and faces my teeth), but I found out they’re just little glands. They’re so tiny that I couldn’t really get a pic of them. Most of us have them there, I just never looked before…lol. No lumps or hard knots like with some other fillers.
I also noticed my lips aren’t as dry- right after I got the injections, as I mentioned earlier, I was paranoid about bacteria and infections. So, I made a conscious effort not to lick my lips or “roll them” inward. I noticed that they didn’t peel as much or feel chapped, so I kept up with this habit somewhat.
I don’t feel fishy or duck-like, I got exactly what I wanted, and I have ZERO regrets. My good results were confirmed when we ran into my friend, Heather, an esthetician at Ulta in Shreveport. As an esthetician, she has the ability to notice the tiniest little things on faces- and her comment that she noticed my lips were different but did NOT look “done” meant everything in the world to me. Coming from her, this confirmed that my lips were more even without looking fake!
I’m so happy with my results that when the filler starts to dissipate, I’ll definitely go back to Dr. Ball and get it redone. Which brings me to this point- Volbella is quite long-lasting, they say a year, but most people say it’s actually longer- so it’s a better value than the shorter-lived fillers. FYI- Dr. Ball used a single syringe of Volbella XC, and there was a bit left in case I needed a touch-up (I didn’t). The price for this amount is $400.00, which includes the visit and injections, and Dr. Ball does the injecting himself.
If you’re going to be in the central Louisiana area and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ball, call (318) 354-2555, or visit their Facebook page!
PLEASE NOTE: Results vary from person to person, as do side effects. You need to see a qualified provider to determine whether or not Volbella (or any injectable) is right for you. Your doctor may have different recommendations or instructions- always follow your provider’s instructions as they are tailored to his/her own methods and techniques. Prices vary according to provider and region.