Lip Filler Swelling Stages: What to Expect After Your Procedure

If you’re considering getting lip fillers, one of the concerns you may have is how your lips will look and feel after the procedure. Swelling is a common side effect of lip fillers, but understanding the different stages of swelling can help you prepare for what’s to come. In this article, we’ll discuss the various stages of lip filler swelling, as well as provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

What Causes Swelling After Lip Filler Injections?

Swelling after lip filler injections is a common and expected side effect. It’s caused by a combination of factors related to the injection process and the body’s natural response to it. Here’s what contributes to the swelling:

Trauma from the Injection: The process of injecting a filler into the lips involves piercing the skin with a needle or cannula. This creates a minor injury to the tissues, triggering the body’s natural healing response, which includes inflammation and swelling.

Inflammatory Response: The body perceives the injection as an injury and reacts by sending immune cells and inflammatory mediators to the area. This response is a part of the body’s natural healing process, but it also contributes to swelling, redness, and discomfort.

Volume Expansion: The filler material itself adds volume to the lips by filling up space in the tissue. This expansion of the tissue can lead to immediate swelling as the tissue adjusts to the increased volume.

Fluid Retention: Inflammation and the body’s healing response can lead to an accumulation of fluid in the treated area, causing further swelling. This is similar to the way swelling occurs in response to other types of injuries or irritations.

Vascular Response: The process of injecting the filler can also cause a temporary disruption in blood vessels, leading to minor bleeding or bruising. This can contribute to localized swelling and discoloration.

Individual Variation: Each person’s body responds differently to injections, so the degree of swelling can vary. Some individuals may experience minimal swelling, while others may experience more pronounced swelling

Lip Filler Swelling Stages

Stage 1: Immediate Swelling

Immediately after getting lip fillers, you can expect to experience some level of swelling. This swelling is usually the result of the injection itself and typically subsides within a few hours. During this stage, it’s important to avoid touching or pressing on your lips as much as possible, as this can exacerbate the swelling and cause bruising.

Stage 2: Acute Swelling

The second stage of lip filler swelling typically occurs within the first 24-48 hours after the procedure. This is when the majority of the swelling will occur and your lips will likely be at their most swollen. You may also experience some bruising during this stage. It’s important to continue to avoid touching your lips and to use ice packs or cold compresses to help reduce the swelling.

Stage 3: Subacute Swelling

Subacute swelling occurs from around day 3 to day 7 post-procedure. Your lips should start to feel more comfortable during this stage, but they may still appear slightly swollen. You can continue to use ice packs during this time to help reduce any remaining swelling.

Stage 4: Residual Swelling

Residual swelling refers to any lingering swelling that occurs after the subacute stage. This could last for up to two weeks after your procedure, but usually subsides within a week. At this point, you should be able to see the final results of your lip fillers and any residual swelling should be minimal.

Stage 5: Long-Term Results

After all the swelling has subsided, you’ll be able to enjoy the long-term results of your lip filler procedure. Depending on the type of filler used and other factors such as metabolism, the results can last anywhere from six months to two years.

How to Reduce Swelling After Lip Filler?

Apply Cold Compresses: Applying a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to the treated area can help reduce inflammation and temporarily constrict blood vessels, which may help minimize swelling. Be sure to avoid direct contact between ice and the skin to prevent frostbite.

Elevate Your Head: Keeping your head slightly elevated, especially when sleeping, can help prevent excess fluid from pooling in the treated area, reducing swelling.

Avoid Strenuous Activities: Engaging in strenuous physical activities can increase blood flow to the face, potentially worsening swelling. It’s best to avoid rigorous exercise for at least 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.

Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush excess fluids from your system and aid in reducing swelling.

Avoid Alcohol and Sodium: Alcohol and high-sodium foods can contribute to dehydration and fluid retention, so it’s a good idea to avoid these for a few days after the procedure.

Arnica Gel or Cream: Arnica is a natural remedy known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Applying arnica gel or cream to the treated area may help reduce swelling and bruising.

Avoid Heat and Sun Exposure: Heat and sun exposure can exacerbate swelling. Avoid hot showers, saunas, and direct sunlight for the first couple of days after the procedure.

Avoid Touching or Massaging: Avoid touching, rubbing, or massaging the treated area, as this could exacerbate swelling or affect the distribution of the filler.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: If you’re experiencing discomfort along with the swelling, you can consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, following the recommended dosage.

Give It Time: Swelling is a natural part of the body’s healing process. In most cases, the swelling should subside within a few days to a week. Allow your body the time it needs to heal.

Follow Your Provider’s Instructions: Your medical professional will likely provide you with specific aftercare instructions. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and optimal results.


  1. How long does it take for the swelling to go down after lip fillers? The length of time it takes for swelling to go down varies depending on the individual, but most people experience significant swelling for the first 24-48 hours post-procedure. After that, swelling will gradually decrease over the next week or two.
  2. Can I wear makeup after getting lip fillers? It’s best to avoid wearing makeup on your lips for at least 24 hours after your procedure to prevent infection. Once the initial swelling has gone down, you can resume wearing lipstick or lip gloss as normal.
  3. Will I experience pain or discomfort during the swelling stages? It’s normal to experience some discomfort and sensitivity during the swelling stages. You may also experience some tightness or pressure in your lips. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate any discomfort.
  4. Can I exercise after getting lip fillers? It’s best to avoid strenuous exercise for the first 24-48 hours after your procedure to prevent excessive swelling. After that, you can gradually resume your normal exercise routine.
  5. What should I do if I experience excessive swelling or bruising? If you experience severe swelling or bruising after your lip filler procedure, contact your provider immediately. They may recommend an ice pack or other treatments to help reduce the swelling.


Swelling is a common side effect of lip filler injections, but understanding the different stages of swelling can help you prepare for what’s to come and ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to minimize swelling and discomfort. By following your provider’s post-procedure instructions and being patient during the swelling stages, you can achieve the full results of your lip filler procedure in no time.