Non-surgical Procedures

Why the lip filler standard is too much

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic doctor, liposuctionist)

Templestowe Lower, Berwick and Beaumaris Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2005, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More

With lips being widely regarded as a symbol of your sensuality, it makes sense that augmenting them with dermal filler would be a good thing. However, according to Dr Gavin (MBBS, Cosmetic Doctor, Liposuctionist) the lip filler standard is excessive, where there is too much lip filler that it no longer suits the face. He asks, “Why are cosmetic practitioners filling lips with dermal filler, then refilling them after 6 months when they know it doesn’t look good?” 

Perhaps the answer lies with guidelines provided by some dermal injectables manufacturers. They indicate that dermal injections last for 6 months and that 1mL of dermal lip injections should be used for the lips. However, it is our philosophy that injecting 1ml of filler in patients’ lip area every 6 months is excessive. Read on to find out why.

How do I know if I need lip fillers?

If your lips are naturally quite thin or if they are getting thinner with age, you might be considering lip fillers. Some people might also like the look of more fuller lips or feel that it’ll suit their facial structure better.

Lip fillers may not suit your face if you have very delicate features or a small chin, or if your features are already very proportionate.

A consultation with a practitioner can help you determine whether or not lip augmentation is suitable for you. It can also tell you how much filler you will need to achieve the best results for your face.

What is the normal amount of lip filler?

In our professional opinion, we recommend using 1mL for the whole face if you are treating multiple areas, such as lip injections and nose filler.

If you are just having your lips done, you may be tempted to use the entire 1mL syringe in one visit but we would advise against this. A better option is to use small amounts over the course of multiple sessions. This will result in a more gradual lip enhancement that doesn’t require touch-ups as frequently.

Our practitioners will discuss how much lip filler they plan to use in your initial consultation. Our goal is to achieve a natural look that restores balance to your face.

How long does lip filler last?

If you’ve been getting your lips filled every 6 months or so, you may want to reconsider this regime. Dr Gavin Chan and Dr Mobin Master used MRI scans to determine how long dermal fillers actually last in your body. They discovered that dermal fillers last a lot longer than the 6 to 18 months manufacturers suggest. In some patients, dermal injectable treatments can last for up to a decade and can even migrate to other areas of your face. 

Dr Gavin Chan explains, “when dermal filler is injected into the vermillion (the red part) of your lip, it’s a very small space and is subject to muscle contractions when you talk, chew and smile. This dermal lip treatment can migrate out of your lip area into the area above your lip. When this happens, you’ll think the lip filler has gone, and probably want to get some more. But this is not the solution. The lip injection hasn’t gone, it’s just hiding above your lip.”

Based on the MRI scan studies, Dr Gavin Chan believes, “the frequency of lip injections should be several years apart, not 6 months apart. While 1mL dermal injections seems to be the standard amount that most cosmetic practitioners inject into lips, it’s way too much.”

Find out more about this groundbreaking MRI dermal filler study.

What happens if you overfill your lips?

A common consequence of too much lip filler is that the filler can migrate or ‘bleed’ into other areas of your face. This can result in small lumps or raised areas around the initial treated area. Overfilling your lips can also cause excessive bruising, discolouration or discomfort.

Why some celebrities are having their lip dermal fillers dissolved

Dr Gavin Chan explains that over the last year or so, a new trend has developed where celebrities and influencers have been getting their lip fillers dissolved. Too much filler causes the wrong areas of the lips to puff up.

The reversal of lip fillers can be achieved using an enzyme called Hyaluronidase which catalyses the breakdown of the dermal injection. When this is undertaken by an expert injector, your lips will look more natural and in proportion to your face again. In terms of the amount of filler used during your lip augmentation, it’s important to note that big lips aren’t always better. Using too much filler is also more likely to produce an ‘overdone’ or unnatural look. 

Find out more about Dr Gavin Chan’s 6 S’s of creating attractive lips with dermal filler.

How do you prevent lip filler complications?

The best way to prevent lip injection complications is to go to an experienced practitioner and be specific about the look you want. The practitioner will discuss how much lip filler they think is right for you. You should also make sure that you follow all pre and post-treatment recommendations, such as avoiding blood thinners and harsh topical ingredients.

Go to a licensed injector

The first and most important precaution you should take is to go to a reputable, medically licensed injector. Experienced practitioners will be able to use cannulas and needles for dermal injections and will follow strict guidelines that ensure your well-being.

Cosmetic procedures should be tailored to the individual because different patients may require different amounts of filler. A doctor with experience will be able to attend to your specific needs and make the treatments look as natural as possible for your facial proportions.

Avoid overfilling

You should discuss the results you are looking to achieve with your practitioner. There is no ‘standard look’ when it comes to shaping lips with lip injections because everyone has different facial anatomy. Even though dermal injections usually come in 1mL syringes, you should avoid using the entire syringe in one appointment.

Have an initial consultation with your practitioner

An initial consultation is essential for any cosmetic treatment. Your practitioner will make sure you understand what is involved in the procedure and will answer any questions that you may have. This may include how to prepare for the augmentation, how much filler is needed, what aftercare is like and whether you require regular touch ups.

How do you know if lip filler has gone wrong?


Bruising occurs when blood vessels are broken or punctured by the needle. A little bit of bruising is common but severe bruising can be a sign of poorly injected filler.

Bruising rarely causes serious complications, but in some cases it may cause a hematoma. A hematoma is a pooling of blood under the skin which can cause damage to surrounding tissue.


Necrosis refers to the death of tissue due to reduced blood flow. Necrosis can occur as a result of lip filler if the injection is preventing blood flow to the tissue or if the injection damages the tissue directly.

Necrosis can cause side effects such as severe pain, paleness and discolouration. Necrosis can lead to scarring if not treated quickly, so you should notify your doctor of any unusual symptoms immediately.


Blindness is a very rare but very severe potential complication of lip fillers. The cause of blindness is similar to that of necrosis – when a blood vessel is blocked and cannot transport oxygen and nutrients to the central retinal artery. If you experience any visual loss, notify a doctor immediately because treatment will need to be administered within 90 minutes to avoid long lasting and potentially irreversible damage.


Lumps often occur as a result of incorrect technique – such as overfilling or injecting too roughly. Sometimes the type of filler used can also result in lumpiness if it is too thick. Lumps could also be a sign of an allergic reaction.

Usually lumps can be massaged out, but if this doesn’t work the filler may need to be dissolved. Hyaluronic acid fillers can be dissolved using a substance called Hyaluronidase.

Where to get the best lip filler in Melbourne?

When it comes to getting lip filler injections, Dr Gavin Chan cautions against using the entire 1mL of dermal filler in your lip area. Instead, ask the cosmetic practitioner to use some of the 1mL of filler in your lips and the rest in other areas of your face. 

Dr Gavin Chan notes, “when this approach to dermal treatment is taken, you’ll have less issues with the migration of the filler to above your lip line. By using the smallest amount of filler possible in your lips, the cosmetic practitioner will be able to achieve a balance in proportion between your upper and lower lip and also between your lips and the rest of your face.” See how Dr Gavin Chan only uses 1mL filler for the entire face. 

It’s important to note that having dermal filler injections to enlarge your lips may not suit the balance and proportion of your face. When cosmetic practitioners and patients exercise their aesthetic judgement to inject into your lips, the outcome will be natural and balanced looking. As Dr Gavin Chan says, “remember with all cosmetic procedures if you can tell that something’s been done it’s not a good treatment.” 

Since 2005 Dr. Gavin Chan and his team of highly trained and experienced cosmetic doctors and nurses have been treating patient’s lips using dermal fillers. They’ll discuss the most appropriate treatment solution for you in your initial consultation, which you can book online today. To book your dermal injection lip treatment, call our helpful and friendly customer service team on 1300 863 824.