In a world of mask-wearing, will lip fillers reign as the UK's most popular filler procedure? (2023)

Post-Covid-19 we’ll experience “a total beauty reset,” trend forecaster Clare Varga, head of WGSN Beauty, tells Bazaar. Aesthetically-speaking, one aspect will be the diverted attention towards areas on display when wearing masks in public, she feels.

“With the lower half of the face covered, the eyes will take on a new importance, with focus on the eyes and brows and bold eye looks used to express individuality.” Cue sales of eye make-up soaring, but as clinics look set to open­ in the coming weeks – while obeying Covid-secure guidelines – what of tweakments?

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The post-lockdown look

Dr Nyla Raja, founder and medical director of Medispa Clinics in London, Cheshire and Liverpool, points out that “the enforced ‘detox’ has allowed patients to reflect and recognise the benefits of the treatments that really work and are worth investing in”. She thinks it’s not necessarily the thought of mask-wearing, but other issues which are giving rise to her clinics “receiving a marked increase in enquiries for the upper face”.

Firstly, without regular muscle relaxing treatments (i.e. Botox), “dynamic and static wrinkles, especially in the upper face, have become much more prevalent,” she says. But there are other reasons we may notice changes in the facial structure more post-lockdown. Prior, many people doubled-down on injectables with non-invasive treatments, such as collagen-stimulating facials utilising radiofrequency, which helps maintain smoother, tighter looking skin. In addition, our off-the-record warmer spring hasn’t helped retain results: “We’ve had increased exposure to UV light, which is well known to cause the degradation of collagen”.

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Plus, as Dr Raja explains, there’s simply the natural ageing process at play, as ever. “As we get older, our facial bones – including our eye sockets, nose and upper jaw – continue to change. For example, the eye sockets enlarge and the angle of the bones beneath our eyebrows decrease, forming wrinkles in the upper face.” Her approach is to tackle all this with a combination of non-surgical tweakments including advanced ultrasound energy treatments such as Ultherapy, along with injectable skin boosters. “Profhilo and Volite will become favourites to kick-start the skin’s collagen production and get the glow back,” she says of hyaluronic acid injectables which work on the condition of the skin.

What does this mean for the UK's most popular dermal filler procedure, the lip job? Dr Sophie Shotter, founder and medical director of Illuminate Skin Clinics, says she doubts we’ll see much of a decline in lip filler requests given our ‘new normal’.

“Most of my patients have treatments for themselves rather than for anyone else – it’s about how they feel when they look in the mirror rather than being about how other people perceive them” – mask or no mask.

“My feeling is that treating the lip area will be as popular as ever – be it for volume, shape or for fine lines around the mouth.” However, she adds that eye treatments are already incredibly popular in her clinics. “I probably treat as many patients for peri-orbital treatments as I do peri-oral. I suspect that if people are prioritising, they will choose eyes over lips, and then do lips at a later date, but they won’t forego them altogether.”

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The big lip dilemma

Beyond popularity, masks pose another problem when it comes to lips: how injectors can safely work on them when a patient isn’t wearing a face covering. Founder of Esho Clinics, Dr Esho – known as ‘the lip doctor’ – says it’s a real cause for concern. “Lips are definitely one of the more high-risk areas to treat on the face due to the area’s vast blood supply,” he explains. Risks include infection, bleeding and tissue necrosis, “but now in a Covid-19 world they pose an additional risk of transmission of the virus through the air between patient and injector.” Despite the presence of PPE, he says this is a real worry for many.

“When treating the upper face, the risk is reduced as the patient can still effectively wear their mask while having Botox and filler injections given anywhere higher than the nose.” Therefore, he expects these to be the first injectable procedures to return when clinics re-open. “But, below this point the mask comes off, and the risk of virus spread, despite the injector wearing PPE, isn’t truly known.”

With 10 years of practice, having performed several thousands of lip filler procedures, Dr Esho has looked at ways to reduce risk in this treatment, while acknowledging that it will never be risk-free, “which should always form part of the consent process”.

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If you’re considering lip filler, Dr Esho reveals how his clinics (in London, Newcastle and Dubai) and clients will participate in practices to stay as safe as possible:

Virtual lip assessments

“Before an appointment, as much assessment of the lips and the dynamics of the peri-oral area should be done via video as well as standardised photos. This will help practitioners build an accurate plan of treatment, which can be shared with patients.”

‘Mask on, mask off’

“The mask should remain on the patient until the point of cleaning and prepping the area to reduce droplet spread. It should then be placed on the patient immediately post-procedure (once they have seen their results). The best masks in this sitting are FFP2/FFP3 masks, and should be worn by both patient and injector wherever possible.”


“Cleaning of the treatment area pre-Covid was always crucial, as lips are a high-risk area for infection. But now, with the more we understand about how the virus colonises the nasal and cavity, additional cleansing of these areas with nasal swabs and mouthwash will be a prerequisite for the pre-procedure preparation.”


“A lip filler procedure can last from five to 15 minutes, so, despite wearing PPE, this is a long time for an injector to be close to a patient without social distancing. Reducing droplet spread during this time is crucial and there are a number of devices now being brought in to help this. Some clinics have opted for specific filters for patients to place in their mouths, while others have used suction devices to sit in front of the patient’s face during the procedure to promote extraction. We have opted for Radic8, an airflow extraction system that filters and kills viruses throughout the air in the entire clinic.”

Post-care: Delayed onset reactions

“One of the rare but known complications of dermal fillers is something known as ‘delayed onset nodules’. This is where an immune reaction is triggered within the body, causing the filler to form hard and painful lumps. With Covid being a new virus, we don’t know what effects it could cause in patients with dermal fillers yet, but it’s crucial to make this part of the consent process and follow up with patients - not just at two weeks-post treatment, but further down the line, to collect data and ensure the safety of all patients.”

Ultimately, as Dr Esho admits, “these procedures are ‘wants’, not ‘needs’ – and patient and injector safety must always come first”.

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The new risk could mean that the way your cosmetic procedures are carried out are simply different, as proposed above, or it could mean postponing lip fillers for the foreseeable.

Pass the eye cream and mascara.

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Why have lip fillers become popular? ›

Lip jobs used to be a rare and risky luxury reserved for the very wealthy, but thanks to today's non-surgical techniques they're more affordable, easily accessible and require minimal downtime. Where there's demand, there's supply, and interest in lip fillers has grown exponentially.

Can you wear a face mask after lip fillers? ›

Face masks should not be kept on for too long after injectables. When wearing a face covering for a significant period of time, the combination of heat and moisture trapping creates the ideal environment for bacterial replication.

How common are lip fillers in the UK? ›

A poll of the VICE UK Snapchat audience reveals that these treatments are viewed as increasingly commonplace among young people. Over half of some 51,000 respondents in the UK (59 percent) said they viewed procedures like lip fillers as comparable to getting a haircut or manicure.

What is the best type of lip filler UK? ›

While Hyaluronic Acid remains the favourite for all the clinics that conduct lip augmentation, several other dermal fillers can be implanted inside our lip and around the mouth to achieve a pre-determined result. HA is a natural substance, which is found inside our body.

Why are lip fillers so popular in the UK? ›

It's an easy and safe procedure

This is impressive considering the results are instant and last up to a year. Another positive that makes fillers the best lip enhancement treatment is that it's non-invasive; just a couple of small injections strategically placed will result in the beautiful lips you're after.

Are lip fillers still popular? ›

But the popularity of lip fillers remains steady, even as celebrities become increasingly open – if not downright sanctimonious – about their decision to have them removed.

Where should you not inject lip fillers? ›

The superior labial artery is larger than the inferior artery and runs along the inferior “wet” border. It has 2-3 branches towards nose including the alar branch and nasal septal. Avoid injecting the wet/dry border on the lower and upper lip.

What makes fillers dissolve faster? ›

Enter: hyaluronidase. Whether it's the lips, under the eyes, in the cheeks, or any of the other areas where HA filler is placed, injecting hyaluronidase can speed up the degradation process and reduce plumpness and/or lumpiness in a matter of days.

What should you not do before lip fillers? ›

What to do before lip filler and dermal filler injections?
  • Avoid Aspirin (ASA, baby aspirin), Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Ibuprofen.
  • Avoid supplements including Omega 3 (fish oil capsules, flaxseed oil, chia, and hemp seeds), Vitamin E, Ginkgo biloba, garlic, ginseng, ginger, St John's wort.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
2 Jul 2021

How often do lip fillers need topping up? ›

How often should you top up lip fillers? If you're wondering “how often should you get lip fillers” then the general advice to follow is, that to maintain the desired size, most patients have to have a top-up procedure every 6-12 months.

Are lip fillers worth it? ›

There are many advantages to lip fillers, including: They're safe, and the lip filler procedure is also safe — there's a low risk of complications or side effects. They can boost your self-esteem. They're reversible.

How often should you get lip fillers? ›

You can get repeat treatments every six months. Scientists have found that hyaluronic acid injections prompt the skin to produce more collagen, creating more natural plumpness in the lips.

What is the most natural looking lip filler? ›

What Lip Fillers Ensure the Natural-Looking Volume and Shape?
  • #1. Juvederm Volbella;
  • #2. Juvederm Ultra XC;
  • #3. Restylane Silk;
  • #4. Restylane Kysse;
  • #5. Radiesse;
  • #6. Bellafill;
  • #7. Belotero Lips Contour;
  • #8. Belotero Lips Shape.

What is the best lip filler that lasts the longest? ›

While the lifespan of dermal fillers can vary considerably between patients, depending on the product, your lifestyle and unique metabolism, Juvederm is the longest-lasting temporary lip filler with results visible for up to a year. Restylane comes in at a close second, with results lasting between 6-10 months.

What is considered the best lip filler? ›

The Most Effective Lip Fillers
  • Juvéderm Ultra and Ultra Plus. Producing amazing results in just one treatment, Juvéderm Ultra and Ultra Plus are used to add volume to thin and fading lips. ...
  • Juvéderm Volbella. ...
  • Juvéderm Vollure. ...
  • Restylane Refyne and Defyne.
15 Nov 2019

Are lip fillers safe UK? ›

Having dermal fillers is usually safe if it's done by an experienced and suitably qualified practitioner. Check the person doing your dermal fillers is on a register to show they meet set standards in training, skill and insurance. Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course.

When did lip injections become a thing? ›

In the 1990s, with the introduction of human collagen lip fillers, lip augmentation finally took off in a big way. But, even then the science was inexact and very expensive. Only the wealthy could afford lip fillers in the 1990s.

When did they start doing lip fillers? ›

The History of Lip Fillers

Liquid silicone was first used for lip augmentation in the 1960s.

When did fillers start? ›

In 1981, bovine collagen was the first agent to be approved by the FDA for cosmetic injection. Since its approval, dozens of injectable filling agents have been developed, and many are already FDA approved for cosmetic use.

What year did lip injections come out? ›

Around 1900, surgeons tried injecting paraffin into the lips without success. Liquid silicone was used for lip augmentation, starting in the early 1960s but was abandoned thirty years later due to fears about the effects of silicone on general health and long term aesthetic outcome.

When did lip augmentation start? ›

Lip augmentation has been described at least as far back as the early 20th century. Miller describes a procedure to evert the lip with multiple small incisions, giving it the appearance of increased size.


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