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A Dermatologist Explains How Dissolving Lip Fillers (Like Kylie Jenner’s) Actually Work

(Source: www.racked.com)

Kylie Jenner is currently in the news because the success of her cosmetics company has put her on track to become the youngest “self made” billionaire, but the 20-year-old recently made headlines for an altogether different reason — her lips. To be exact, her lip fillers.

On Monday, the Shade Room captured an exchange Jenner had with a fan on Instagram. The fan wondered why Jenner looked like “the old Kylie” in a new post. “I got rid of all my filler,” Jenner replied.

That admission, however, has led to some head scratching. While Jenner’s lips in the picture look noticeably smaller than they used to be, they don’t look as thin as they did before she turned to cosmetic procedures to enhance them. So, just how long does it take for fillers to dissolve? Racked reached out to Dr. Seemal R. Desai, founder and medical director of Innovative Dermatology in Texas, for answers.

Since fillers can be made from a variety of substances, there’s no hard and fast rule about how long they take to dissolve. But the softer hyaluronic acid-based fillers “are typically ones that last between six months or even up to a year,” said Desai, who also serves as president of the Skin of Color Society.

That’s the precise time frame commenters on the Celebitchy website, which covers celebrity gossip, gave about how long it took for their fillers to disappear. “When I had filler it was about six months before it wasn’t noticeable anymore,” remarked one commenter. “My injections are basically gone after six months,” said another.

In some cases, though, patients might want their fillers to rapidly degrade. This happens when too much filler has been injected, often giving a person a blowfish look. When that occurs, doctors turn to an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which can dissolve hyaluronic acid-based fillers, Desai explained.

Kylie Jenner

“One example is injecting the lips and trying to give a patient more fuller lips, which can sometimes lead to the lines being overfilled and not creating an optimal aesthetic result,” he said. “In this case, hyaluronidase can be used to dissolve the actual filler. It is important to note that the enzyme may not fully dissolve every single ‘piece’ of the filler but can be used in situations to make the results look better.”

But Desai says that he uses hyaluronidase sparingly. He prefers to undercorrect when patients see him to revise filler jobs. If, in about two weeks, there still appears to be much too filler, he’ll inject a bit more of the enzyme. He recommends always seeing a board-certified dermatologist to avoid the need for a correction in the first place.

While fillers can be an attractive option for patients seeking to plump their lips or other parts of the face, like “marionette” lines around the mouth, they’re not cheap. The cost can range from $500 to $1,000, depending on the type of filler, the amount used, and the region where the patient gets treatment. Juvederm Ultra, Juvederm Volbella, Restylane, and Belotero are some of the most popular fillers, according to Desai.

But do fillers ever really go away? After six months to a year, can patients expect to have their old facial features back? Or, in Kylie Jenner’s case, will her lips look as thin as they once did? The answer isn’t 100 percent certain.

“In general, hyaluronic acid fillers will completely degrade to some degree,” Desai said. “There have been studies, however, that have shown some small residual amount of filler occasionally being left over even after the majority has been dissolved.”

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