The Truth about Dissolving Lip Filler: How It Can Benefit You

Filler is a simple, minimally invasive way to get the lips of your dreams. However, lip filler dissolving is occasionally required to maintain the results and integrity of your lips. 

Many people are surprised to hear that since dissolving is usually associated with botched jobs or changes of heart. But the truth is, as a regular part of your beauty routine, dissolving lip filler ensures you get natural and lasting results every time.

Let’s explore what you need to know before your first session.

What Is Lip Filler Dissolving?

Lip filler dissolving is a simple procedure to remove all or part of a client’s lip filler. The process is fast and safe, and it closely resembles the original lip filling treatment. The difference is that instead of injecting filler, the provider injects an enzyme called hyaluronidase that breaks down the hyaluronic acid filler. 

Why Most Injectors Shy Away from the Topic of Dissolving Lip Filler

Unfortunately, the topic of dissolving lip filler is not as talked about as it should be.


It’s likely because injectors have a difficult time fessing up to their work not being perfect and having to reverse something. But although dissolving can be used to remove poorly injected filler, it’s often necessary just to address naturally occurring filler migration. 

Everyone’s anatomy is completely different, and having to reverse a filler treatment is not just the injector’s fault. To clients, dissolving might suggest something is wrong or they wasted time and money on filler they received in the past. However, it’s worth taking a more positive approach to the idea of dissolving. 

At Ethos MedSpa, we’re committed to being 100% transparent with our clients. We believe injectors should educate patients on the “why” behind filler dissolving, noting that it’s about protecting the integrity of the area. And that’s the approach we take. 

Dissolving existing filler before receiving more injections is an essential and often overlooked step in maintaining the integrity and shape of your lips. In this context, a dissolving session isn’t meant to correct a mistake. It is to make sure the results look the best they possibly can. 

When Is Dissolving Lip Filler Necessary?

Dissolving lip filler is essential for maintaining the integrity and structure of the lips. So, the short answer is that it’s necessary to undergo a dissolving procedure when filler migration (i.e., the shifting of filler beyond the inner or outer border of the lip) occurs, affecting the appearance of your lips. 

As mentioned previously, the lip filler we use at Ethos MedSpa is made of hyaluronic acid, which naturally dissolves at different rates depending on an individual’s metabolism. That’s why clients need follow-up appointments in the first place. It’s about building volume. Once the desired volume is achieved, only yearly maintenance is generally required. 

Ethos MedSpa’s director, Aeron, wearing a mask and performing a lip filler treatment on a female client.

The problem is your body isn’t a machine. This means it’s impossible to predict exactly how fast your metabolism will break down the filler. One client may have no filler left at a one-year follow-up appointment, while another may still have noticeable volume from their last session. 

Because of this, people keep getting filler, which builds up over time. Unfortunately, the lip area is very mobile, as we use it every day. This increases the likelihood of the filler migrating outside of the lip border and into the tissue above the lip. Left unaddressed, the filler can continue to migrate either above the lip or below it past the wet-dry border. 

Some injectors’ assessment skills do not pick this up, and they continue to inject over migrated filler; however, the filler they inject just continues to migrate out of the lip. 

This situation is why it is crucial to go to an educated injector who can continue to assess your lip and inform you if and when you need to dissolve and restart for the benefit of your lips’ integrity. 

What Happens If I Don’t Dissolve My Filler?

As noted above, if you neglect to dissolve lip filler that should be dissolved, the filler will continue to migrate wherever it can. For example…

  • It can migrate outside of the border of the lip into the tissues above and invert the lip. 
  • It can migrate inside the lip at the wet-dry border and create a “gummy worm” effect.

At Ethos MedSpa, our extensive experience with fillers has taught us that the best way to address these issues is to dissolve the filler and reinject the lips. Filler migration does not get better on its own. Dissolving ensures that you wind up with the results you want.

How the Dissolving Process Works

Once you’ve had your lips filled, the dissolving treatment will feel familiar. After preparing your skin by cleansing it, sterilizing the area, and applying a topical numbing agent, a registered nurse will inject small amounts of Hylenex, a hyaluronidase, into the lips. They will then massage the treatment area to help break down the filler. Although there may be some initial swelling, the filler should dissolve in about three days, leaving your lips as they were before any treatment. 

Does Dissolving Filler Hurt?

Dissolving filler can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation. However, at Ethos MedSpa, we dilute the dissolving agent with bacteriostatic normal saline and/or lidocaine to help reduce the burning sensation and provide topical numbing. 

Additionally, we provide each client with an ice pack and educate them on utilizing Tylenol for pain instead of NSAIDs to reduce bruising. 

Is Dissolving Safe?

Yes, dissolving lip filler is safe. At Ethos MedSpa, we prioritize safety over all else. That’s why, for starters, a registered nurse administers all our injectable treatments, taking great care to ensure the process is carried out safely and correctly. 

Additionally, we always do a spot test on the inside of the forearm right under the skin, allowing enough time to pass to determine if the patient experiences an allergic reaction to the enzyme used for dissolving. 

Swelling, bruising, and a slight burning sensation are normal. The swelling subsides within 48 hours, whereas bruising subsides a few days after the treatment. We require that patients come back after two weeks to ensure that they do not need a second dissolving treatment. Also, we require patients to wait four weeks from the date of the last dissolving service before being reinjected with the hyaluronic acid filler, so it is not broken down faster if the enzyme is still active in the tissue. 

How Often Should You Have Lip Filler Dissolved?

Ultimately, it depends on your unique physiology. If you get regular filler treatments and experience some filler migration, the usual time frame is 3 to 5 years. That said, this is a rough estimate. 

If your lips maintain shape and integrity, you can go as long as you want without dissolving lip filler, so long as you and the injector are happy with the results. However, if the injector assesses the lips and notices a migration of filler or abnormal shape, then they will inform you of the need to dissolve and restart. 

In some situations, people may not have their filler dissolved for 10 years or more. But it is more realistic to have filler dissolved around every 5 years if you get lip filler regularly, as this helps protect the integrity of the lip. Once the filler is dissolved, you can restart the “building” process and get a syringe of filler, then get the second syringe roughly 4-6 months later before returning to yearly treatments. 

Dissolving Filler: Part of Your Optimal Plump Lip Routine

Lip filler treatments can help you achieve the perfect pout. However, dissolving lip filler every few years is a worthwhile addition to your beauty routine if you get treatments regularly. That way, you can retain the naturally plump look you desire.

Want to add fullness to your lips safely and effectively? Learn more about our Restylane and Juvederm fillers today!

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