fill er up

How Do You Remove Lip Fillers?

Photo: kyliejenner/Instagram

Is there an “undo” function for lip filler? It turns out there is, at least according to Kylie Jenner. Over the weekend, the person responsible for “What are lip fillers?” becoming a 2015 top Google query told the public via a comment on her own Instagram that she “got rid of all my fillers” — leading people to wonder how. To find out just that, the Cut talked to dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman.

What Is Filler?

The most popular type of dermal filler is made of hyaluronic acid and approved by the FDA (silicone is not approved for filler use). Hyaluronic acid is everywhere around you. It’s a natural carbohydrate or sugar, and can be found lubricating your joints and eyes. It’s also the same acid that’s in your face cream because it’s moisturizing and attracts water, to give a bouncy, filled-out effect to skin (or to plump up lips beyond the possibilities of mere lip liner).

How Do You “Undo” Fillers?

According to Dr. Engelman, fillers can last up to a year, and they can be dissipated in two ways. The natural way is that over time, your body metabolizes the hyaluronic acid, since it’s a sugar and not a foreign body. The metabolism rate differs for reasons not completely yet understood. “Some people just run through it a lot more. I’ve had some patients do their smiles lines and we won’t have to do it again for five years,” explains Dr. Engelman.

Lifestyle can also have an effect. For example, if you’re a talking head on radio or TV, your lip filler may be absorbed more quickly by the body, since you’re using the muscles around where you got filled more.

The most immediate way to “undo” lip filler is through an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which breaks down hyaluronic acid. Dr. Engelman calls this a “beauty safety net.” Fillers are one of the few injectibles with an immediate antidote, she says — for example, there’s no “undo” equivalent for Botox.

Can You “Undo” Fillers Immediately?

Yes, pretty much — hyaluronidase can deflate your fillers like a balloon. “You can almost see it going down. Within 24 hours, it will be completely dissolved, which is so much fun,” she explains.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Not really. You’ll have some side effects resulting from the needle, including pain, bruising, and swelling. “There aren’t any specific effects to the enzyme,” says Dr. Engelman.

So Is That What Kylie Got Done?

Sort of. Confirming the suspicions of Twitter, Dr. Engelman’s professional opinion is that “it’s definitely not all gone.” While the filler may have been dissolved, there still appears to be some remaining plumpness not achievable through just the usage of Kylie Cosmetics.

Dr. Engelman suspects that, in order for Jenner to originally achieve her lip-volume increase, she may have used more than just filler: Jenner may have originally gotten a collagen implant followed by filler. (This would consist of “tiny sheets that you put in, followed by filler on top of it,” she says.)

So there you have it. If a Google search for “How to undo lip fillers” starts trending for 2018, we’ll know why.

How Do You Get Rid of Lip Fillers?