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Lip Filler Mustache: How It Happens and How to Make It Go Away

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Dr. Hardik Soni

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Is Your Lip Filler Giving You a Creepy Mustache? Find Out How to Fix It Fast

Have you noticed an unwanted shadow or darkness above your lips after getting lip injections? This dreaded “lip filler mustache” can be an alarming side effect. If your plumped pout has taken an awkward turn, don’t panic. 

Read on to learn what to expect after lip filler and how to handle any less-than-ideal results.

Revive aging lips with beautifully subtle enhancements and precise reshaping at Ethos Spa. Book a lip filler appointment today!

Do Lip Fillers Cause a Shadow Effect Above the Top Lip?

Lip fillers can cause a shadow effect above the top lip, known as a “lip filler mustache,” due to improper injection technique, anatomical factors, and other causes.

Based on our experience, overfilling the upper lip beyond what is required to achieve your desired fullness can cause excess filler material to spread beyond the vermillion border. 

This creates a ledge-like effect above the lip that casts an obvious shadow resembling a mustache. Has this ever happened to you after getting a bit too enthusiastic with the filler amounts?

Injecting filler too superficially under the thin skin above your lip also allows the material to be visible under the surface, contributing to shadowing. Based on Dr. Soni’s observations, this occurs when:

  • Filler is placed too superficially under the thin skin above your lip
  • Allows the filler to be visible under the surface, casting a shadow

Using thick, dense filler products or large particle fillers increases the risk of lumpiness and irregularities that can create unnatural shadows. According to Dr. Soni, thick, viscous fillers or large particle fillers have an increased risk of:

  1. Lumpiness and irregularities. The thicker filler material can create visible bumps and uneven areas under your skin surface.
  2. Unnatural shadows. These lumps and irregularities cast obvious shadows and dark spots, contributing to a noticeable demarcation line and a mustache effect. The dense filler doesn’t distribute smoothly or naturally.

Poor injection technique such as depositing too much filler in one area can lead to lumpiness and irregular shaping, also causing unnatural shadows. Have you ever noticed any lumps or bumps after your lip filler treatment?

Injecting into scar tissue from previous filler or other trauma can make smooth, even distribution of filler difficult. This leads to imperfections and dark spots.

  • Repeatedly over-correcting by adding more and more filler over time often backfires, increasing risks of an irregular, lumpy surface and shadowing, based on our experience.
  • Anatomical factors like a naturally thin upper lip or philtrum can also make any shadowing above the lip more noticeable.
  • Younger patients tend to have thinner skin overall, so there is a higher risk of seeing the filler material under the surface, resulting in dark shadows forming above the lip.

What Causes the Migration of Lip Filler into the Mustache Area?

lip filler treatment

The mustache effect involves filler material moving into the philtral columns, the indentation between your upper lip and nose. This gives a shadowy, darker look resembling a mustache.

According to Dr. Soni, the migration happens due to copious amounts of filler being placed too high and superficial. The plumping pressure of adding volume where it doesn’t belong pushes the material upwards.

Facial muscles also play a role. The levator labii superioris muscle attaches the upper lip to the nose. When this and other muscles around the mouth contract, they can essentially squeeze filler into the mustache zone.

Over time, the migrated filler may clump together to create a visible line under the nostrils. Gravity can worsen this effect. While mild filler migration often resolves within a few weeks, significant migration is harder to reverse.

Can Lip Filler Change the Color of Your Lips?

When performed properly and in appropriate amounts, lip filler should not inherently change the natural color of your lips. However, Dr. Soni notes there are some temporary color changes that can occur:

  • Bruising from the injections may cause bluish or purple discoloration that resolves within a week or two.
  • Swelling right after the procedure can give the lips a lighter red tone initially.
  • Irritation and inflammation from the injections can also turn the lips slightly redder for the first few days.

Aside from these short-term effects, lip filler itself does not alter the actual color or pigmentation of the lips. Any major color change would signify a complication like vascular occlusion, but this is extremely rare with an experienced injector.

Is your lip filler looking not quite right? Book a filler fix appointment now!

Can Lip Filler Change the Shape of My Lips?

Yes, properly placed dermal filler can change the shape of your lips. One of the goals of lip filler is reshaping the lips for a more desirable, symmetrical appearance. 

According to Dr. Soni, the degree of shape change depends on factors like:

  • Amount of filler injected
  • Injection sites and technique
  • Filler type and thickness
  • Your initial lip shape and structure

With a conservative amount of filler, you may see a subtle enhancement and balancing of your natural lip shape. But in skilled hands, lip fillers can transform the size and shape of lips dramatically. 

The provider’s injection precision and artistic eye are key to achieving beautiful, natural-looking results.

Do Lip Fillers Make Your Lips Feel Different?

Lip fillers can make your lips feel different or unusual for a period of time after the procedure. Immediately after the procedure, swelling is common as the tissues adjust to the increased volume. 

  • The swelling may make your lips feel tight, firm, and uncomfortable. But it usually resolves within a few days. 
  • Numbness from the local anesthetic can also make your lips tingle or feel odd as the numbness wears off. Tenderness, soreness, and bruising from the injections are also common initially. This discomfort usually improves within a few days.

In the days and weeks after lip fillers, you may notice some altered sensations in your lips:

  • Many patients report their lips feel funny or different in the days after treatment. This is often due to swelling compressing the nerve endings. As the swelling decreases, this altered feeling typically goes away.
  • The filler material can make your lips feel stiff, tight, and less elastic. You may notice this especially when moving your mouth to talk or smile. This usually improves over time as your body adjusts to the filler.
  • Some patients are very aware of the filler material in their lips for the first few weeks. Your lips may feel foreign or artificial during this time. But this awareness typically diminishes.

The bottom line? Some odd or uncomfortable sensations in your lips are normal during the lip filler healing process, says Dr. Soni. With patience, these feelings should resolve within the first couple of weeks.

Can Lip Fillers Fix Uneven Lips Without Creating a Filler Mustache?

Lip fillers can fix uneven lips without creating a “filler mustache” through precise injection techniques and correct placement. Proper technique and placement are critical based on our experience.

Uneven lips are very common and can be caused by genetics, aging, muscle activity, trauma, or other factors. While slight asymmetry is normal, more significant cases can impact confidence or function.

Lip fillers containing hyaluronic acid are often used to add subtle volume and fullness to deficient areas. This helps balance out uneven lips. 

Precise, strategic injection techniques allow small adjustments to shape and proportions on each side. When performed by an expert, this can evenly enhance lips without dramatically increasing overall volume or fullness.

However, improper filler placement carries risks of lumps, bumps, migration, and a shadow or line above the lip resembling a “mustache.” This often results from injecting too superficially in the upper lip or overfilling the central part.

To prevent a mustache shadow, experts like Dr. Soni recommend:

  • Injecting deeper into the lip itself rather than just under the skin
  • Avoiding the middle upper lip and focusing on the outer edges/vermillion border
  • Using conservative amounts of filler
  • Massaging thoroughly after injection
  • Having an experienced, skilled injector perform the procedure

Will a Lip Filler Mustache Go Away with Time?

lip filler treatment

A lip filler mustache caused by migrated filler material often requires some type of corrective treatment and does not fully resolve on its own, according to Dr. Soni.

The filler naturally dissipates over time as your body metabolizes it. You may notice mild improvement in a subtle mustache shadow over several months as the product gradually decreases. However, allowing complete natural resolution often takes too long.

Corrective Treatments

For significant filler migration and mustache shadowing, Dr. Soni often recommends corrective treatments to speed removal:

  1. Hyaluronidase injections can actively dissolve hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm or Restylane used in most procedures. This accelerates elimination of the migrated filler.
    A clinical trial by Alam et al. showed that small doses of hyaluronidase (1.5-9 units) could effectively and safely remove small quantities of hyaluronic acid filler without removing the entire implant.
    This allows minor asymmetries after filler injection to be corrected conveniently over multiple sessions.
  2. Multiple dissolving sessions are usually needed to fully eliminate the mustache effect.

Simply removing all the migrated filler may reveal:

  • Loose, sagging skin
  • Wrinkles
  • Other signs of aging

Those are stretched out by excessive filler over time. Additional procedures like laser skin resurfacing or skin tightening treatments are often beneficial to fully restore the lip and philtrum area after significant filler migration.

Prevention Is Ideal

Preventing migration and mustache shadowing in the first place remains best. Proper injection technique, conservative filler amounts, and an experienced injector like Dr. Soni reduce the chances of migration. But even in skilled hands, minor migration can rarely occur.

Patience Is Needed

Correcting migrated filler takes patience, as the process takes weeks to months through natural or active removal. Avoiding over-correction of any shadowing is crucial. Let Dr. Soni develop a customized treatment plan if you develop signs of lip filler complications.

Give your lips the kiss of youth! Enhance their natural beauty with our personalized lip filler treatments. Book a lip filler consultation with us today!

Dr. Hardik Soni

MD, Founder/Lead Physician

About Dr. Hardik Soni

Dr. Hardik Soni is the founder and Medical Director of Ethos Aesthetics + Wellness. His primary focus is on minimally invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures including botulinum injection (Botox and Dysport), dermal fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse), laser hair removal, chemical peels, and laser skin rejuvenation. Dr. Soni believes in a more conservative approach and his first goal is education. Clients are able to determine the ideal treatments after discussion with Dr. Soni regarding the expected outcomes, cost, as well as risks.

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