Everything you need to know about lip filler migration, as told by the experts

The what, the why, and how to prevent it

Lip Filler Migration Listing GettyImages-1312077356
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you’re a regular user of lip filler or considering getting the treatment in the future, you’ll most likely have heard about lip filler migration and the risk it can have on the appearance of your pout. Usually occurring in the area between the nose and mouth (known as the philtrum) lip filler migration occurs when filler extends beyond the edges of your lips, creating a permanently puckered up look. While it won’t have any harmful effects, you’ll want to avoid it to ensure your lips look as natural as possible. 

While the unwanted side effect can happen to anyone (singer Jojo took to social media last year to talk about her filler migration troubles), knowing as much as you can about why it happens can help in lessening your chances of it occurring. So, with this in mind, we asked some of the biggest names in the aesthetics industry the most important questions surrounding lip filler migration including what causes it and what to do if you’ve found yourself with migrating lip filler. Keep scrolling for their expert advice…


♬ original sound - iamjojoofficial

What is lip filler migration?

“Lip filler migration is the movement of filler, [where the] water retention around the filler [transfers] to the tissue outside of the lips,” says Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, GP and Award-Winning Aesthetician who performs aesthetic treatments like polynucleotidesinjections and under-eye botox from his clinic in Mayfair, London, “People usually describe it as a shelf-like shadow above the lip.” 

Why does lip filler migrate?

According to Dr Devine, aesthetics doctor and founder of Carriages of Harley Street, there are three main reasons why your lip filler may migrate. Firstly, “when too much filler is injected.” This can cause the filler to migrate beyond the border of the lips creating an unwanted “shelf or beak-like appearance.” 

The second reason filler can migrate, says Dr Devine, is when “too thick a dermal filler is used.” Your practitioner should advise you on the amount of filler required to achieve your desired look while minimizing the chance of migration. 

The third reason why lip filler migration may occur is “when the technique used to inject the filler breaks the lip border,” says Dr Devine. Dr Muntaser elaborated on this by teling us, "When you look at your lips the [colour at the] edge changes from red to white. Sometimes, when people want to define the margins or the borders of the lips, they end up injecting in the white area however this means, technically, the filler is outside the lip which makes it more likely to migrate.”

Dr Muntaser also added a fourth reason why your filler may migrate and this unfortunately is one that cannot be preempted, “Number four is just bad luck,” he added, “sometimes it just happens.” 

So, if you unfortunately have found your filler is migrating, you'll most likely be wondering how to fix it. Thankfully the experts have some advice on that front too. 

How do you prevent lip filler migration? 

“You dissolve it,” says Dr Muntaser, “The great thing is, it's actually not that difficult to treat. Sometimes people build it up, particularly on social media, into this huge deal, but actually, if you know what you're doing, you can resolve it.” 

And Dr Devine agrees, “Luckily lip filler migration is easily treated with hyalase, an enzyme that breaks down the filler over a few hours. This is a prescribed medicine and comes with risks so always see a medical professional if considering this treatment.” 

What aftercare should you be doing following lip filler? 

While aftercare won't necessarily help with lip filler migration, ensuring you care for it as advised following treatment will ensure your lip filler stays looking its best.

"Every clinic will have their own particular after care advice but it’s usually similar," says Dr Devine, "After care following lip filler with me is simple.  No need to massage the area. I would have done that for you in clinic.  All you need to do is avoid skin products or make up for six hours after treatment to avoid infection. And finally enjoy your results!" 

Dr Muntaser advises, "No alcohol, no gym, no sauna, no sex. Just try and avoid anything that involves the oral cavity. Try to avoid trauma to the lip and avoid anything hot or anything too cold."

So, there you have it, everything you need to know about lip filler migration. Remember if you are thinking of having lip filler the most important thing is to choose an aesthetics doctor you can trust who will be able to advise on the treatment and answer any further questions you may have. Dr Muntaser backs this up as he told us, "You must really do homework about them, ask any questions that may concern you and ensure you understand everything about the procedure." And remember, if migration does occur, don't be afraid to speak to a professional for further advice and treatment. 

Jazzria Harris
Freelance Fashion & Beauty Writer

Jazzria Harris is a freelance fashion and beauty journalist with over 8 years experience working in the industry. At just 4ft 11, she’s an expert in petite dressing and previously wrote the column Jazz’s Short Stories giving tips and advice on dressing for petite proportions. Her wardrobe staples are a great black blazer, a hardworking slip skirt and of course a great pair of heels (for the extra inches, of course). Jazz has written for publications including ELLE UK, heat magazine, Eliza, Women & Home and more.