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Dermal Fillers

How to Treat Cold Sores After Lip Fillers

Lips fillers are generally safe and pose a low risk of complications. In rare cases, cold sores might appear. This article reviews lip fillers and discusses aftercare tips and how to deal with complications like cold sores. 

The use of lip fillers has become increasingly popular these days. Having fuller and plumper lips enhances appearance. Many soft-tissue procedures may have risks. One should get lip treatment from a certified cosmetic doctor to minimize the risk of infections and complications. With lip fillers, though, a person with cold sores can be at risk of getting a recurring infection after getting lip fillers. It is important to discuss the risks with their cosmetic doctor before getting the procedure. Although rare, lip fillers may result in unwanted complications like cold sores.

What are Lip Fillers

Lip fillers are a cosmetic procedure on the lips to make them fuller and plumper. These injections are generally called dermal fillers. Commonly dermal fillers can be done on the cheeks, under the eyes, and lips to give one a younger and fresh look. The most common type of dermal filler used today is hyaluronic acid-based fillers. Though the procedure takes less time and has a low risk of complications, getting the right information from a cosmetic doctor can help minimize and manage any possible complications. One important fact to discuss with your doctor is the risk of getting cold sores. 

General Lip Fillers Aftercare

Aftercare following lip fillers is generally manageable. The cosmetic practitioner will give you instructions to ensure the results are maintained. Knowing what to expect during and after the treatment and managing complications is vital to the process. Swelling, tenderness and bruising is common after lip fillers but are usually minor and go away after a day or two. The following tips help one take care of their lips after treatment.  

· Avoid heavy exercising up to 2 days after getting lip fillers; increased blood pressure from exercises can worsen the swelling and bruise.

· Drink plenty of water to stay dehydrated; this will escalate healing. 

· Avoid high temperatures such as hot water, sauna, and steam rooms; the heat can make the swelling more distinct. 

· Consult your cosmetic doctor to understand which medication you can use to minimize bruising and manage the pain. 

· Do not sleep on your face; try elevating your head with pillows to lessen swelling and reduce pressure on the lips.

· Avoid makeup on the lips for about two days after the procedure. 

Complications after Lip Fillers

The procedure has minor side effects that usually go away within a week. There are, however, other complications that require special attention. These can include intense bruising, swelling, vascular occlusion, lumps, and cold sores. These are discussed below. 

Vascular Occlusion

Cohen et al. (2015) mentioned that vascular compromise happens when the injection enters an artery. The blockage can cause a reduction or stops blood flow to the surrounding tissue and organs such as the eyes. Hyaluronidase is used to reverse the filler in case of such complications. 


De Boulle &Heydenrych (2015) observed that, in some cases, patients develop lumps after getting lip fillers. Clumping and bumps can occur at injection points. Hyaluronidase is used to manage the filler if caused by hyaluronic acid-based lip fillers. The doctor will treat the lumps with an anti-inflammatory injection if the lumps are caused by inflammation.

Intense Bruising and selling

Though a common occurrence that goes away after the procedure, one should consult a cosmetic doctor if bruising and swelling go beyond a week and is not showing any improvement. 

Cold Sores

Cold sores are a potential side effect after lip fillers for patients who have had them in the past. The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores. Chi et al.(2015) explained that cold sores are characterized by a blister or a group of them on the lips or around the mouth. Lip fillers do not cause cold sores; however, they may trigger an outbreak, especially if one already has the herpes simplex virus. During the consultation, a cosmetic doctor will ask about one’s health history. It is important for someone who has had cold sores to mention this to the practitioner so they know how to deal with the situation. 

Are Cold Sores Common after Lip Fillers

Cold sores are rare and have less serious complications after the fillers. The risk can be reduced further if one discusses their history of cold sores with the cosmetic doctor before the procedure. Once a patient contracts the herpes simplex virus, it does not leave the body; the fillers only act as triggers for the conditions. King (2017) explained that in the case of lip fillers, reactivation could be triggered by direct damage to the nerve by the injection. However, the risk of cold sores infection after lip fillers is minimal and preventable.

Dealing with Cold Sores after Lip Fillers

Cosmetic doctors prescribe antiviral medication a few days before the procedure to minimize the risk of getting cold sores. The anti-virus prevents a flare of the virus. This precaution is important even if someone is not experiencing cold sores symptoms before the procedure. Cold sores take several days up to weeks to heal, and it is best to seek a doctor’s guidance. Follow-up visits to the cosmetic doctor to the development over time. 

FAQs about Lip Fillers

What Is the Difference Between Dermal Fillers and Lip Fillers?

Lip fillers are a subset of dermal fillers specifically used to increase lip volume and enhance their shapes and symmetry. Other categories of dermal fillers include cheek fillers and eye trough fillers.

Are Pregnant Women at Higher Risk of a Cold Sore from Lip Fillers?

There is limited data on the impact of dermal fillers among pregnant and lactating mothers. A fair amount of data shows that cosmetic procedure is not recommended for pregnant women. 


Lips are one of the distinctive features of one’s face. Most patients turn to lip fillers to enhance their lips’ volume, symmetry, and shape. However, certain complications after getting lip fillers can make the situation uncomfortable. Cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus are like to occur if one has a history of the condition. Therefore, discussing one’s medical history with the cosmetic doctor before getting lip filler is important. A cosmetic doctor will prescribe antiviral medication a few weeks or days before the procedure; this prevents an outbreak of cold sores and minimizes the risks of a complication. 


Chi, C. C., Wang, S. H., Delamere, F. M., Wojnarowska, F., Peters, M. C., &Kanjirath, P. P. (2015). Interventions for prevention of herpes simplex labialis (cold sores on the lips). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (8).

Cohen, J. L., Biesman, B. S., Dayan, S. H., DeLorenzi, C., Lambros, V. S., Nestor, M. S., … & Sykes, J. (2015). Treatment of hyaluronic acid filler–induced impending necrosis with hyaluronidase: consensus recommendations. Aesthetic surgery journal, 35(7), 844-849.

De Boulle, K., & Heydenrych, I. (2015). Patient factors influencing dermal filler complications: prevention, assessment, and treatment. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 205.

King, M. (2017). Prophylaxis and treatment of herpetic infections. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 10(1), E5.

Lemperle, G., Rullan, P. P., & Gauthier-Hazan, N. (2006). Avoiding and Treating Dermal Filler ComplicationsTable 1. Classification of US Food and Drug Administration–Approved Injectables. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 118(3S), 92S-107S.

Nataly Komova
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