There I was, lying on the bed, waiting to be stabbed by the needle once again. My skin pierced apart, and in came the clear gel, oozing into my lips. The blood tickled as it dripped down my chin, and after what felt like a thousand mini stabs, I was ready for the results. I sat up, reached out for the mirror and what I saw sent shivers through my body, my skin felt pricklier now than it had done when the needle was protruding my skin. I looked like a circus clown, I politely smiled and said thanks, transferred the £99 and caught the bus home.
It’s been over a year now, and I’ve had my lips filled four times. It’s safe to say, I have caught the bug. I’m not alone with my addiction, walking down the streets, especially in the bigger cities like Manchester and Liverpool, it’s expected to have the perfected pout rather than au naturel.
Social media is flooded with dolled up celebrities, who have blown out lips and jawlines that are sharp as knives, so of course us normal folk are willing to try anything to achieve the look. In fact, a study by Mintel in 2018 proved that 46% of people in the UK agree that social media has encouraged non-surgical procedures like dermal fillers.
When I was researching prior to getting my lips done the first time, all I wanted to find was the cheapest place with an appointment soon. I typed into the Facebook search bar ‘lip filler offers Manchester,’ and the top places were charging over £200, and on a student budget, that was far too expensive. I sieved through the results, and I stumbled across a beautician based in Bolton, who was offering 1.1ml of filler for £99. I sent a direct message to her Instagram account, and within eight hours I was in the chair being injected.
In hindsight, I didn’t research half as much as I should, bearing in mind I let a stranger inject a potentially poisonous substance into my face. Today’s sophisticated fillers are usually made of Hyaluronic Acid, however, according to Save Face, 84% of patients in the UK didn’t know what products were being used during their treatment or how they were sourced.
Recently I visited Michelle Griffiths, an advanced nurse practitioner, who also practises aesthetics on the side. Michelle explained that “the law currently allows anyone to inject anybody”.
She continued, “You can buy filler from eBay for £60 which is very concerning that anyone could buy it today, it’d arrive tomorrow, and you could ask your friend to inject you. This can be dangerous as they wouldn’t know the anatomical structure of the lips and know where the arteries are, and more importantly not knowing what to do if they [had] injected into an artery.”
The results of not executing the procedure can cause massive trauma to the lip, Michelle explained: “If you cut off the blood supply in your lip, you have the potential for necrosis which is the lip dying. The only way to reverse this is to unblock the artery, but usually this leaves you with some gangrenous areas where they could have to cut out your lip.”
By taking precautions and ensuring you go to a trained medical professional, the likelihood of complications is reduced most definitely. However, one lady from the Manchester area had a nightmare experience when deciding to get her lips filled despite taking on this advice. This is her story.
“I was thinking about getting my lips done for over a year, so I did my research and found a lady who was also an NHS nurse who had amazing reviews and was well known in the area. I booked in with her, paid my deposit and I felt secure in my decision. When I arrived, the lady was lovely and had all of her certificates on the wall. We had a consultation and I told her I only wanted 0.5ml of Revolax filler as I wanted to keep them natural looking.”
After everything appeared to be run in a professional manner and all of her concerns had been ironed out, she decided to continue the process.
“We went through my medical history and I filled a form stating any medical problems, allergies and any medication I was on. After signing, the lady made sure I was 100% good to go and I was comfortable and relaxed. To start off she put numbing cream on my lips, and we waited for ten minutes, she explained that you can react to the numbing cream, but it’d never happened to any clients of hers. After getting the injections I was so in love with my lips.”
Immediately after the procedure, the initial results were great and better than she could have imagined, but this was short-lived.
“When I got home, my lips started to swell up. I messaged the lady and she told me it was normal and to stop worrying, but throughout the night my lips grew bigger and bigger until I couldn’t close my mouth and I started struggling to swallow. I messaged the lady and she told me it could be a reaction to the numbing cream and told me to go to the hospital.
“I got seen at the hospital straight away and the doctors told me it was a reaction to the numbing cream. They told me that lip fillers are dangerous, even if they are done by a professional. I was given steroids and antihistamines throughout the night as the doctors wanted to ensure I wasn’t going into anaphylactic shock.
“My lips went down after three days and I will never get lip fillers again. There needs to be more talk about how bad lip fillers are. My practitioner was an NHS nurse and a professional in filler, but she wasn’t the problem. It was me. You never know how your body will react to filler, it’s so dangerous.”
If you have ever experienced any unusual side effects from dermal fillers, then the NHS urge you to report them through the Yellow Card Scheme website. By reporting side effects, you’re providing valuable information about the safety of the product used.