What to Do If a ‘Lip Flip’ Leaves Your Lips Numb

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If you haven’t heard of the popular “lip flip” procedure by now, then you’re probably not on social media much. The injectable procedure—it is not to be confused with lip filler—uses muscle-freezing neurotoxin that is usually used for wrinkle relaxing, to cause a “flip” action in the top lip.

This gives off the appearance of a fuller upper lip without adding in the volume that comes with filler, but as many patients are taking to social media to report, it sometimes comes with a quirky side effect—a completely numb top lip that you can’t use.

What to Expect

“After a lip flip, a patient may have difficulty whistling, brushing their teeth—they may feel like they are drooling — or even have difficulty singing or playing a musical instrument like a flute or saxophone,” explains New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. “The treatment typically entails using four to six units of Botox or another neurotoxin like Xeomin or Dysport in the upper lip to help lip inversion.”

Delray Beach, FL facial plastic surgeon Miguel Mascaro, MD says it shouldn’t feel much different than Botox Cosmetic used anywhere else. “For the first few days, nothing will happen. Then, slowly the lip will feel heavier, and it will be difficult to purse them together or drink from a straw. This is temporary and means the Botox is kicking in. After about 10 days it should be back to business as usual.” 

“Some other changes that might happen are certain words can become difficult to pronounce. Rinsing your mouth or drinking without spilling water might become a challenge and you may drool when eating softer foods,” adds New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD. “Blowing out a candle may also become difficult or impossible.”

Know Before You Go

Davie, FL dermatologist Lesley Clark-Loeser, MD notes that a lip flip isn’t for everyone. “Patient selection is tremendously important when it comes to this procedure,” she says. “In older patients with underlying skin and muscle laxity, a lengthening of the area between the nose and vermillion border can result in an undesirable cosmetic outcome. Additionally, all patients must be prepared for the potential to see a slight difference in their appearance when smiling, which can be good or bad.” 

Not So Normal Side Effects

If you find you are having prolonged side effects like numbness for longer than two to three weeks, then the problem has to do with dosing, says Dr. Mascaro. “Difficulty drinking from a straw, using spoons, pursing your lips—if you still cannot do these things properly after a weeks, the dosing is too high,” he adds. “Next time you have it done, ask your expert injector to drop the dosing down. You should still be able to get the effects without the prolonged condition.” 

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