Talking Lip Fillers With Dr. Harshna Bijlani

Naaila Khan

Remember the #KylieJennerLipChallenge that broke the Internet with girls everywhere sucking on shot glasses in a bid to emulate the reality star’s lips, even if for a while? Sure, deep down, we all knew those lips came courtesy a procedure or two, but it didn’t stop women trying the temporary procedure regardless (with a few ensuing horror stories – watch this at your own risk).

There’s no denying that we’re all super curious about the procedure, and so we got some facetime with Dr. Harshna Bijlani, cosmetologist and medical head at The Ageless Clinic, Mumbai, who’s long list of clients include Jacqueline Fernandez, Malaika Arora Khan and Carol Gracias, and she told us pretty much everything there is to know.



When it comes to lip enhancements, you generally have two options – the non-injectable option, which includes the somewhat gimmicky suction cups that enhance your lips for a couple of hours, and the injectable option.

“First, there’s the less popular fat filler where fat from another part of the body is extracted through liposuction, harvested and then injected into the lips. The results of this one differ from person to person and the filler can’t be removed once injected, so there’s no way to make corrections,” says Dr. Bijlani.

Next, there’s the platelet rich plasma procedure where your blood is injected into your lips – not to enhance their shape but more as a respite for chronically dry, chapped lips.

Then there’s the kind that perhaps gets the most attention; the permanent lip filler. “This one is slowly on its way out because of its side effects, which sometimes include the formation of lumps that are difficult to remove.” This isn’t to be confused with Botox, however, which “is a muscle relaxant that’s typically used to fill out forehead lines, crow’s feet or smoker’s lines in the area above the lip – not injected into it.”

And finally you have they hyaluronic acid fillers, which are popularly known as temporary lip fillers and which last anywhere between 6 months to a year. They’re the safest and most popular option, the one Dr. Bijlani recommends to her patients.


So why are hyaluronic acid, or HA fillers considered safer than all the other options? “HA fillers are clear gels that mimic the structure of the naturally occurring collagen in your lips,” says Dr. Bijlani, “so when it’s injected into your lips, the body accepts it readily. It’s quick, it’s simple and has virtually no side effects – you walk out with fuller lips right after the injection.”

Speaking of injections, how much does it hurt? Not much, according to Bijlani. “I’ve even had patients who routinely go without the numbing cream we offer, simply because it’s just not that painful,” she says. The most you can expect is a bit of swelling which goes down in a day or two, and only if you have particularly sensitive skin.


This is how the procedure goes: when you come in to the clinic, you’re photographed from all angles and after a discussion about the shape you’d like, the enhancement is decided upon. Numbing cream is applied to the lips for about 15-20 minutes and if you’re especially nervous or sensitive to pain, Dr. Bijlani will even give you a nerve block, like the kind you get at the dentist. However, since modern fillers come with a numbing effect built in, this is usually not required. Once the injection has been administered, the area is iced.

If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. “It’s pretty much like getting a shot at the doctor’s, except it’s more of an art because you’re sculpting the lip,” she says.  


There are no lasting side effects to getting an HA filler, just immediate ones like the aforementioned sensitivity. “You might have a bit of bruising and swelling that goes down within a day or two – in rare cases you might have an allergic reaction if you have a history of them, but they’re easily avoided by taking precautions like a patch test,” she says.

There’s even a solution for buyer’s remorse – if you don’t like the results, well, you don’t have to wait it out – there’s an enzyme injection that can be administered to dissolve the filler almost instantly.


A couple things to remember before you go in: “Make sure you’ve stopped taking any painkillers, vitamin E, green tea, aspirin and any blood thinners,” she advises. “Usually I’ll see my patients post procedure, just so if there are any bumps we we can massage them out but if there are no side effects, there’s no need for a follow-up.”

Another word of caution: If you have a history of cold sores or herpes (HPV), you’ll most likely need to go on anti-herpetic medication for 2-3 days prior to the procedure – you don’t want that flaring up. And if you’re pregnant or breast feeding, it might not be a good idea to try lip enhancements just yet, only because there’s a lack of research in that area.



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