Kiss small lips goodbye
There are many reasons why you would want lip enhancement including:
- Restoring lost volume and shape
- Correcting downturned lips
- Replacing lost moisture, to hydrate lips
- Filling in upper lip lines
- Redefining the lip border
You are a good candidate for lip augmentation or lip enhancement if you have one or more of the above concerns. See below for more about each problem area.
At your consultation appointment, your physician will discuss the various techniques used to achieve a good outcome. Typically, cosmetic lip procedures are relatively simple but there are known risks and you may have some medical issues that might prevent you from having lip surgery or a lip procedure.
You want fuller, more luscious lips
By injecting filler directly into the lips, volume is instantly increased (though some of the instant gratification is swelling that will go down in a matter of days). Depending on the filler used, results can last from about 10 weeks to six months.
“The lips are the most likely to look injected,” says Barrington, IL, dermatologist David Van Dam, MD. “It’s easy to achieve fullness. However to look natural, the lips should be shaped, not just filled. Shaping takes into account the current lip shape and border, along with the fullness of the upper and lower lip, and the proportion of the lips in relation to other facial features. A true master will do more than simply make the lips fuller; a master will make the lips look better.”
In the past, many doctors were reluctant to use Botox or Dysport for lip enhancement around the mouth because of the frequent movement of the lips. But many physicians are more comfortable using Botox around the mouth to treat expression-related creases and to increase the longevity of filler treatments.
Boca Raton, FL, oculoplastic surgeon Steven Fagien, MD, says, “Botox used alone can work well for wrinkles around the mouth that are seen mostly when expressions are made. Used alone, however, it won’t have nearly as dramatic an effect on the creases that are visible when the face is at rest. When Botox is used in combination with various fillers around the mouth and lips, one can achieve the most impressive results.”
You have downturned lips
Some women complain that the corners of their lips turn down, especially the upper lip, which is just one of the effects of the aging process. Once the lips begin to droop, tiny lines known as oral commissure lines can develop and extend out. By injecting just the corners with hyaluronic acid, the lips take on more of a lifted effect—any lines are filled in—and return to a more centered position. Your doctor may also choose to inject the area around the lines with tiny amounts of Botox or Dysport to help lift the area and prevent new lines from forming.
You have lost volume
Hyaluronic acid-based fillers, like Restylane, can be injected into the lips to add volume since they attract water to the area and swell the lips internally. “They work great to define the lips and lip line, but, sometimes, they can look overdone if too much filler is used,” says Eugene, OR, plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD.
Going to a board-certified injector is one of the best ways to avoid lips that look obviously injected.
Since the lips are one of the more delicate parts of the face, your dermatologist or plastic surgeon may first inject a dental block to numb the area or use a topical anesthetic agent. Even though hyaluronic acid fillers contain lidocaine, to make the procedure more comfortable, your doctor may still choose to use a block for added comfort. Keep in mind that the results are not permanent—you can expect your new lips to stay full for about six to nine months. Unlike other parts of the face, hyaluronic acid absorbs quicker from the lips because “the lips move more than nonmoving facial features,” says Dr. Mark Jewell. But the nice thing about them is that the body naturally absorbs the filler in a way that usually leaves behind no bumps or unevenness. Most times, you can’t even tell when the lips start to return back to their normal size.
You need to fill upper lip lines
Fillers and aging lips go hand in hand, and when it comes to treating vertical lip lines, fillers are usually the go-to solution. Your dermatologist or plastic surgeon may inject just the thin lines (as opposed to the whole lip) that extend out from the top of the lip line up toward the bottom of the nose with hyaluronic acid.
You have a blurry lip line
Injectables like Restylane and Juvéderm, are the easiest ways to restore definition to the lip line. “Fillers do a nice job of this since the borders of the lips can be ‘traced’ in a natural-looking way,” says New York City dermatologist Cameron Rokhsar, MD. Another plus to injecting the vermillion border with fillers is that there’s less of a chance that your lipstick will bleed. It’s important that your doctor injects the rest of the lip, or at least the lower lip, if it meets your specific goals.