Lips are an area that we augment frequently in aesthetic medicine. Contrary to popular belief, lips can be done to look fuller without looking like a cartoon character or Goldie Hawn in “The First Wives Club”.
We lose volume in our lips with age in addition to a certain amount of inward rotation. Women frequently complain about the loss of volume and fine lines surrounding the lips in to which lipstick bleeds. These issues can easily be addressed with dermal fillers such as Juvederm® or Restylane®. The selection of products keeps growing, allowing you and your provider to select the product which best suits your lips. The Restylane® family of products has Restylane®, Restylane® Silk and Restylane® Lyft. The Juvederm® family of products includes Juvederm® Ultra, Juvederm® Ultra Plus, Juvederm® Voluma and, the newest to the market, Juvederm® Vobella. These are ALL hyaluronic acid fillers and can be reversed with a product called hyaluronidase if needed.
The fillers differ in characteristics including the mg/ml of hyaluronic acid and the cross linking of the particles. Some of the products are firmer (more cohesive) and are better for structure while others are softer and more malleable for finer work. Some of the fillers attract more water, or are more hydrophilic, than others. Your provider takes all of these properties in to consideration depending on where the product is being placed and what your goals are.
In terms of the lips we like to add structure and volume. Redefining the cupids bow and philtral columns in the upper lip can have a dramatic impact without adding any volume to the lip itself. Our philtral columns tend to flatten with time and we lose the dimensions we had when we were younger. Your provider will assess with you what you are wanting to achieve while also pointing out to you the anatomy of your lip and where product placement will have the most impact. The goal is to make your lips look their best, not to make your lips look like somebody else’s lips. (ie: We have all had patients request Angelina Jolie lips, which would look absurd on most people)
Patients definitely express concern related pain with lip injections. All of the products contain lidocaine and most providers will numb you with a topical numbing cream prior to injections. Ice can also be very helpful. Another option,for those who want to be really numb,is a dental block which numbs the whole region.
Another option around the mouth is small doses of Botox® to weaken the oral muscle that pulls the lip in and creates the fine lip lines. The dosing needs to be conservative as the goal is to relax the muscle but not paralyze it.
Here is an example of lips before:
And lips after:
The above patient was treated with 1 ml of Restylane® .
If you have ever considered lip filler, hopefully this will help you to better understand what is available and minimize any anxiety surrounding the process.
We inject lips every day at TOC Medical Spa.