As we age, collagen is lost from areas around the face in notable areas such as the lips and the cheeks. Over time these areas start to look visibly thinner. One area where it is common to see a loss of overall volume is in the lip area and many people can become self-conscious about this issue. The good news is that it is completely possible to restore the overall shape of the lips which can give the lips a much more youthful appearance. These treatments are typically referred to as “lip augmentation” procedures.
Due to the recent popularity increase in lip augmentation, partly caused by the number of Hollywood celebrities, such as Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Hudson, Heidi Montag, and Megan Fox, to name a few, people are more curious about the various options they might have.
What is Lip Augmentation?
Lip Augmentation is a procedure where the fullness of the lips is increased to give the overall look and impression of fuller, plumper lips. Although lips become thinner as a person ages, younger people who have naturally thin lips can benefit from this procedure too. This procedure is very popular with women, but men are also starting to find the benefits from lip fillers. Overall, lip augmentation treatments carried out on men total approximately 5% of the total procedures done annually.
Generally, lip augmentation refers to a procedure where a lip filler is injected into the lips to add extra volume into the lip area. However, lip augmentation treatments cover a wide spectrum of different procedures and can help improve several aspects of the lips. This can include the shape of the lips, the structure of the lips and the overall volume of the lips.
Today the most common lip augmentation procedure involves a dermal filler, which is injected into the lips to add extra volume. There are several different treatments available – however one of the most common treatments is to inject hyaluronic acid (HA) into the lip area. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance produced by the body and fillers based on this substance can help improve the overall look of the lips by providing increased volume.
In the past Collagen was a very popular treatment to enhance the look of the lips. Additionally, fat injections and implants are other procedures that were once popular, but are more “out of favor” since the more modern dermal fillers are more consistent in their results, safer, are more cost effective and provide good overall patient satisfaction.
It is important to note that one of the down sides to lip augmentation using dermal fillers is that the effects of the procedure are not permanent. Depending on the procedure that is used, the effects can last up to a year before a repeat course of treatment is necessary to restore the look of the lips. On the plus side to this, as our tastes and requirements change over time, individuals can amend their treatment plans to suit their current needs and wishes without making permanent changes.
Below are some of the more common options our patients choose for lip augmentation, but since all cases are different, it is recommended that you discuss your requirements with Dr. Green beforehand.
Restylane for Lip Augmentation
Restylane Silk is an FDA approved hyaluronic acid formulation that is specifically designed to be similar to your body’s own, natural hyaluronic acid. Restylane Silk comes in a clear gel formulation and can provide very natural looking results. The treatment lasts between six and nine months and therefore most patients opt for a couple of treatments per year.
It’s worth making a distinction between Restylane Silk and regular Restylane as for many the names are interchangeable, however their uses are not. Regular Restylane is normally used around the mouth, cheeks, and eyes to provide extra volume. Restylane can also be used in the lips as an augmentation procedure to provide volume. Restylane Silk is used for the finer lines around the mouth as well as recreating the philtrum (the vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip).
Restylane Before & After Photo
Juvederm Ultra-XC is an alternative FDA-approved filler which is very popular with those looking for lip augmentation. Hyaluronic acid is also used in this filler to enhance the lips. One of the key differences with this filler is that it is a very highly cross-linked form of hyaluronic acid. This means that the filler is much less likely to be broken down as quickly. On the other hand, this slow breaking down of the filler means that Juvederm Ultra-XC generally lasts between nine to twelve months before the next treatment is required. For those individuals who are looking for longer lasting results with just one treatment a year then Juvederm Ultra-XC may be the recommended course of action. Your dermatologist will be able to provide specific recommendations based on your own requirements at the time of your initial consultation.
After one syringe of Juvederm
Juvederm Volbella® is also a hyaluronic acid filler that is also approved by the FDA in use of lip augmentation treatments. One of the advantages of this particular treatment is that it is great at treating perioral lines. These lines often develop from smoking or general skin damage over time. This filler is also a great lip filler and has been developed to give the lips a soft and natural feel. In addition to this- the filler is long lasting and can also provide enhancement for up to a year after the treatment.
A further benefit of this treatment is that the way it works means that it absorbs less water from the surrounding tissue, which in turn means that swelling is reduced- great for those people who can’t afford to take too much down time.
Juvederm Volbella Before & After Photo
Belotero Balance® Dermal Filler is another injectable filler that is similar to the other fillers listed here and is also based on hyaluronic acid formulation.
Dr. Green recommends Belotero Balance® for certain areas of the mouth and lips. Areas that can be treated with Belotero Balance® include the corners of the mouth to enhance a person’s smile and stop it from turning down constantly, nasolabial folds, vertical lip lines, and marionette lines, which start at the corners of the mouth and extend down toward the chin.
One of the benefits of Belotero Balance® is that the post-treatment appearance of the lips (such as swelling and bruising) is less noticeable since this filler does not cause the temporary, “Tyndall effect,” where the skin has the appearance of a bluish hue due to light passing through the clear filler substance beneath the skin. Again, it should be noted that the results from Belotero Balance® are temporary and should last the patient six months before a repeat treatment is required.
Which filler is right for you?
The answer unfortunately is not straight forward because the right filler for you is the one that is best at treating or providing a solution to the issue that you wish to target in your very own specific case.
The only way to be sure as to the best course of action is to discuss the issue with Dr. Green in person who will guide you through the different treatment options and create a tailored approach specific to you, so that you get the very best results possible.
Lip Augmentation – The Procedure
Lip augmentation using dermal fillers will take around 30 minutes to carry out and afterwards there may be some swelling and minor bruising. This can last for between one and two weeks. It is recommended that patients refrain from using makeup on the lips for 48 hours after the procedure has taken place.
If you are interested in having lip augmentation carried out then we would recommend planning ahead and having the procedure done in a quiet part of your schedule where you have no major social engagements that you wish to attend that day.
There is some minor pain involved in the process depending on your own personal comfort and tolerance levels but the fillers that are used contain anaesthetic, and other topical numbing cream can be applied to reduce the overall discomfort.
Due to the popularity of lip augmentation treatments the number of practitioners who offer this treatment has increased dramatically over the last few years. For your own piece of mind, it is more important than ever to ensure that you use an experienced, professional board-certified dermatologist to carry out any cosmetic treatments that you wish to have.
Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC and an expert in a wide variety of cosmetic treatments including lip enhancement procedures. Find out more and contact us online or at 212 535 3088 to arrange an appointment.
*Disclaimer: Results may vary with each patient.