We’ve been doing a lot of lip augmentations lately with dermal fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm. It’s a popular procedure for women, young and not entirely young, to augment volume to thin lips or just to add a little bit of that pout to their look.
But, in the land of movie stars, some people take their cues from what they see the stars doing. Well, the stars should definitely not be setting the trends when it comes to lip augmentation. In fact, we wish so very much that they would stop. We won’t be cruel enough to point out these mistakes. You know who they are.
If you’re considering adding volume to your lips, consider these few pointers to get the best natural look:
1. Don’t ask for too much volume in the upper lip.
Many young women come in and tell us that they just want upper lip augmentation. They say “I don’t want you to do anything for my lower lip”. Most of the time, we advise against this because your upper lip should always be about 20% smaller than your lower lip. So, that proportion should be maintained. Isolated upper lip augmentation, if overdone, is probably the most common dead giveaway that someone’s had someone else near their lips with a needle. Check out the photos below to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
Below we see Liv Tyler on the left and Carla Bruni on the right. Many people think that both are beautiful women but, exotic Photoshopped image aside, Carla’s lips look naturally shapely and sensuous while Liv’s lips just look ‘top heavy’. What’s the difference?? Carla’s lips maintain the natural ratio mentioned above. Now, we’re not saying that either celebrity has had lip augmentation, we’re merely highlighting a point….
2. More is NOT Better.
A lot of people think that if a little enhancement is good, then a lot must be better…not the case. Overdoing it where lips are concerned is a sure way to have people talking about your new look, and not in a flattering light. Lip augmentation should be just that, an enhancement… a subtle addition to your feminized look, not the dominating force that overshadows all other features.
3. Technique matters.
Many people, including doctors (sadly), treat Botox and fillers like they are childs’ play. Yes, they’re minimally-invasive. But, that doesn’t mean that someone at the end of a syringe can’t mess things up just as much as someone at the end of a scalpel. A lot of doctors or nurses who’ve had filler training over a weekend treat lips and faces like they are all the same. A cookie cutter approach to lip augmentation is guaranteed to create an unnatural look just as it does for surgical procedures. A very experienced injector knows to work with what you’ve got. Some people need a little drop here but not there. The key is to sculpt your lips, not just balloon them out.
4. Some areas need more help than others.
The area of the lips that benefit most from augmentation is the area in between the corner of the mouth and the philthrum (or the line where the upper lip begins to descend into that cute depression in the center that we call the “cupid’s bow”). Too much filler in the center of the lip gives a pulled down look. Too much filler near the corners of the upper lip gives the lip an unnatural overhang. Your upper lip should not hang over your lower lip. And the worst offender of all is filler placed mostly at the lip edge where it borders your skin. This gives the lips a ‘ducky’ look or ‘trout lip’ appearance where the lip is pulled too far forward. When your lips enter the room before you do, that is not a desirable look.
5. Be very careful about permanent lip enhancement.
A bad lip enhancement with a temporary filler is bad enough, but at least you know it will go away with time. But, a bad lip enhancement with a permanent filler or implant is a whole different story. There are a number of permanent options out there…permanent fillers such as Artefill or silicone and implants such as Alloderm or Goretex and other surgical procedures. Artefill can be an option, but you should recognize that these are off-label uses and long-term safety has not been proven completely. We’re not big fans of implants in the lips because they can give an artificial look and feel. So, be REALLY careful if you’re going to go this route. ALWAYS try a temporary filler first with the doctor you are considering to make sure you like the look and you’re both on the same page. And, even then you should go slowly because it’s almost impossible to go back.
These are just some of our thoughts on lips…
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