Enhancement of the lips is one of the most common requests in an aesthetic practice today. Despite some high-profile examples of individuals whose lips have been treated to the point of distortion, when performed correctly, lip enhancement should be subtle. There are a few important concepts to keep in mind when considering lip injection to ensure best outcomes:
Lip Augmentation vs. Lip Restoration
- Lip Restoration
Over time, our lips lose volume in both the pink and surrounding white portions. Loss of volume may result in thinning of the lips, the development of fine lines in the pink and/or white lip, and down-turning of the corners of the mouth which can make us appear sad or angry even if we are not. Lip restoration uses soft tissue fillers to correct age-related changes and make the lips appear more youthful. When performing lip restoration, it is typically necessary to treat both the pink and white portions of the lips.
- Lip Augmentation
In contrast, lip augmentation uses fillers to make the lips more full. Typically, the best candidate for lip augmentation is someone who has not noticed any changes in their lips, but simply would like fuller, “poutier” lips. Lip augmentation should be performed cautiously to maintain an appropriate aesthetic balance and proportionality of the lips, resulting in a beautiful, natural appearing result.
How your lip’s underlying structure affect treatment:
The next important concept is that lip augmentation is limited by underlying lip structure. If an individual who never had full lips attempts to create an Angelina Jolie type of lip appearance, the result will appear unnatural and over-injected. To help understand this further, envision bicycle tires; road bikes have thin tires and mountain bikes have thick tires. Over-inflating a road bike tire with air does not produce a mountain bike tire. There are many products that can be injected into and around the lips, and each has unique properties. Some are soft and provide gentle augmentation, others are stiffer and are best for restoring structure, and still others are optimal for correcting fine lines and wrinkles around the lips.
The importance of subtlety in lip injection for natural beautiful results:
The final concept to address with lip restoration or augmentation is that the beauty of lips lies in their elegance and subtlety. Beautiful lips have subtle curves, aesthetic proportionality, and facial balance. Further, there are cultural differences to consider when performing lip injections.
Treatment comfort and post-treatment care
Regarding lip injections, most patients are concerned about discomfort during or after the treatment. Using appropriate techniques and comfort measures, lip injections are well tolerated. Swelling always occurs after lip injections, but is typically mild with most products. Occasionally, swelling can be more substantial for 24-48 hours, so we recommend planning accordingly. Our office will provide cold compresses to use immediately after treatment, which will help minimize bruising and swelling. Your lips will feel numb due to a small amount of anesthetic in the injected product, so it is important to avoid drinking hot beverages for approximately 1-2 hours after a lip injection treatment.
The importance of a seeing a highly experienced injector
Lip injection for augmentation or restoration is a complex procedure that can yield beautiful, elegant results when performed properly. Only an extremely knowledgeable and highly experienced injector can understand lip aesthetics, identify each patient’s treatment goals, recognize any limitations imposed by the anatomy of the natural lip structure, and select the best products to accomplish the desired outcome. Dr. Biesman and Molly Katz, RN, CANS have the knowledge, experience and skill to help you achieve best outcomes from lip injections.