Collagen and elastin around the lips diminish with age and exposure to various environmental factors. Repetitive contractions of the lips such as smiling, smoking, eating, drinking from straws and other movements creates lines.
Lip augmentation is a procedure in which hyaluronic acid is injected into the lips to enlarge them and is best suited for patients who want to subtly change the shape and appearance of their lips. Injectable hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane Silk, Juvederm and others are minimally invasive procedures that add volume to the lips as well as reduce the fine lines and common signs of aging around the mouth, enhancing the natural smile.
Hyaluronic acid not only fills depressed areas or lines around the mount but also stimulate collagen production. Results typically last six months or longer on average.
In October 2011, one hyaluronic acid filler was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lip augmentation in patients 21 and older but has been used off-labels for many years before.
Our providers like the natural, enhanced look and we recommend not overdoing the procedure. We are conservative in the amount of filler used in the first injection. In some cases, a second injection is needed to subtly enhance the lips.
Although some patients might request full augmentation, our providers caution that expectations must be realistic. When considering injecting a filler in a patient’s lips, we take into consideration the space between the base of the nostrils and the red part of the lips as fuller lips could create an unflattering “duck’s bill”. In addition, a patient with thin lips will not get dramatic improvement in the fullness of their lips as the lips need to be proportionate to other facial features.
Possible side effects:
- Lip augmentation can cause bruising, swelling and discomfort following the procedure. While bruising often can be covered with makeup, we use the V Beam Perfecta, a pulsed-dye vascular laser to fade bruising quickly. Swelling usually resolves within a few days. We recommend sleeping with an extra pillow to keep the head elevated.
- In rare cases, severe swelling can occur
- If a patient’s skin is easily irritated and has a history of cold sores, an anti-viral medication will be prescribed a few days prior to the procedure to reduce the risk of flare up.
- Patients who are allergic to any hyaluronic acid products, those with a history of severe or multiple allergies, and those with bleeding disorders or who are on blood thinners or aspirin therapy are not appropriate candidates for lip augmentation.
Advice from the American Academy of Dermatology: “Prevention of sun damage is the best thing people can do to reduce signs of aging on the lips and around the mouth. The lips are quite delicate, so I always recommend that my patients help protect lips from sun damage by using lip products containing sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the sun,” said Dr. Krauss.