Lips have become the biggest thing in cosmetic enhancement: pun intended. We’ve evolved from “Oh no—don’t make my lips look too large” to “I want Kylie lips” today. The truth is that there are many different lip shapes and that the most flattering shape for you takes into account many different factors including the shape of your face, your other features and their size as well as the natural shape of your lip and whether any deflation of the lip has already occurred. We can all agree that a beautiful lip is full and soft. If your lips have thinned it may take a bit of transitioning to get you there. Whether you are choosing to enhance your natural shape or restore the shape that you had in the past, lips must be approached carefully and with great precision to obtain the most beautiful results. Here are my ten top tips for beautiful lips:
1. Talk to your doctor.
Be honest about your feelings. Being conservative is never a bad idea. You can always add more volume and build to your ultimate goal. You might be delighted immediately or it might take more than one visit to get the perfect result. Be patient.
2. Use an anesthetic.
Lets face it—lips are supposed to be sensitive! I have yet to find a patient who is completely comfortable with lip injections without it. We use either a topical cream—which produces an overall decrease in sensation—or offer a local injectable block (like what a dentist provides) to completely numb the area. This way I can really fine tune my treatment with the patient completely comfortable. Depending on the method used you may not be able to talk, eat, or smile until the anesthetic wears off, which might be a few hours.
3. No duck lips!
Think about it: lips are fuller in the center with tapering to the sides. Not true of ducks, who have equal sized lips top and bottom and don’t taper to the sides (well… maybe Daisy does?). It is so important to understand the aesthetics of beautiful lip shapes and all the variations, and to share the knowledge of what will look great on your face. This is the art of medicine. Great practitioners have both the scientific knowledge to treat you safely and the eye of an artist. When you find one, you will know!
4. Prepare for some swelling.
All lips will appear a little “bee stung” starting from immediately after injections up to two days later. It may take a full week for them to completely settle in. For those who are extremely sensitive to looking overdone this may be a difficult period to go through, especially if it is their first treatment. Applying ice constantly to the area is not advised as sometimes this practice adds to the swelling. The best way to approach this time is to realize that it is very temporary, de-emphasize the lip with lighter lipstick, or discuss with your doctor medications that can reduce the swelling if you feel it is excessive.
5. Also prepare for bruising.
Bruising does not always happen, but you should always be prepared for the possibility. Never treat the lips within a week of a major event. If possible try to avoid aspirin and any NSAID pain medication for a week prior to treatment as these can increase your chance of bruising. We offer complimentary laser treatments to any patient who develops a bruise to help it to heal faster. Arnica taken prior to your treatment may be helpful.
6. Remember: everything is adjustable.
The only product that you should have injected into your lip are those based on hyaluronic acid. These fillers (made by several different brands) all have one thing in common: they can be easily reversed by an enzyme to break the product down. They have the best safety record in millions of patients.
After the initial treatment you may need small adjustments. This is because our eye can perceive slight imperfections in the lip; small contour changes may be noticeable.
Even with the best technique sometimes product settles in a way that the outcome may not be perfect. This is normal and your doctor should be able to adjust your treatment after the first two weeks.
8. Your lips are always moving.
Filler lasts longer in areas that don’t move very much. You can expect to treat your lips about 2-3 times a year on average to maintain your results. A new filler available in Europe has just been FDA approved and will be released in the US later this year. This product, called Volbella, claims to last up to a year. Look for more information on this longer-lasting filler once we have some U.S. experience with it.
9. Lines happen.
Lines around the lips can form whether you are a smoker or not. Whatever the cause, they are universally hated—lipstick bleeds into them and they detract from the shape of the lip.
These lines appear from a combination of factors, including general deflation of the lip and supporting skin around the lip as well as muscular contraction of the muscle that forms a circle around the lip (this is the muscle that causes the pucker). Lip fillers can work to improve the lines by supporting the skin around the lip and plumping the lines. Careful use of tiny amounts of Botox can be injected around the lips to decrease the severity of the puckering, smooth out the lines and allow the filler to last longer.
10. There’s always makeup.
Makeup techniques can be a great help before and after lip filler. Nude lip colors will de-emphasize the lips, especially in the post-treatment period when they may be a little extra full due to local swelling. Later, of course, you will want to emphasize your gorgeous new lips with the latest color trends!
We use filler both to hide areas that we don’t like as well as emphasize our best features. I hope that these pointers take away some of the worry in choosing to emphasize this beautiful facial feature.
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