Going Beyond Lipstick
Going Beyond Lipstick
Along with eyes, lips are a focal point of the face. In this month’s Aesthetic Journey Guide, we discuss what a beautiful natural lip looks like, how the aging process affects the lip, and the options to enhance the lips.
Lips come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many beautiful variations.
We all take pleasure when we see beautiful lips, but what are the common components? First, let’s start with the surrounding support for the lips: the skin should be smooth and plump. Second, the transition between the skin and the pink of the lip is well-defined, and there is symmetry between the left and right sides. The pink lip is smooth and plump, with fullness in the middle two-thirds that tapers towards the corners of the mouth. For most ethnicities the ideal ratio between the upper and lower lip is 1 to 1, however for Caucasians the ratio is closer to 1 to 1.6.
Your lips are at the height of beauty at age 18. The lips then undergo a predictable aging process. The skin between the base of the nose and the upper lip starts to thin, lengthen, and develop vertical lines (sometimes called smoker’s lines, but they appear even in those who don’t smoke). The pink lip loses volume and definition. Support for the lower lip also declines, resulting in a downward turning of the corners of the mouth and marionette lines.
Thankfully, there are some great options to address the aging lip.
These include dermal fillers, Botox, collagen stimulating energy devices, threads, and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
As you can see, there are many options for enhancing your lips.
Our focus at Integrated Aesthetics is to identify the most pressing issues and the best combination of procedures. Both Dr. Chiang and Dr. Cho conduct training to teach other physicians and injectors on the safe and proper techniques of the lip and facial injections. At Integrated Aesthetics we offer the entire spectrum of lip treatments outlined in this article. Let us be your aesthetic guides to a natural beautiful you.
Dermal fillers are the most common approach to enhancing the lip. Just as with any cosmetic procedure, results vary so choose a skilled injector. The best injectors can achieve a very natural look that is harmonious with the rest of the face. At Integrated Aesthetics we often start with a more subtle correction so that we can ensure a natural appearance that can be enhanced over time.
Our patients often think that Botox is only for the upper face, since it is so popular for frown lines, forehead lines, and crows feet. Botox can also be used to weaken the muscle that creates the radial lip lines. This treatment also helps to evert the upper lip; this is called the “lip flip.” Results can last between two to four months.
Medical devices such as Ultherapy (uses ultrasound energy) and Profound (uses radiofrequency energy) can be used to help restore lost collagen and elastin to the surrounding structures of the lip. This in turn provides support to the lip and minimizes or reverses some of the inversion that occurs with the aging. Laser resurfacing helps reduce the etched-in fine lines surrounding the lips. Microneedling with platelet-rich-plasma also helps stimulate collagen and support to skin surrounding the lips. Several treatments are typically needed.
Thread lifts are becoming a more popular treatment plan to combat the signs of aging. Suspension threads lift the corners of the mouth add volume to the lip and soften the fine lip lines. Results can last for six months or more.
The lip lift is the best solution when the upper lip is elongated and the pink lip starts to disappear into the mouth. Some patients are also naturally born with a thin upper lip. The lip lift rebalances the ratio of the length of the upper skin-colored lip to the length of the chin. Results typically last for years.