Everyone covets pouty, pillowy lips and since Kylie Jenner debuted her plumped pout, this craze has taken the beauty world by storm. Full lips have become the trademark of celebrities (think Angelina Jolie) and one of the most sought after features that aesthetic clients request. Lip plumper product sales have skyrocketed and the dermal filler industry is swelling (pun intended) with injectable lip augmentation indications, creating an enhanced lip empire never seen before!
Lip fillers are nothing new…first appearing decades ago. Those of us who have been in the industry long enough have seen the evolution from collagen based products to the ever popular hyaluronic acid based fillers. The demand for lip augmentation utilizing fillers has almost doubled in the last 18 years- which essentially equates to a lip injection procedure occurring every 20 or so minutes….wow!
Fillers like Juvederm or Restylane are hyaluronic acid based, a natural molecule present in our bodies that is responsible for absorbing water, a property utilized by fillers to increase volume in the lips. Depending upon the desired outcome, the choice of fillers used in the lips is critical for creating a natural, not overdone, pout. Individual anatomy, pigmentation, proportion, natural asymmetry, etc. are just a few factors that should be considered. A thorough consultation prior to receiving an injectable treatment is essential for ensuring an optimal outcome. Keep in mind that the effects of 1ml (1 syringe) of filler results in an increase of up to 25% of the visible area of lips (I call it “lip show”).
Clients often ask about lip plumpers in addition to injectable interventions. My thoughts are this, they are a good option to temporarily create fuller lips but certain ingredients should be avoided. Capsicum (an ingredient found in chili peppers), cinnamon, or bee venom are commonly used to create irritation of the sensitive lip skin. This reaction causes blood to rush to the surface of the skin, transient swelling ensues and thus temporary plumping of the lips occurs. Unfortunately, these ingredients can can allergic reactions and the swelling can dry out the lips (lips don’t have sweat glands so they dry out easily). A good lip plumper with have hyaluronic acid to hydrate the lips, niacin to intensify lip color, and an SPF of 30 or more to protect against UVA/UVB rays.