While lip enhancement continues to grow in popularity, the various options can be confusing. Should you choose a lip flip or a dermal filler? Which filler is best, JUVÉDERM® Ultra or JUVÉDERM® VOLBELLA™? The people from the Albany, NY, area we see at Rockmore Plastic Surgery for lip augmentation are often overwhelmed and confused by the amount of information available on the internet—from websites to social media. With this blog post, I will try to distill the options and explain the roles of each. As with any form of art, there is always an element of subjectivity, but my focus will be on the facts.
Natural Is Key
Lip enhancement often has an undeserved reputation for creating overly large and unnatural-looking lips. While many examples can be seen in the entertainment world and even locally, the vast majority of people having lip enhancement done want a natural-looking lip that has additional fullness. Most want their lips to look great and like nothing was ever done. During the consultation phase at Rockmore Plastic Surgery in Latham, NY, we will discuss your desired look and review the available options to get there. The most common types of lip enhancement are the lip flip and dermal filler injections.
What Is a Lip Flip?
A lip flip is a relatively new procedure that rapidly gained popularity over the past two years on social media. It involves injecting a small amount of BOTOX® Cosmetic into the muscle surrounding the mouth that we use to purse our lips. The lips will be slightly fuller with more of a pout. The advantage of a lip flip is that it’s very safe to provide a natural, pouty lip with no recovery time. It only takes a few minutes to perform and lasts for about 2 1/2 months. It provides the added bonus of helping fade vertical upper lip lines if they are an issue. Many men and women who want to try out lip enhancement and are fearful of too much change have a lip flip first to see if the results are enough for them.
Which Filler Is Best for Lips?
The most common method of lip enhancement adds volume to the lips with dermal fillers. There are multiple types and amounts of fillers that can be used to achieve varying looks and degrees of fullness. Fillers can add volume but have limited use in changing the actual shape of the lip.
Most of the fillers used for lip enhancement contain hyaluronic acid, so they are soft and safe. (Learn more in this blog post.) We primarily use the following two types of fillers in the lips, though we do have alternatives if requested by the patient:
- JUVÉDERM Ultra is our most commonly used filler for the lips. It can provide a nice contour and fullness while looking and feeling quite natural (if used in reasonable amounts). We can use it to correct the deflation of the lips that occurs as we go through life or add volume and contour to lips that have always been thin. When done judiciously, the lips will look natural and in balance with your other facial features. If additional plumping is desired, more filler can be added; however, there is a limit to how much volume we can add while keeping the lips looking natural. Many patients bring photographs of their desired outcomes which is always helpful. We minimize discomfort during the 10-minute procedure by using a topical anesthetic as well as our newest addition, a chiller that blows supercooled air to numb the lips as we go. After treatment, the lips typically will swell for 2 to 3 days but this varies. JUVÉDERM Ultra usually lasts 7 to 8 months in the lips.
- JUVÉDERM VOLBELLA XC is another filler commonly used in the lips. It creates a more subtle addition of volume and is mostly used to restore the vermillion border, which is the small roll that separates the lip skin from the mucosa of the lips themselves. As we go through life, the lips flatten and lose contour. VOLBELLA can give a nice shaping of the lip while adding a more limited amount of volume. It also smooths away the vertical creases in the lips.
Fillers offer the reassurance of being reversible. There is an agent that can dissolve hyaluronic fillers if you don’t like the way the results look. It is always nice to have a security blanket in your pack if needed.
How Do They Compare?
So in summary, lip enhancement or augmentation can create a very natural result despite what you may have seen on the internet. Here’s a comparison (patient experiences vary):
- Increase in volume: Subtle
- Recovery: None
- Results last: 2 1/2 months
- Added benefit: Treats vertical lip creases of the upper lip
- Increase in volume: Subtle (VOLBELLA), more noticeable (Ultra)
- Recovery: Swelling 2 to 3 days
- Results last: 7 to 8 months (Ultra), up to 1 year (VOLBELLA)
- Added benefits: Restores vermillion border (VOLBELLA), smooths away vertical lip creases (VOLBELLA), reversible
I have not discussed other options for lip enhancement including surgical lip lifts and lip implants because they are rarely used and have their own shortcomings.
If you’d like to see some of our actual lip augmentation results, you can visit our photo gallery of before-and-after pictures. If you have questions or would like to have a consultation, please contact us online or give us a call at (518) 730-4652. We look forward to hearing from you!