Lips are the centre focus when we talk and smile and they come in all shapes and sizes. From thin and petite to full Angelina Jolie volume lips. Some are more defined with curves and cupid bows, whereas others are, well, more subtly defined such as those with bow-shaped lips. At the end of the day, our lips are a unique design that fits our unique selves and defines our femininity.
Lips can also be a fun feature; for some of us, it means playing with a bit of lip liner and colour. For others, a little more daring… Lip enhancement has become the way to tweak the overall shape and volume to get to that desired lip shape. You only have to search ‘lips’ on Instagram and you are bombarded with all the hottest (and often not so hot) lip filler trends around the world. But how do we enhance the lips to create the perfect lip shape?
Let’s talk about what happens to lips as we age, and why there is a “need” for lip enhancement procedures in the first place.
Why would one want a lip enhancement procedure?
Lips, just like the rest of our facial features, undergo various changes as part of the inevitable aging process. Lips get their shape in part from collagen, and as we age, we produce less of this important support structure, and the lips start to lose their plumpness. The upper lip starts to thin and flatten, losing its cupid bow shape. For some of us, this process is so extreme, that it seems our lips are involved in some disappearing act as they completely flatten.
We also start to notice those non-flattering ‘smoker lines’, or ‘bar code lines’ (for the non-smokers). The main reason for this is the ongoing and necessary use of our orbicularis oris (the muscle responsible for pursing or pouting, or kissing). Long-term use along with the reduction of collagen support leads to wrinkling around the mouth. These effects of aging on the lips lead most patients to explore lip enhancement options.
Lastly, don’t forget the skin! The skin of the lip is extremely thin and delicate and is prone to dryness, and we often recommend the injection of small doses of hyaluronic acid filler into the lips of these patients, to help increase hydration for a more natural lip enhancement and plumper, healthier-looking lips.
The different types of lip shapes
Just as there are differences in our facial features, so are there different lip shapes. Remember, a lip shape is not just a penciled-in feature. The structure, shape, and support of the lip vary greatly among individuals, leading to each lip shape requiring a completely different lip filler approach to achieve a lip enhancement result suited to that particular face shape.
I think the biggest problem we face in the current aesthetic world, is the desire to radically change our appearance including our lips. Some might say that we are perhaps ‘messing’ with our God-given features, and easily lose sight of what was once considered normal. The sad story is, that once you have radically changed your lip shape with a lip enhancement procedure, it is a difficult path back to restoring what you once had, or at least to a lip shape that is in harmony with your particular facial features.
A good approach to lip fillers
Let’s be honest. No one wants to walk around with a guaranteed 9-month trout pout. Lip enhancement should be something that adds the cherry on top to perfecting one’s look, not overshadowing all the other beautiful features of our face. And so, my approach is to practice restraint when it comes to lip filler injections. Reshape a lip that was once shaped, rebuild lip structure where it was once well-formed, plump, and hydrate where once full.
And yes, for those of us who were served last in the handing out of ‘lips’, enhance subtly to beautify not just the lips, but also the rest of the face for a truly harmonious beautification result, as we do with our “deluxe” lip filler experience, the signature LIPStrobing procedure.
Lip enhancement options
Injecting lip fillers into the lips is not the only way to enhance lip shape, there are a few options available, depending on your desired goals:
The Lip Flip
A Lip Flip is a procedure that uses Muscle Relaxing Injections (such as Botulinum Toxin), to relax a muscle in the upper lip, causing the lip to “flip” and giving the appearance of a fuller upper lip. The procedure is different than getting lip fillers, which are injections directly into the lip, as opposed to above it. With lip flips, however, some patients can achieve a more natural look than they may be able to with fillers.
Lip enhancement with Lip Filler
Lip fillers are one of the most popular types of dermal fillers. Lip fillers are injections that add volume to your lips. Lip fillers consist of synthetic hyaluronic acid (HA) which is a natural-occurring substance in your body. Lip fillers are most commonly requested in order to restore a previous lip size, correct the shape of the lips, and smooth wrinkles.
Holistic beautification with LIP-Strobing
The lips are an integral part of the face as a whole. Therefore the first step to creating beautiful lips is to focus on facial reshaping as a whole (and not just the lips alone), as well as the support of the surrounding lip structures, and not simply to place a needle directly into the lips first.
An example of this is injecting a minuscule bolus of filler on the cheekbone to strengthen the muscle which in turn elevates the corner of the mouth resulting in a stronger more beautiful smile.
LIP-Strobing is a signature procedure offered at the Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates practice and is continually increasing in popularity due to the natural-looking, and harmonious rejuvenation and beautification results enjoyed by patients.
How to create a naturally beautiful lip with lip filler?
The key to perfect lip shaping is understanding what part of the lip has become deficient. Here at Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, we use hyaluronic acid-based dermal filler specifically suited for treating lips. This minimizes the risk of too much swelling or the formation of lumps.
When it comes to technique this is no “paint by numbers” approach. One has to use a variety of injection techniques to create the desired lip suited to each individual need. For those of you worried about pain, don’t fret. Our choice of dermal filler contains a small amount of anaesthetic, and we apply a topical numbing cream to allow for a more comfortable experience.
Following a lip shaping or reshaping lip filler treatment, we do expect a degree of swelling that can sometimes last a day or two (depending on the technique) before they settle comfortably into their new shape. And yes, there is always a risk of bruising. So please do not book a treatment days before a special event (just in case).
Lip plumping and hydration with dermal fillers
We also focus on lip hydration alone with dermal fillers, without changing the shape or size of the lip. Think of it as a lip and skin booster to hydrate the skin leaving it looking naturally plump and glossy. And do not forget that the lips form part of our most beautiful living organ: the skin. So to achieve truly beautiful lips, remember to moisturise and protect them from the sun too!
A personalised lip enhancement
Understand that the lips are not stand-alone facial features. Their shape and form also depend on the position and the support provided by the cheek and the chin. It is therefore very important to consider first improving the support to the surrounding bone and soft tissue structures that will lead to a more evenly and more beautiful, proportioned face. In my opinion, once you have corrected those, then only attend to the lip. And so, it might be a good idea to pop in for an aesthetic consult where we can go through your aging process and discuss your unique aesthetic needs to give you the best results when it comes to creating that beautiful smile.
To start your aesthetic couture journey to your most beautiful self, contact us at email@example.com and we will get in touch!
WRITTEN BY DR MARISA HEYNS