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Are you thinking about plumping your lips, but are deathly afraid of looking like those silly, duck-lipped celebrities. We understand. At Celibre Medical, we want you to be 100% confident and comfortable with your decision to have lip filler. To ensure a natural looking result, lip injections should not follow a cookie cutter injection approach. Instead, we use a tailored approach to provide volume, create the proper balance between the upper and lower lip, correct asymmetry, better define your lip borders, and accentuate the cupid’s bow (the little arch in the middle of your upper lip). We work diligently to ensure that your filler looks natural, soft and pleasing and that your lips enhance your overall beauty rather than creating an unwanted distraction.
The first and most important factor in making lips look natural is the amount of dermal filler used. There are some patients who can naturally use multiple syringes of Restylane Kysse, Versa or Juvederm based on their age, ethnicity and anatomy while other patients should have at most 1 or 2 syringes. Your injector will guide you through the process of determining how much product to use, letting you know what volume is appropriate given these factors.
A second very important factor in natural looking lips is the balance between the upper lip. “Fish” or “duck” lips are so called because the upper lip gets out of balance with the lower lip. When we say out of balance, we mean that normally the upper lip is smaller than the lower lip. When the upper lip has too much filler injected and becomes larger than the bottom lip, it becomes very unnatural looking. A typical ratio for the volume of the upper lip would be 70% and 100% of the size of the lower lip and this often depends on ethnicity or race.
A third mistake that some injectors make that can have your lips looking fake is placing the filler toward the outer area of the lips. Our lips thin naturally as they move toward the corners of the mouth. If your injector places too much product close to the corners of the mouth, on the upper or lower lip, it can look unnaturally large and unusual. Injecting toward the center of the lips and not too far past the edge of the nose on either side can lead to a more natural looking appearance.
Injection techniques that avoid the problems noted above are best to avoid fake looking lips, but the way in which your injector shapes your lips is based largely on training and personal preference. We’ve seen a myriad of lip injection techniques, and none are right or wrong. Rather there are just different ways of achieving the same goal.
There is one area that we are specific about in our practice. With our younger patients looking for a look flip or lip roll and our older patients looking to camouflage smoker’s lines, we often use a technique where we inject along the vermillion border, the intersection of the skin below the nose with the upper lip. Inside the lip at this border, there is a tube that we place the filler inside. This gives the lip a very nice, crisp demarcation line, clearly defining where the lipstick is and is not supposed to be placed. In addition, the technique rolls the lip upward slightly to show more of it, which is great for our over 50 patients that have seen their upper lip lose visibility and size diminish with age. Finally, using this tube, rather than injecting into the skin ensures that your filler product does not migrate to the upper lip, which can create a very unnatural looking roll or puffiness above the lip.
Beyond this vermillion border technique, there are many ways to help your lips achieve fullness and better shape and they are often specific to your injector. Rather than focus on technique, we would suggest focusing on the outcome. Discuss your goals regarding volume, shape and symmetry with your lip injector before starting the process for best results.
The rule of thumb when injecting dermal fillers is that the thickness of the skin and the thickness of the filler are usually consistent. Let’s take for example the cheeks. Because the cheeks have a lot of depth and very thick tissue, we can use thicker products like Radiesse, Restylane Lyft or Voluma. These are products that create nice contours without a lot of filler and thus are effective for providing volume in the cheeks. In contrast, when injecting the thin skin under the eyes, we use a soft filler like Restylane L. It molds and smooths easily, creating soft, natural contours in this area of very thin skin and tissue.
The lips are very soft and have thin tissue, and for this reason a softer, thinner filler is recommended. The tradeoff with filler density and thickness has always been trying to get the filler to last a long time when using a softer filler. Generally, the softer and thinner the filler is, the less duration it maintains. We like Restylane L, Versa and Restylane Kysse (designed for the lips) and our patients see between 6 – 12 months of duration.
Thicker fillers like Radiesse, Restylane Lyft, Volume and the biostimulator Sculptra are not used in the lips at our practice.
A lip flip is a description for how we enhance the look of the upper lip using either Botox (Dysport, etc) or dermal fillers. A lip flip on a young person (below 40) involves using a small amount of Dysport or Botox to relax the muscle at the upper lip. When you smile after getting a lip flip, this relaxation causes your upper lip to look more plump rather than thinning out dramatically with your smile. With our over-50 patient population, our lip flip involves injecting dermal filler into the vermillion border (see description above). As our patients age, the skin below the nose elongates, causing the upper lip to roll inward and downward, which hides it. Using filler at the vermillion border rolls the upper lip back up to get better “show”. Not a lot of volume is added, but the results are amazing for a patient that is losing visibility at the upper lip.
Look through our photos and know that your goals are the same as ours: fuller, plumper, kissable lips that are totally yours, but better! We want you to look like you—not a fake-looking celebrity. These pictures illustrate the skill and artistry of our lip injectors.