The Surgeon Minute

Lip Filler or Implant? How to Get the Lips You Want

Lip Filler or Implant? How to Get the Lips You Want

Do you daydream about achieving the perfect pout, but aren’t sure if you should try a lip filler? Dramatic lip transformations are increasingly common in today’s social media-driven culture. Kylie Jenner’s ever-enlarging lips and Taylor Swift’s bright red lips are icons of today, but the obsession is nothing new; large, luscious lips can be traced back to the dawn of England’s Gibson Girl in the 1890’s. Dr. Camille Cash of Houston gives an inside look into the world of lip filling and the modern advances that have made it more attractive than ever.

Your Lips are Aging You

Voluptuous lips are a sign of youth, but not everyone is blessed with them. Regardless of the size and shape of the lips your genetics gave, you may notice the deflation that begins in your thirties. This can happen earlier and be even more pronounced if lifestyle habits include smoking or excessive time spent in the sun.  

Celebrities and lip filler.

Why Do Lips Deflate?

  • Decline in collagen production with age
  • UV rays damage facial collagen
  • Lip movement breaks down lip collagen

Collagen is the body’s natural plumping material. In our youth,when we damage our lips or lose collagen, our body simply replaces it. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen. Movement in the lip area serves to break down existing lip collagen, as does exposure to ultraviolet rays. Talking, chewing, smiling, frowning, and being outside all work to thin our lips over time.

Give Your Lips a Youthful Makeover

Just as a good hair transformation, makeup or wardrobe makeover highlights a person’s natural beauty, a good lip makeover should improve upon, not change, the natural shape of your lips. “There are so many people that are walking around with augmented lips that don’t look very natural,” says Dr. Cash.

Close-up of lips.

On a Scale of One to Five

Going from zero to Angelina Jolie on a lip-fullness scale is not a very natural, or subtle, transition. And yes, there really is an official doctor created lip-fullness scale. While Angelina’s lips don’t appear on the official scale, she would definitely score a 5/5 rating.

Your Lips, but Better

To achieve a natural appearance, Cash pays careful attention to each patient’s anatomy. “We’re not just creating fullness in all parts of the lip,” she explains. “There are nuances to the lip, you want to augment the border and the peak and the valley of the central lip.” By maintaining the central lip’s contour, also known as the cupid’s bow, Cash is able to enhance the shape without flattening the top lip in the plumping process.

Aesthetic aspects of the lips.

How Long Will My Lip Filler Last?

Today’s longer lasting fillers provide patients the benefit of not having to undergo lip enhancement every two to three months, as was required with temporary filler injections in decades past. Some lip fillers offer a full year or even eighteen months of correction. “Although it’s not permanent, and you have to come back and get a repeat injection, it can be done so that it enhances the appearance of the face and the lips, instead of just making lips big,” Cash explains.

Dr. Camille Cash lip filler before and after.

Key Lip Filler Ingredient: Hyaluronic Acid

One of the most popular injectable fillers for lips is a substance called hyaluronic acid.  There are many brand names offering hyaluronic acid based fillers, including Juvederm and Restylane.

“The nice thing about hyaluronic acid is that it’s very soft. It’s very natural. It dissolves with time which is nice, because as we age, we sometimes want to see the lips change instead of staying exactly the same way over time,” says Cash.

No Pain, No Gain

The price to pay for fuller lips can’t be found entirely in your pocketbook. “It is one of those procedures that does have a little bit more pain involved with it. The lip is very sensitive,” says Cash. To help ease the pain, every lip filler she uses has lidocaine built in. As a result, once the first few prickly pokes are out of the way the comfort level improves as the lidocaine begins to work. Icing and topical anesthetics also help to ease the discomfort of the injections.

Options are better and sometimes even more rapidly done than before; if curious about lip augmentation, find a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in the procedure.

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