Cosmetic lip enhancement has got some bad press! For a procedure that is predictable and simple, it seems to make people very apprehensive. Many patients will start the conversation with “I’d like my lips done but I don't want to look like….” Men and women remain concerned about over treatment with resultant asymmetry, imbalance and the dreaded trout-pout or ducky lips.
The key to great looking lips is a thorough pre-assessment of the whole face, gradual treatments to subtly enhance the lip, and ensuring that the surrounding tissue which frames the lip is not neglected.
There are key issues that need to be addressed for each patient.
Framing. Can the lower third of their face accommodate fuller lips? The distances above, below and to the sides needs to be addressed.
Proportion. Is the lower lip bigger or smaller than the top? How do the lips project on a side profile? Are the outer parts of the lips thinner or thicker than the middle areas
Age and condition of the surrounding skin. A young patient should be injected completely differently than someone who is older and needs filler in the surrounding tissue. Injecting a young person in this way would result in a very unnatural and stiff looking mouth. Treatments might involve treating the surrounding skin with chemical peels, laser/IPL/medical needling or micro-doses of muscle relaxant injections to relax deep smoker’s lines.
- Choice of filler. Some filler are slightly stiffer and less likely to crease and bend. These may be great for some areas of the mouth but placed in the incorrect areas will be too stiff so it looks unnatural when talking and eating.
- Dose. Most patients will start with 1ml of filler and have a top-up in 12 months. The amount of dermal filler used would depend on the degree of pre-existing volume loss. Subtle enhancement is the key; and it is often desirable to treat the mouth area in stages to achieve the best outcome.
The boring bits….
The lip and surrounding area can be numbed with strong anaesthetic cream to make the procedure more comfortable. Lip swelling and an occasional bruise can occur, both of which settle after a few days. Those with a history of cold sores can take an anti-viral from the pharmacy.
There is no “one size fits all” approach with cosmetic treatments. Taking the time to establish patient’s concerns with their appearance and formulating an approach that both addresses their worries and enhances their appearance is paramount and a valuable skill of the cosmetic injector.