As we age natural substances such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid that provide the skin with structure and volume decrease. This together with environmental factors such as sun damage, smoking, and stress all contribute to how our skin ages.
The lips are particularly vulnerable to age-related changes as the lips have an extremely thin outer layer. Over time the comers of the mouth can begin to droop (so-called mouth frown) the V-shaped area of the upper lip (so-called Cupids Bow) flattens out and the lips lose their fullness. Vertical lip lines begin to appear especially around the upper lip and these characteristically cause lipstick bleed.
Non-surgical treatments are available with the optimal choice of treatment depending on your age, skin type, depth of lip lines and the level of improvement required.
Lip enhancement and lip augmentation can be achieved by the use of injectable dermal fillers. These are injected into the border of the lip to improve the definition of the upper and/or lower lip and to enhance the shape of the lips. Dermal fillers can also be used in the body of the lip to improve lip volume for lip enhancement with improved lip definition, especially in younger lips.
- Lipstick run and lip lines will also be improved.
- The goal is to create beautifully shaped lips without making them look too large or artificial.
- We only use and recommend temporary fillers and these treatments generally last 6 – 12 months.
The procedure is performed as a walk-in, walk-out office procedure. The lip is usually anesthetized before the filler is injected however newer temporary fillers have local anesthetic combined with the filler and may avoid the need to use anesthetic injections.
Many patients return to work straight after treatment but your lips are usually swollen and sensitive for a day or two. We usually advise that on the first time you have this procedure you do it after work or on a day off in case you have a tendency for your lips to be swollen.
Treatment options include:
- Topical treatments such as vitamin A-based creams, peels, and microdermabrasion
- Wrinkle injections. Small doses are injected into the skin which will lessen the lines and, if performed regularly, will stop them worsening with time. This is particularly effective in younger women and those with a strong muscular tone in their lips. In some women low dose treatment twice a year will significantly reduce the rate of lip line development.
- Dermal fillers can be injected under the skin to lessen lip lines and are often also used to treat the lip border to enhance lip contour and definition and to prevent lipstick run.
It does need to be realized that deep lip lines especially longstanding lines associated with past cigarette smoking may not be able to be fully corrected due to the presence of fibrous thickening (scar tissue) beneath the surface of the skin. This fact emphasizes the importance of smoking cessation and early treatment of lip lines.