I often see an uptick in the number of patients coming in to discuss lip injections in February. I blame it on St. Valentine and the internet! While the lips continue to be social media darlings, getting the lion’s share of attention, the importance of a youthful looking mouth is often overlooked. I always explain to my patients that the lips are simply one component of their mouth, and that the mouth anchors the lower half of the face. In order to deliver a natural looking result, which is always my goal, it is important to assess the mouth in its entirety.
Lip Augmentation Consultation
This always begins with an in-person consultation. Your mouth is as unique as you are. So, while a bunch of filler in the upper lip may have worked for your best friend or even your sister, this does not mean that it’s necessarily the right choice for you. During your lip augmentation consultation, I will listen closely to what bothers you about your lips. Most patients come in with a litany of “dream” lips that they’ve seen on Instagram. This can be a great tool for communicating the “look” that you want to achieve, but as mentioned, your lips need to work in conjunction with the rest of your mouth. This is why I perform a thorough physical exam to assess:
- Whether your mouth provides proper balance to your forehead, nose, chin and the rest of your face?
- Are your upper lip & lower lip proportional?
- Is the skin around the mouth smooth & taut?
- Do you have vertical lines above your lip?
- What is the distance between the bottom of the nose & your upper lip?
- Is there sagging skin around the mouth?
Then, together, we discuss the best procedure or procedures for achieving your perfect pout.
Combining Fillers is the Key to Proper Volume
We’ve all seen photos of patients who have gone overboard with their lips. It’s not pretty. While too much volume will make you look like a deranged puffer fish, too little volume can definitely be aging. Our lips thin with time. This volume loss, even in its early, subtle stages, can throw off your facial harmony. Restoring a bit of plumpness is a fast, effective way to rejuvenate the entire face and improve your self-esteem. Having said that, I find the term lip augmentation to be a bit of misnomer. Yes, the procedure literally involves my placing fillers in your lips to increase volume. But in the hands of a skilled injector such as myself, no one should notice that your lips are any bigger. They will simply notice that you look great.
The best way to achieve this kind of natural, unnoticeable result is to combine fillers. My favorite combination of fillers for a lip augmentation is Volbella® and Juvéderm Ultra®, but I also offer my Boston area patients:
Botox® Can Improve Your Upper Lip Pout
Some patients, however, only need a slight “lift” to the upper lip to rejuvenate their mouth. Carefully placed Botox® can work wonders in this situation. Injecting a neurotoxin such as Botox® or Dysport™ into the mid-portion of the upper lip will relax the underlying dynamic muscles, producing a subtle pout.
Botox® is also ideal for treating a “gummy smile”. This is something that affects some patients where when they smile, it exposes a lot of their upper gums. It isn’t dangerous, but it can definitely be detrimental to that person’s self-esteem. Placing a small drop of Botox® into the upper lip and/or skin above the upper lip will relax the muscles that are exposing the gums. The end result is a happier smile.
Treating Fine Lines & Wrinkles Around the Mouth
It’s easy to understand how fine lines and wrinkles creep up around the mouth. We use our mouth every minute of every day to talk, eat and express our emotions so the skin can take a beating. This is often exacerbated by lifestyle choices such as:
- Sun exposure
- Weight gain/loss
I use a couple of different modalities to treat fines lines and wrinkles. For vertical “smoker’s” lines, which tend to be fairly deep and may involve less than ideal skin texture, I will typically start with some form of dermabrasion or tissue stimulation. This may include:
The goal is to “injure” the surface of the skin (and in the case of ablative lasers and chemical peels, actually remove it) so that the body produces more collagen and elastin in order to heal. This, in turn, can radically improve both your skin tone and texture, eliminating not just fine lines and wrinkles, but also improving the appearance of sun spots, redness, crepey/uneven texture and broken blood vessels. A procedure such as Profound®, which combines RF with microneedling, can even tighten and “lift” the skin to eliminate any sagging around the mouth. But it’s important to keep in mind that this is a non-surgical procedure and the results will never be the same as what I can achieve with a surgical facelift or neck lift. For lines that are more deeply etched, fillers are a fantastic option.
So, if your mouth is not giving you something to smile about, schedule an appointment to come in and speak with me. With all of the tools in my toolbox, I can have you feeling like a toothpaste ad in no time.
To find out more about a lip augmentation with fillers or a non-surgical lip lift with Dr. Sean Doherty at his Boston or Brookline office, contact us today or call (617) 450-0070 to schedule a consultation.