The growth in lip treatment is just staggering and literally age defying. Girls as young as 14 are having lip treatment. Women of all ages as well. The question is it safe, does it last, and when is it too much?
The minimally invasive cosmetic treatment revolution started with lip treatment and the original collagen injections. For their day, they were miraculous. The product used was made by the Collagen Corporation from an isolated herd of cattle ranched in Marin County, California of all places. The product was associated with almost no bruising or swelling. That meant that one could inject someone in the morning and they could reliably attend a red carpet event that night! The problem was you might as well have put them in a magic coach made from a pumpkin. Two weeks later, all trace of the product was gone. As a result, only the ultra rich could afford to maintain a treatment result.
That all changed with the introduction of Restylane into the United States market in the early 2000’s. This is a highly purified and stable sugar gel of hyaluronic acid. The impact of this new filler has been profound. Almost immediately the Collagen product was obsolete and gone from the market. Now we had a treatment that reliably lasts for a year. It made it practical for almost anyone to have an aesthetic service.
Perhaps the biggest unforeseen bonus of this treatment is that a readily available enzyme could be used to feather and adjust a treatment or, if necessary, erase it altogether. If this sounds like aesthetic paradise, it is. Me too products followed, some very good, some not so very good.
Now practical questions: It is essential to understand that you are asking your injecting physician to sculpt your face when you get a filler treatment. They don’t teach that in medical school. Consider Kylie Jenner. Are her lips too big? The very fact that we are talking about them means that it is obvious that she is doing something to them. It is helpful to have services that do not call attention to the fact that you are doing something. Less is more. Most women need what I would call executive lips.
The next level questions related to what I call lip crimes. The most important of these is getting injected with permanent filler. This is a mistake, which means you will regret such a choice. The argument is compelling – why pay over and over again for a service. Just get it once and that is it. The problem is that permanent fillers are seldom performed without creating an issue. If you get a lump or bump, what will you do? These products cannot be easily removed. This includes grafted fat, silicone oil, sculptra, artefill. Do not let anyone talk you into this proposition. Removing a bad treatment requires a surgery and there is no way to make the surgery perfect. Hyaluronic acid filler may not be permanent but it lasts long enough and if there is an issue, it can be removed with hyaluronidase enzyme. Think of it as an eraser for treatments that don’t work out for whatever reason.
What filler is best for my lip treatment? The hyaluronic acid fillers come in a wide variety of products. It is confusing. What is a smooth filler and is it really the best product for lip treatments? So-called smooth fillers diffuse in the tissue after being injected. This has the benefit of self-adjusting lumps and bumps. While that sounds good, it also means that these fillers are “runny.” Products like Juvederm, Belotero, and Restylane Silk are in this category. Even when they are correctly placed along the lip edge, the smooth fillers will migrate above or below the lip edge causing lip over filler (lip shelf). The so-called smooth fillers are not really ideal for the lip edge. It is far better to use a product like Restylane that needs to be carefully sculpted into location but stays precisely where it is placed. That is how one gets a superior lip treatment.
About Dr. Steinsapir:
Dr. Steinsapir is a board certified eye plastic surgeon and dual fellowship-trained in oculofacial surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery in Beverly Hills where he specializes in balanced facial cosmetic surgery for natural results, with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques, fast recovery time, and leadership in medical technology. Dr. Steinsapir has a private practice and also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Contact us today to learn how Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and training make him an expert in cosmetic surgery.
Services described may be “off-label” and lack FDA approval. This article is informational and does not constitute an advertisement for off-label treatment. No services should be provided without a good faith examination by a licensed physician or surgeon and an informed consent with a discussion of risks, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of treatment success. Only you and your treating physician or surgeon can determine if a treatment is right for you.