Lips: How Cosmetic Injections Restore or Change Their Shape

A dermatologist answers lip injection questions

Are you looking to plump your lips or restore them to a more youthful look? Lip injections can restore shape, reduce wrinkles or augment the size of your lips. Dermatologist Amy Kassouf, MD, answers five common questions about this non-surgical procedure.

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Q: Why do people consider lip injections?

A: My patients have various concerns:

  • Some were born with thin lips.
  • Others have lips — especially the upper lip and corners — that have lost their shape due to aging.
  • People who smoke often have what we call “smoker’s lips” from repeated puckering of the lips. The result is vertical lines that cover the lips.
  • We’re also seeing patients with vertical lip lines from repeatedly drinking from a water bottle.

I have patients of all ages, but I am seeing more women in their 20s who find it stylish to have fuller, plumper lips. Overall, lip injections are more common with women.

Q: What’s involved in getting cosmetic lip injections?

A: When a patient comes to me saying that want to change the look of their lips, I evaluate their case.

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I watch them speak and find out what they want the procedure to accomplish. I ask about cost concerns because injections are not covered by insurance. I also ask whether whistling or using straws is important to them because it’s not always possible to do either after a Botox injection.

Q: What are the best treatment options?

A: There are many types of cosmetic injectables  that we can use in the lips. I select a filler depending on what effect I want to produce.

For plumping the lips, I often use hyaluronic acid fillers, including Juvéderm®. To reduce wrinkling, I may use botulinum toxins to relax the muscles that cause tension and fine lines, (such as Botox® or Dysport®).

Q: How do the types of fillers differ?

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A: The hyaluronic fillers last 6 to 12 months. Botox costs less, but only lasts 3 to 4 months.

There is less risk with Botox and I can do it at the initial appointment. With the hyaluronic fillers, there is a risk of bruising and swelling, and a few reports of an allergic reaction to the filler. I administer a numbing cream before the procedure, so we schedule a second appointment for the injection.

Q: What if you don’t like the results?

A: There is an antidote that enables us to reverse the procedure. I’ve only had one person with buyer’s remorse. She felt she just didn’t look like herself after the injection, so I used an antidote to remove the filler. Also, regardless of injection type, results are always temporary.

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