Something about your appearance doesn’t feel right. It’s an idea that’s rankled for some time, and after thinking about it, you’ve finally put your finger on the concern: your lips. Maybe they’ve always been a little too thin, or perhaps they’ve lost their natural plump with age. Either way, it’s time to do something. At Nuance Cosmetic Surgery in Folsom, CA, we recommend lip augmentation.
What Does Lip Augmentation Mean?
It’s no secret that fuller lips are attractive. There’s a scientific explanation for this, meaning the pout you yearn for is neither arbitrary nor a desire to just be trendy. But for those not born with naturally luscious lips, the solution is lip augmentation. This commonly-performed treatment is intended to plump and perfect the pout. Your lips won’t look “oversized” or “overdone,” but instead just right: soft, smooth, and more voluminous.
A key consideration in fuller lips is your overall facial structure and shape. It’s not a guessing game, in which fat, hyaluronic acid (HA), or collagen is randomly injected in the hopes lips turn out as expected. Instead, we take measurements, consider the relationship of your other features to your lips, and then decide how much fuller your lips should be to maximize your natural beauty.
The definition of beauty is a state of harmony. This sounds rather vague, but when applied to the face, balance is crucial, and lips have a tendency to draw attention first. They are, in fact, consistently ranked as the number one most important feature on a person’s face. Surprised? We understand, but men, in particular, are drawn to a woman’s lips, especially if they are symmetrical with the rest of her face.
What does this mean? Anthropological studies confirm that fuller lips are more attractive than their thinner counterparts, provided that fullness is balanced with facial width. What we’re saying is that a small, petite face can be overpowered by overly thick lips, although slightly more voluminous lips might very well be lovely. Similarly, if your face is narrow, a plush pout can be achieved, but only in proportion to the rest of your face.
The Golden Ratio
A few different measurements can be used to plump lips in a way that is natural, subtle, and beautiful. The first is pretty straightforward, in which the ideal outcome is a lower lip that is 1.6 times the height of the upper lip. This is a good place to start so both lips maintain their appropriate shape and size.
The second measurement is known as the golden ratio, a figure equal to roughly 1.6, and appears repeatedly in architecture and art – including Greece’s Parthenon and many works by Leonardo da Vinci. When we use this rule on the lips, science tells us that, aesthetically, the lips should be roughly 1.6 times wider than the nose; likewise, the top lip should project 1.6 times more than the bottom lip.
Following Proportions Is Important
The ability to apply math and measurements to lip augmentation helps achieve desired fullness without the proverbial “trout lip” or “duck lip” appearance. These effects happen when the lips are overfilled, either because too much injectable was used or the face wasn’t considered as a whole.
Treatment can target up to six anatomical areas of the lips. We’ll start with the philtrum columns, horizontal columns that run from the center of the nose to that of the top lip. Strong definition through here is trendy and attractive, but that sculpted look can be lost with age. Additionally, some patients simply lack well-defined philtrum columns, but treatment can often help so facial contours look crisper and more youthful.
This is the dip in the center of your top lip, responsible for giving lips their sexy pout. A sharp bow is desirable in both men and women, which again has to do with facial proportions. The face is divided into thirds for medical treatments that involve orthodontics and cosmetic therapy; because lips fall into the bottom third, a crisp and well-defined bow helps elevate this portion of the face.
Vermillion Border and Lower Lip
This essentially comprises the outline of your lips, both top and bottom, and treatment needs to be precisely delivered along here to achieve optimal results. When the filler is placed too high above this border, the lips look inflated.
Last but not least is the lower lip, often treated as the most important of all components. Adding volume to this area can yield the sensual, pillowy effect so many women want. But keep in mind that all parts of the lip need to be weighed equally to achieve symmetry. This means that as the lower lip is enhanced, the upper lip should be as well.
Ways to Augment Lips
At our office, we use three different methods for lip augmentation:
- Dermal fillers
- Fat transfer
- Lip implants
Fillers are among the most popular of all cosmetic therapies because they can be quickly delivered, produce rapid – if not immediate – results, and pose little to no downtime. Most have hyaluronic acid (HA) as their main ingredient, which is beneficial in a few different ways. The body naturally produces HA to keep skin hydrated. Just one HA molecule can hold over 1.5 gallons of water, and hydrated skin is plump skin.
When injected into the lips, the HA serum instantly adds volume. It also helps smooth fine lines, hydrate lips for a healthier appearance, and provide natural-looking results. And you’ll see visible improvements immediately, with full effects developing in the next several days. In short, fillers are one of the easiest and fastest ways to plump lips. Results last around six months, so maintenance sessions are necessary.
Also known as fat grafting, this treatment involves the transfer of fat from one part of the body, such as the stomach or inner thighs, to the lips. The steps are as follow:
- Excess fat is extracted by liposuction
- The fat is processed and purified
- That fat is strategically injected into the lips
This technique has been reliably used in cosmetic treatments since the 1990s. It is a great way to softly add volume to lips and maintain facial symmetry. Although more invasive than fillers, fat transfer provides results that are essentially permanent. This option is ideal for patients who don’t want to inject a foreign substance into their lips and who want more permanent results.
This is the most invasive treatment of the three but also likely delivers the most symmetrical results. The procedure involves cutting small incisions into the corners of your mouth and then placing silicone implants into the lips. Implants deliver permanent results, like fat transfers, and are entirely customizable. This means we can trim the implants, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, to fit your smile.
You can also choose from several different types of implants, including those with greater rigidity or flexibility. Results are more predictable than with fillers and can give the exact lip ratio you want. Treatment is typically completed within an hour and includes an anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
Which Is Right for You?
We can help make this decision with you, so don’t feel like it’s a choice you must make now. Several factors will go into determining which treatment is best for your needs, including your age, desired results, and overall skin health. Prior to this time, you might want to ask yourself some questions to assist with the decision-making process:
- How much volume do you want to add?
- Would you like to address wrinkles around your mouth?
- How quickly do you want to see results?
- Is the number of treatment sessions important to you?
Answers to Your Questions
At the front of every patient’s mind is how results can be achieved without making lips appear too big. This is a multi-faceted answer that first takes us back to the concept of symmetry and proportion. Our goal is to enhance your natural beauty rather than alter your appearance. This means smooth, plump lips with more youthful contours.
Your best bet is to stop looking at celebrity photos – we know it’s hard to do, but trust us on this point – and instead find former pictures of yourself from when you were younger. Select one in which you particularly liked your lips and bring that to your consultation appointment. If you’ve always had a thinner pout, turn your attention to what it would mean to have fresh, healthy lips that are subtly larger. These are the natural-looking results we can deliver.
Is It Possible to Be Allergic to Fillers?
Allergies to HA-based fillers are very rare. This substance is a building block of skin and also found naturally in connective tissues and joints. The likelihood of an allergic reaction, therefore, is almost nil. The same is true of fat transfers, and implants are generally well-tolerated as well. In other words, lip augmentation is very safe.
What Can I Eat After Treatment?
You’ll have very few diet restrictions and, in general, can eat what you want. For about a week after treatment, we recommend you avoid:
- Salty foods
- Sipping through a straw
Can I Have Only One Lip Enhanced?
You can, but in returning once more to the idea of proportion, we recommend this only for patients with asymmetrical lips. We can discuss this further during your consultation, once we’ve evaluated your lips and discussed your concerns.
The Science of Beauty
Our desire to have beautiful lips is nothing new. Lipstick, for example, has a 5,000-year history that essentially started on the dressing table of a Sumerian queen. A highly respected figure in Mesopotamia, Queen Puabi took great care with her appearance, wearing intricate jewelry and headpieces. A more significant component of her look was brightly colored lips achieved with a concoction of white lead and red rocks.
Not surprisingly, the trend spread and grew. Why? Because lips give us messages about a potential mate. In women, they denote fertility. But lips are also one of the cues we assess when determining overall beauty. Essentially, we look for large eyes, narrow cheeks, and full lips. Although seemingly strange, we desire these traits because they remind us of babies.
The Need to Care for Someone
This is not to say that we want babies as mates, but that their features trigger our innate longing to care for someone. What does this have to do with lips? They prompt us to pursue a mate based on nothing more than biology, without our even knowing it.
Fuller Lips Can Be Yours
Lip augmentation is a key way to get the full, inviting pout you want. Treatment is quick, and you have several options to achieve the look you want. Just remember that lips look best when they look like your own and not those of a celebrity. To schedule your consultation, call Nuance Cosmetic Surgery in Fulson, CA, today.