By Kristie Friedrichs
There is no question in my mind; pop culture combined with social media has had a huge influence in the rise of in-office lip enhancement procedures in the last couple years, which has reflected heavily in my practice. From Lisa Rinna coming out and admitting to having “silicone lip injections from the 80s gone bad”, to Kylie Jenner fessing up to progressive lip enhancements starting in her teens. Celebrity lip enhancement has gotten a lot of attention. While these two celebs, according to tabloid interviews, admitted that the only reason they concealed their decision to lip enhance was to avoid judgement. Their stories and others’ have fueled the non-surgical aesthetic market and public acceptance of this new trend. But the question is, who is seeking out lip enhancements and contributing to these increased numbers and why?
Full plump lips have long been associated with youth and beauty. I have been performing non-surgical lip augmentations for 16 years and I have seen some changes in lip trends in the earlier years, prior to social media. This trend was vastly dominated, I think, by models in fashion print. Few were talking about lip augmentation but it was generally known that models, both men and women, were having it done. There was a period of time in the 80s & 90s when a larger upper lip compared to the bottom was in vogue, then in the early 2000s, we saw models in teen and young adult dominated fashion, wearing a very large lower lip pout. Currently, the trend seems to be shifting to overall fullness focusing on pushing the ratio of upper to lower lip volume closer to a 1:1 but not quite exceeding the lower lip volume. Throughout all this time, there has been a ratio of upper lip to lower lip taught to cosmetic surgeons and other aesthetic providers as to what is considered “aesthetically correct” and/or the “definition of beauty”. That ratio is explained as 1:2 meaning the upper lip should be half the size of the lower. Funny to think that someone came up with what is considered “beautiful” and put it in a curriculum in the first place. So much for ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.
The first generation fillers that were available and considered safe for lip augmentation, were not FDA approved and were specifically, collagen based. Those who remember injecting it or having it done barely remember it because you were lucky if you got 10-12 weeks duration out of it. Also the cost for the treatment was similar to prices now 15 to 20 years later. Thus, fillers got a reputation of being very expensive and reserved for the rich and famous. I find a bit of that assumption still holds true when I am educating a new filler client. They are often surprised how much more affordable treatments are than what they expected. (Lip augmentations start as low as $150 and priced by volume).
So the big question, why so popular now? Well….two different products, Restylane Silk and Juvederm Ultra. Both got FDA approval for lip augmentation in 2015. With FDA approval, specific marketing for lip augmentation becomes possible. These particular products and similar ones have now been FDA approved for cosmetic enhancement for other facial areas as well as lip augmentation. So, right out of the gate, experienced practitioners are able to educate their clients on what to expect and deliver good outcomes. The other piece is social media’s capability to get the word out, spreading like wildfire. Especially with a younger generation of users that have no shame in admitting that they want to plump their lips up!
Personally, I like to use and have for several years; a product in the Allergan portfolio called Juvederm Ultra Plus XC for lip augmentation. It is manufactured to be smoother with less downtime, meaning less swelling or potential for bruising while still giving a soft, long lasting result. Plus, it has lidocaine in it for comfort during and after the procedure and with the use of topical numbing cream and a smaller needle than what is packaged with the product, the process can be made virtually painless.
How long does it take? I typically book clients in for an hour appointment. A good portion of the time is spent consulting and waiting for the numbing cream to take effect. The actual process takes approximately 15 minutes. I strategically inject the lips in a pattern to achieve a comfortable treatment and minimize bruising. The client and I also spend time assessing our progress as we go so the desired outcome is achieved.
What can I expect & how will I look after? When injecting smaller volumes, it’s great for restoring the lips and border to a youthful appearance. It’s also great at increasing volume and lift for a more voluminous lip. I completely customize the treatment to the client. Often clients bring in pictures of lips with volume and characteristics they like and then I match them according to the client’s own shape and volume. Clients seeking restoration may bring in a photo of themselves at a younger age when the lips were fuller. Most clients feel good about the way their lips look when they leave the office despite feeling quite numb. The most swelling will occur within the first 24 hours, then begins to subside, so the morning following injection, this tends to be the peak of swelling due to lying down all night. Even so, swelling usually doesn’t exceed 10 to 15% above what the end result will be and subsides within 48 hours. Lips should settle and soften in 4 to 5 days. Post care is minimal focusing on comfort and keeping the lips hydrated and sun screened. Pain and swelling is best managed with some ice and/or ibuprofen. Most clients prefer not to return to work immediately after due to the numbness or to avoid attention to the new change but will be ready for lipstick in a few hours!!
How long will it last? Remember when I discussed collagen being gone in 10-12 weeks? Typically, a first time lip augmentation with Juvederm will last 6-8 months. Then, each additional treatment increases in duration. It is not uncommon to experience lasting results up to a year or more only requiring minimal touch-up to maintain fullness after 3 or 4 treatments. Thus, the price for lip augmentation has become much more affordable and not exclusively reserved for the rich and famous.
How should I book my appointment to find out more or have it done? Call the office (952-473-1111) and book an appointment with Kristie, that’s me, for a lip filler consultation and/or treatment. If you plan on having it done the same day as your consult, which is most common, make sure it is good timing with your schedule as you may experience some mild swelling and bruising for a couple days. Try not to take ibuprofen or aspirin 48 hours prior to your treatment. Bring photos of lip augmentations you like and/or photos of your more youthful lips. If you are nervous, no worries. Whether it’s about the potential pain or the results, that’s completely normal. I’ll walk you thru it and you’ll be amazed how much easier it is than you thought. Like I tell all of my clients, I’m super picky and I want you to be happy with your results. I can’t tell you how much fun it is for me to see my clients happy!