If you suffer from Skinny Lip syndrome and harbor a secret desire to resemble Angelina Jolie, several options are available. You can become a professional apiarist, or beekeeper, and have a heaving hive on hand to keep your lips freshly stung and plump. You can only eat foods you know will produce an allergic reaction around your mouth. Or you can invest in a decent dermal lip filler.
Remember, however, that while full, kissable lips are in, trout pouts are not. If you want to make the most of your lips, both literally and figuratively, do it right. Choose a surgeon or practitioner who knows what her or she is doing, and don’t go for the latest fad. Lip augmentation can take an hour, correcting a serious mistake can take years – often with little result.
Luscious Lip Fillers
Lip enhancement can be done in a variety of ways, and can not only plump up your lips but also smooth out wrinkles around the mouth, which normally occur either with age and/or as a result of smoking. And it’s not just a girl thing: both women and occasionally men seek out this form of non-surgical cosmetic procedure.
Most dermal lip fillers are temporary, meaning that they will require top-ups over a period of time. While some advertise their permanence, the result of permanent fillers often is lumpy and bumpy, so it’s advised to stay away. All fillers are injected using a local anesthetic and there is usually some bruising and swelling afterward which should subside within a few days, and itching and localized pain at the site are also common.
Dermal lip fillers ideally should increase lip volume so that the bottom lip appears to be 1.5 times bigger than the upper one. In alphabetical order, they include:
* Artecoll is made, in part, from bovine-sourced collagen (see below), although it contains tiny Plexigas microbeads, so the effect can last up to five years. Some cosmeticians don’t like to use it in the lips – and there must be a reason why…
* Collagen Injections: Derived from cattle connective tissue, it used to be the most popular lip filler. It’s less so now after some high-profile people used it to augment their lips with near-disastrous results. The best way to avoid this from happening to you is to have an allergy skin test at least 48 hours in advance of any collagen procedure. The effect can last up to 18 months, but complications include skin infection and/or ulceration, asymmetry and the dreaded trout pout.
* Cosmoderm/Cosmoplast: May sound a bit Frankensteinesque, as this filler is made from human skin grown in a lab. Gross but less painful than other fillers. Maybe you can ask to grow your own.
* DermaLive/DermaDeep: Made of a mixture of acrylic hydrogel and hyaluronic acid, this filler is used for both enhancing lips and smoothing out deep wrinkles in the face and elsewhere.
* Fat Transfer: Here’s an idea: why not harvest blobs of fat from other parts of your body, such as your thighs and butt, then inject them into your lips! Give another meaning to kissing ass… Critics say it works less well in the lip area than other parts of the body as the fat moves around a lot.
* Juvederm: Similar to Restylane (see below) and its sister, Perlane, Juvaderm claims it has a higher concentration of hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for retaining skin moisture, and is smoother than some other injectables. Effects can last from six months to a year.
* Restylane: An injectable gel manufactured in Sweden, Restylane is animal-free, meaning that it will not affect people who have allergies to animal by-products such as milk or eggs. Its effect lasts for up to nine months and works in much the same way as naturally produced hyaluronic acid.
* Tissue Transfer: Another fun one. Take tissue from your wrist or mouth and thread into your lips for a permanent, plumped up look.
Trout Pouts of the Rich and Famous
Botched lip augmentation can ruin not only your mouth, but your career as well, as these stars can attest…
* Hollywood star Meg Ryan became a poster child for botched lip enhancement in 2005, when she went from being America’s Sweetheart to The Joker in Batman virtually overnight. Critics have speculated that she went for a permanent filler instead of a temporary one due to the stretched-out nature of her lips. Meg has declined to comment.
* Lindsay Lohan has reportedly been sporting odd-looking big lips recently, making celebrity spotters wonder why she went under the syringe. In the same vein (not literally), actress Brittany Murphy was seen at New York Fashion Week with what fashionistas have dubbed an “unnecessary trout pout”.
* British actress Leslie Ash had an allergic reaction to collagen injections in her lips in 2002 and suffered an enormous trout pout as a result. She was publicly ridiculed for her large lips for years, and has since become a spokesperson for people who have suffered similar problems. “The beauty industry is unregulated so you must do the legwork,” she said in an interview.
Pop star Pete Burns got a £1 million pay-out after a cosmetic surgeon “wrecked his career and his life” when he had a botched lip job. Pete has had more than 100 operations to correct the damage on his lips, which suffered horrific swelling and such bad blisters that he couldn’t eat or talk.
Playing it Safe
The vast majority of people who want plastic surgery on their lips seek to have them augmented, by making them fuller and plumper. Yet, believe it or not, there are some people who seek the opposite effect. If your lips are too large and you want to turn down their volume, this is a simple walk-in procedure that can be done quickly (but not painlessly). You can choose to have one lip reduced, or both. Just make sure you end up with a matching set!
For most of us, however, lip enhancement is shorthand for bigger is better, a modern-day way to make people correct what they believe to be nature’s mistake. Don’t go for this treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and if you have certain medical conditions or are taking specific medications it’s a good idea to consult your doctor beforehand. Not recommended for people with oral cold sores, lupus, blood clotting disorders or other illnesses such as diabetes.
If you eventually decide that having luscious lips means more to you than anything else, look carefully into your options. Be aware that side effects, while rare, do occur. You will be paying anything from $300 to $5,000 on up to give your mouth the look you’ve always dreamed of, so make sure you are getting what you pay for. Say cheese! The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate medical professional.