Along with striking eyes and prominent cheekbones, full lips are considered a beauty essential. Alas, many of us aren’t born with an Instagram-ready pout. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones, you might notice your plush lips start to deflate as you get older. It’s therefore little wonder that lip enhancement has reached an almost viral level of popularity.
Unfortunately, unsafe practices inevitably tend to accompany cosmetic trends. Before you augment your lips, it’s important to know how to achieve long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing results without compromising your health.
Lip Augmentation: What Not to Do
Using the wrong method of lip augmentation can result in disfigurement, scarring, and even serious infections. In general, medical experts advise against trying the following lip enhancement techniques:
The “Kylie Jenner lip challenge” prompted thousands of young people to use suction (via a vacuum cleaner or shot glass) to temporarily inflate their lips. Though this practice might not sound dangerous at first, it resulted in a large number of complications due to the delicate nature of lip tissue. Intense suction can easily damage the lips, leading to severe bruising, swelling, intense pain, and (less commonly) infection. Considering the fact that the plumping effects of suction wear off after only a couple of hours, the cons of this challenge definitely outweigh the pros.
Permanent Lip Implants
Before the advent of dermal fillers, lip implants were often used to increase lip volume. However, while this procedure confers long-lasting results, it comes with a high risk of complications. As such, it’s largely fallen out of use.
The primary disadvantages of lip implants include a lack of flexibility (lip implants tend to stiffen over time) and a moderately elevated risk of infection (as compared to other cosmetic implants). Lip implants also carry a high risk of scarring, especially should the implants need to be removed.
How to Get a Plump Pout—Safely
The two safest ways to enhance your lips are specialized cosmetics and dermal fillers (also known as lip injections). If you’re not old enough to get lip injections, we recommend purchasing a volumizing lip gloss that contains peppermint or hot pepper extract. These extracts increase blood flow to the lips, temporarily making them redder and fuller. Not only are these products completely safe, unlike suction, they can last for up to four hours.
If you’re over the age of 18 and looking for a semi-permanent solution, dermal fillers containing hyaluronic acid (HA) are your best bet. HA is a safe, natural compound that can be found throughout the human body, where it lends strength to cartilage and other connective tissues. HA plumps the lips both by adding volume directly (HA is administered in the form of a thick gel that immediately amplifies lip volume) and by attracting water molecules to the lips. Not only is this process safe for the vast majority of patients, it has the added benefit of treating dry, chapped lips. Each round of lip injections lasts, on average, from nine months to one year. Touch-up injections can be used to keep the lips full on a permanent basis.
Even lip injections can have risks if they aren’t administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. To ensure that you enjoy flawless results without any side effects, contact Dr. Grace to arrange your personal consultation. As an experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeon, he has the skills and training needed to perform lip injections safely.