Thursday, February 24th, 2022
by Terri Harper, FNP-C
Individual facial features and proportions-eyelashes, eyebrows, chin, tip of nose, and LIPS- create a beautiful face. Lips are a very important facial feature, often determining first impressions of overall appearance, as well as personal confidence. People who spend more time at home on social media and work with tools like ZOOM® have increased awareness of personal appearance, including the size and shape of lips. Lip filler has been a significant part of my practice since I started my career in aesthetic medicine 20 years ago. Dermal filler injections have increased every year, including approximately 500 patients each year desiring lip filler.
I consistently hear 3 primary reasons that patients desire lip filler.
- To restore natural lip definition and size that diminishes with age
- To enhance natural lip shape and volume
- To create asymmetry
Over the past 20 years, dermal filler for lips has become increasingly popular for all ages. Older women, over the age of 50, may experience thinning lips caused by the skin above the upper lip beginning to elongate and sag, turning the upper lip inward. This age group also complains of the lip border becoming “fuzzy” and losing definition, creating lipstick lines. When injected correctly to achieve the desired outcome whether adding overall volume or simply creating definition or outline of the lips, filler for lips has proven to be not only efficacious in treating these complaints but also very satisfying to the patients. The group of patients between 40-50 years old, often come in wanting a slight enhancement but are fearful of looking unnatural. They often present telling me who they DON’T want to look like, or they don’t want their husbands to notice. Achieving these kinds of results may actually be more difficult to please the patient. They want to get their money’s worth but really don’t want anyone to notice. With younger women desiring lip filler, the main reasons given may be very different than other ages and peer pressure becomes a significant factor. The younger patients typically just want overall bigger lips. Easy. They come showing a collection of pictures, usually of famous people, they want to look like.
Lip injection with dermal filler is a medical art. The perfect lips are achieved by attention to proportion. Consideration of the proportion of the facial features to each other and proportion of the upper lip to the lower lip. An injector can apply the golden ratio 1.618—known as Φ (phi)—to identify the proper points for injection. On each side of the upper lip, 3- 4 points for injection in each upper half of the lip are identified using a phi caliber. Approximately 0.01–0.05 ml of an HA filler is injected into each area, from the vermillion border into the vermillion. On the lower lip, the caliper is used to identify proper injection points. Since this technique is the most natural and pleasing to the eye, there was a 92.4% exceptional satisfaction rate reported in a study involving 833 patients who were injected using this technique. Proportion matters.
Other injection techniques continue to be published and tested. Some of these include the ‘Russian technique’ which accentuates the cupid’s bow by lifting it with Botox and injecting additional volume in the cupid’s bow only instead of overall volume, creating a heart-shaped lip. The ‘Instagram Face’ includes overall full lips from corner to corner, upper and lower lip. Social media’s ability to create delusion has even made the cyborgian, mechanical face, including lips, popular.