I’m considering lip enhancement, but I don’t want my pout to look too inflated. What do I need to know before I do it?
Avoiding “duck lips” just requires that you and your doctor are aware of the basics of lip aesthetics: 1. Youthful lips are only full centrally, not all over. Compare a newborn baby’s lips to the lips of a Real Housewife.
2. In natural, or at least natural-looking full lips, the bottom lip is always bigger than the top lip.
3. Our lips lengthen and sag as we age. It is youthful to have a short upper lip, or “upper teeth show,” as opposed to having a longer upper lip, where there is just “lower teeth show.” The “length” of your upper lip is the distance from the bottom of your nose to the bottom of your upper lip. Regardless of age, some women genetically have shorter/longer lips than others. For instance, look at this picture of the two Jennifers. They are approximately the same age, and both are stunning women, but notice how Lopez’s upper lip is almost half the length of Aniston’s. They would respond very differently to lip injections.
If you have a long upper lip, you are at a higher risk for getting duck lips from an injection, because the lip will get longer and more dragged down by the filler. Make sure the amount put in the upper lip is minimal, and see if the doctor can just inject it in the vermilion (the red part). I have found that staying away from the vermilion border (the lip line) is key to avoiding the duck lips look in my patients with longer upper lips.
No matter how conservative you and your doctor are with your first filler session, you are undoubtedly going to have some swelling. Things you can do to prevent this include: Sleep with your head elevated and ice as much as you can—especially when you wake up in the morning. And try not to take any aspirin or ibuprofen products for at least ten days before injection to help stave off bruising. Hyaluronic acids absorb water, so stay away from salty foods and try to drink water with lemon (a natural diuretic). In the lips, I only use the thinner hyaluronic acids (Restylane and Juvéderm Ultra, as opposed to Perlane and Juvéderm Ultra Plus), because they create less swelling.
You can reassess your result with your physician at two weeks. If you’ve been super conservative, chances are that once the swelling goes down you are going to want a little more. It’s a slippery slope…
Located in Beverly Hills, Dr. Suzanne Trott is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in breast and body contouring. Her areas of expertise include liposuction and the new “natural breast augmentation” procedure with autologous body fat. She answers your questions on her blog, Lipo Queen, an international resource for unbiased information regarding all of the newest developments in plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine. Her book, Lipo Queen, will be available next year. Further information about Dr. Trott and her practice can be found at Drtrott.com.