Lips are a big deal. They’re right there, in the middle of your face. You use them for smiling, laughing, talking, kissing, eating, and sharing your emotions. They say a lot even without saying a word.
You want to make sure your lips look their best at all times, so it’s important to take care of them as the weather changes and as time passes. Here at our Kalispell plastic surgery practice, we offer nonsurgical options like lip injections with dermal fillers to improve the appearance of your lips (see before and after pictures below), helping you to look your best at any age and in any season.
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Before we talk about lip filler specifics, let’s learn a little more about lips.
What’s the Purpose of Lips?
Lips are necessary. At birth we have an innate reflex called suckling. This, along with the rooting reflex keeps us alive the first months to years after we are born. Lips help keep food in our mouths when we eat. Our lips are necessary for both verbal and non-verbal communication. We kiss with our lips to show affection or love.
However, kissing is not universal among human beings, and, even today, there are some cultures that have no place for it. Some anthropologists believe that kissing is a learned behavior that evolved from “kiss feeding,” the process where mothers in some cultures feed their babies by passing masticated food from mouth to mouth. Kissing is not unique to human beings. Bonobo apes frequently kiss one another; dogs and cats lick and nuzzle one another. It could be that these animals are in fact grooming, or communicating with each other, but this behavior implies and strengthens trust.
A History of Beautiful Lips
Lips are pretty. We like to decorate them.
Origins of Lipstick
Lipstick can be traced back as far as 5,000 years ago in the Persian Gulf. At that time semiprecious stones were crushed and used to decorate the lips. Egyptian women extracted the purple-reddish color from iodine and bromine mannite to use for lip tinting. (Bromine is a toxic chemical used today in agricultural chemicals and insecticides, some compounds are used as flame retardants). Apparently it gave the lips gorgeous colors. However, it also led to psychosis, seizures, and death. It is speculated that this is where the phrase “kiss of death” comes from.
Henna and Carmine
Henna and carmine are both naturally occurring substances that were used over the millennia to give color to lips. Henna is a flowering plant found in tropical areas of the world. Carmine dye comes from crushed red cochineal beetles. Both are still used today.
Lipstick became popular in England during the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth I made enhanced white faces adorned by deep red lipstick a fashionable trend. However, the use of lipstick was considered to be the ‘devils work’ shortly after this time period. England’s parliament passed a law making seduction by lipstick, when used for the purposes of gaining marriage proposals, a punishable act of witchery.
Fast forward to the 1900s. In 1923, James Bruce Mason Jr. made the swivel-up tube and gave us modern lipstick, as we know it today. Then during World War II, Hazel Bishop, an organic chemist who designed fuels for airplanes, developed smudge-proof lipstick that wouldn’t come off on coffee cups and shirtsleeves. She thought professional women needed and would appreciate this. Her company was Hazel Bishop, Inc. and her product was ‘Lasting Lipstick.’
Shortly thereafter, Revlon developed a line of smudge-proof lipsticks. More and more cosmetic brands came on board and today we have an overwhelming array of sticks, glosses, creams and balms of colors for our lips.
How to Maintain Lips’ Beauty Over Time
Lips age—what? Many may not realize that our lips get thinner with our birthdays—yes—as we age. Typically this is noticeable around age 30 but some can see changes at an even younger age.
How can I protect my lips naturally?
We all naturally start losing collagen when we are in our mid-20s. This shows up in our skin in the form of loss of elasticity, giving rise to crepiness, fine lines, wrinkles—and thinning lips. Healthy lifestyle choices, good skin and lip care products that include sunscreen and hydration are all great for the health of your lips. But genetics, birthdays and gravity will always be battling against our efforts.
What lip shape is most attractive?
The perception of a beautiful lip is influenced by many cultural factors. Depending on the study you read—there are many formal and informal studies on this—the ‘perfect’ lip is defined either by perfect symmetry between the upper and lower lip or by having a lower lip that is 50 percent fuller than the upper.
All in all, the perfect lip is what wearer wants it to be. It is important to note: It is not necessary to make the lips fuller than they naturally are. That being said, if you want to re-create a more youthful-looking lip, there are options. Or if your lips are naturally thin and you want to ‘try’ having fuller lips—you can!
Do lip plumpers actually work?
There are topical ‘plumping’ products that can work temporarily. Most of these work by causing irritation of the skin of the lips which can make them inflamed and give the appearance of a fuller lip. These are very temporary, need to be reapplied often, and used routinely.
Are lip fillers a good option?
Another, longer-lasting way of enhancing the appearance of your lips is with injections of dermal fillers. In the hands of an expert, fillers can help give your lips a natural and enhanced appearance.
What is the best injectable for lips?
Dermal filler injections to the lips are also a temporary but a longer-lasting option for lip plumping. FDA-approved products such as the JUVÉDERM® and Restylane® family of fillers that contain hyaluronic acid—a naturally occurring substance found in the human body—can be injected into the lips.
Hyaluronic acid in this form is a clear gel with varying degrees of plump-ability. Dermal fillers are used cosmetically for a number of different reasons. They can plump the lips, fill in the creases alongside the mouth, or create a more youthful contour of the face by enhancing cheekbones, as we discuss in this related blog post.
How long do lip fillers last?
The effects of dermal fillers can last from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the type of filler and where on the face it is used.
Who can administer lip injections?
Doing your research before you get lip injections is important. Trust your face to an expert who has received specialized training to perform injections. In the hands of a trained expert, dermal fillers can enhance one’s appearance and restore the youthful fullness that gets lost as we age. At Mountain West Plastic Surgery, we focus on creating natural-looking results with both nonsurgical and surgical procedures.
During your consultation, you will learn about your options for using dermal fillers. At this time, we may also recommend BOTOX® injections to smooth the fine lines around your lips. Recover the youthful appearance of your lips and enhance your whole face by restoring balance, increasing volume where it’s been lost, and help you look and feel your best.
Here at Mountain West Plastic Surgery, we offer a variety of dermal fillers that are designed to restore lost volume, plump skin, fill in fine lines and wrinkles and improve the skin’s appearance. We work to achieve natural-looking results that are appropriate for each individual so that you look rested and youthful for years to come.