There’s no doubt about it: the structure, volume and proportionality of the lips can be a powerful indicator of youth. Patients of all ages are turning to lip lifts, lip fillers, and lip flips to achieve natural-looking, full lips and restore a youthful, rejuvenating balance to their faces. But choosing the treatment or procedure that works best for your needs requires the expertise of Jonathan Cabin, MD. Our team is here to help you kick off your decision-making process, so keep reading to learn about the benefits and use-value of each procedure.
The lip lift has been around for a while but has only recently been popularized due to breakthroughs in technique. The surgery is designed to reposition and reshape the upper lip to create a more youthful relationship between the lip, mouth and lower face.
While a lip lift can make the height of the vermillion (red) upper lip taller, the most important change from this surgical cosmetic procedure is in reducing the space between the nose and top lip, also known as your philtral length.
Ideally, a woman’s philtral length will fall somewhere between 11 and 13 millimeters, while a man’s will average around 13 to 15 millimeters. But the ideal philtral length is highly individualized and depends on the patient’s overall facial aesthetics and desires. Factors like genetics, aging or even the weight of too much filler, however, can cause this length to be excessive, leaving more space between the nose and upper lip.
This procedure also tends to increase “tooth show,” which is the ability to see a few millimeters of the upper teeth when the mouth is slightly open. This is a youthful change because when the upper lip fully covers the teeth when talking, this can indicate age.
There are several types of lip lifts, but the most common is the “bullhorn” or “subnasal” lift. In this procedure, Dr. Cabin uses the natural shadows and contours of the area just beneath the nose to access the deeper tissues of the upper lip and gently elevate it. This reduces the skin in this area, shortening the distance between the lip and the nose. This can also expose more of the vermillion, the red part of the lip, leaving you with more red lip height. Contrary to popular belief – by increasing the amount of red lip showing – a lip lift can actually make a patient a better candidate for volumizing lip filler.
Is a lip lift right for me?
For the right patient, a lip lift can provide subtle yet powerful lower facial rejuvenation. Consider the following when deciding between a lip lift, lip filler, or lip flip:
Philtral Length: Whether you’re born with a longer philtrum or age (or filler) has caused this space to increase over time, you might be a good candidate for this space-targeting procedure.
Tooth Show: If you feel your upper lip is heavy and fully covers your upper teeth, you may also be a good candidate for this procedure.
Permanence: Non-surgical treatments like fillers and Botox require regular upkeep and continued treatment to maintain the same look, but a lip lift provides more permanent results. While all these treatments do different things to the lip, you may be a better candidate for a lip lift if you prefer less upkeep.
Natural-Looking Results: Lip lifts primarily address the proportions of the lower face and the relationship of the lips to the mouth rather than amplifying the volume alone. This can allow for more customization of treatment and a more natural-appearing result.
Ask Dr. Cabin About the Corner Lip Lift
Typically performed in conjunction with a standard lip lift, a corner lip lift is a surgical procedure designed to target the sides of the upper lip, and sometimes can be designed to address the position of the full corner of the mouth, where the upper and lower lips meet. Customized to each patient’s needs, a corner lip lift involves small incisions on each side of the lip, used to create an upward lift, increased volume, and rollout of the upper lip corners. The procedure, typically performed under local anesthesia in less than an hour, can also improve the excess, aging-related skin that some patients may have to the sides of the upper lip, and even reposition the corner of the lip to a more elevated and youthful position. Over the years, the corner lip lift technique has evolved to address more than just downturned corners, contributing to overall lip balance and aesthetics.
For patients looking to achieve permanent, natural-looking results applied to the outside corners of the lip rather than the top, a corner lip lift may be the right option.
The most popular way to reshape, define and volumize lips is through the use of dermal fillers. These injectable treatments are usually made from hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule that is found naturally in the body. In addition to adding volume – and depending on the product – hyaluronic acid can also help to attract and retain moisture in the lips, creating a plumper appearance.
How long does lip filler last? Typically, a patient will want to touch up lip filler every 6-12 months to maintain ideal lip aesthetics, but this can vary. Lip fillers come in varying levels of thickness and longevity, making them highly customizable based on your unique aesthetic goals and anatomy. Whether you’re looking to sharpen the outline of your lips, change the shape of your lip or create an overall fuller look, lip fillers address a wide range of concerns.
Is lip filler right for me?
Choosing to get lip fillers can enhance the natural look and shape of your lips. Consider the following when deciding whether to get lip fillers over other lip-enhancing products:
Non-Invasive Procedure: Dermal fillers do not require surgery, meaning you won’t be required to take off work or skip your regular routine following your treatment. Depending on how you respond to the filler, you may be swollen or even bruised for a few days following treatment.
Temporary: Lip fillers are impermanent and even reversible, making it a good option for patients who do not want to commit to a permanent alteration to their facial features.
Subtle: Injectable treatments offer the ability to titrate up enhancement, allowing a natural and gradual change if desired.
Similar to the procedures before it, the lip flip is designed to create a fuller pout. Unlike a lip lift or lip fillers, however, a lip flip does not actually add volume to the lips. Instead, Dr. Cabin uses a neurotoxin like Botox to relax a small portion of the orbicularis oris muscle – the circular muscle that wraps around the mouth – causing the lip to curl slightly upward to create the illusion of additional fullness.
The procedure is relatively quick, typically taking less than 10 minutes, and the effects usually last between 2 to 4 months. It's often seen as a more subtle alternative to lip fillers and can be used in conjunction with fillers for a more comprehensive lip enhancement. Keep in mind that – depending on the particular lip anatomy – this treatment doesn’t work for all patients.
Is a lip flip right for me?
For patients looking for a fuller smile, consider the following to decide whether a lip flip is the best option for you:
Quick Procedure & No-Downtime: This non-invasive injectable treatment requires zero downtime and an extremely short appointment with Dr. Cabin.
Lip Symmetry Correction: By relaxing the muscles on the upper lip, a lip flip can help achieve better balance and symmetry between the upper and lower lip.
Subtle: Like lip fillers, lip flips offer a less dramatic alteration to the natural appearance of the lips.
Visit Jonathan Cabin, MD
Lip enhancement comes in many different shapes and sizes, and the best way to determine which one is right for you is to visit Dr. Cabin for a consultation. By discussing your unique goals and assessing your natural anatomy, Dr. Cabin will develop a personalized treatment plan to provide you with the results you deserve. Call to schedule your consultation in Arlington today!