Lip augmentation offers something to smile about | aad.org

Lip augmentation offers something to smile about

BOSTON (Aug. 16, 2012) —Dermatologists use injectables to add volume to lips, soften signs of aging around mouth

Information presented at American Academy of Dermatology’s Summer Academy Meeting by Madeline C. Krauss, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass. 

OVERVIEW:
Reading someone’s lips isn’t always easy, and trying to determine if someone has had a little work done on them is even harder — thanks to the art and science of lip augmentation. Now, dermatologists are using injectable hyaluronic acid fillers to not only add volume to the lips, but also to reduce the fine lines and common signs of aging around the mouth, enhancing the natural smile.

ADDING FULLNESS TO THE LIPS
  • While used off-label for years, in October 2011 one hyaluronic acid filler was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lip augmentation in patients 21 and older.
  • Lip augmentation is a procedure in which hyaluronic acid is injected into the lips to enlarge them and is best suited for patients who want to subtly change the shape and appearance of their lips.
  • Dermatologists recommend not overdoing the procedure, as results will look more natural if less filler is used. For that reason, Dr. Krauss notes that most dermatologists are conservative with the amount of filler used in the first injection. In some cases, a second injection may be needed for optimal results.
  • Lip augmentation should be approached cautiously in patients who have a large space between the base of the nostrils and the red part of the lips, as fuller lips could create an unflattering appearance similar to a duck’s bill.
  • Dermatologists caution that patients need to be realistic with their expectations. For example, patients with very thin lips will not get dramatic improvement in the fullness of their lips from lip augmentation, as the lips need to be proportionate to other facial features.
  • On average, results typically last six months or longer.
IMPROVING AGE-RELATED CHANGES TO LIPS AND MOUTH AREA
  • Originally approved by the FDA to treat moderate-to-severe facial wrinkles, hyaluronic acid has been used successfully for years to reduce the signs of aging around the mouth.
  • Common signs of aging include a decrease in the structural components, or scaffolding, around the corners of the mouth. Exposure to the sun, smoking and time accelerate aging and result in drooping, a decrease in volume, and/or lip lines which extend onto the skin above and below the border of the lip.
  • In addition to filling in depressed areas or lines around the mouth, hyaluronic acid fillers also stimulate collagen production.
  • Lip augmentation is not recommended for those with severe sun damage or deep wrinkles, for results will not be as dramatic as in someone with more moderate signs of aging.
  • On average, results typically last six months or longer.
DISCUSS POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS WITH YOUR DERMATOLOGIST
  • Lip augmentation can cause bruising, swelling and discomfort following the procedure. While bruising often can be covered with makeup, a pulsed-dye vascular laser can be used to fade bruising quickly. Swelling usually resolves within a few days, and dermatologists recommend sleeping with an extra pillow to keep the head elevated. Acetaminophen can be used for pain.
  • In rare cases, severe swelling can occur that would require the use of an oral medication, such as prednisone.
  • If a patient’s skin is easily irritated and has a history of cold sores, the procedure may cause a flare up and require the use of anti-viral medications.
  • Patients who are allergic to any hyaluronic acid products, those with a history of severe or multiple allergies, and those with bleeding disorders or who are on blood thinners or aspirin therapy are not appropriate candidates for lip augmentation.
FINDING A QUALIFIED DERMATOLOGIST
  • Lip augmentation requires expert training. Patients should look for a board-certified dermatologist who is trained in the procedure.
  • Patients should ask how long the dermatologist has been performing the procedure and ask to see before and after photos of their patients.
  • Patients should provide their comprehensive health history to the dermatologist prior to treatment.
  • Lip augmentation is a medical procedure, and patients should avoid having the procedure performed in a non-medical setting — such as chain spas, beauty parlors or someone’s home. If someone other than a board-certified dermatologist is performing the procedure, patients need to ask if the dermatologist is overseeing the procedure and if the dermatologist will be on site if an adverse reaction occurs.
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY EXPERT ADVICE:
“Prevention of sun damage is the best thing people can do to reduce signs of aging on the lips and around the mouth. The lips are quite delicate, so I always recommend that my patients help protect lips from sun damage by using lip products containing sunscreen and wearing a wide-brimmed hat when out in the sun,” said Dr. Krauss. “It is extremely important for patients to find a qualified, board-certified dermatologist with considerable experience in the procedure. There is a great deal of artistry involved in lip augmentation, as the results should look good but not overdone.”

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1 (888) 462-DERM (3376) or visit www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).

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