One of the sessions that I enjoyed immensely from the Second Australasian Medical Aesthetic Congress held last weekend in Sydney was the demonstration on lip treatment. Dr Raj Acqulla from the UK and Dr Sarah Hart generously shared their techniques by injecting live on stage. Whilst they injected very different compared to each other, the results they achieved were equally stunning. They both emphasized the importance of a thorough assessment and a deep understanding of the underlying anatomy.
I am glad that the cosmetic approach to lips has swung back over the last few years from the over-full ‘Angelina Jolie’ pout to a more natural look. Most patients now want something that blends and harmonises with the rest of their face and they fear being ‘overdone’. This is in keeping with my philosophy and aesthetic sensibility.
Full lips have long been viewed as a symbol of beauty, youth and sensuality. Indeed, a recent study by scientists at Manchester University found the lips to be one of the most attractive parts of the female body.
Some people have inherited thin lips that are perhaps proportionally too small for the rest of the face. In this instance, fillers will help to restore the balance and give the face an overall more attractive look.
The natural ageing process also takes its toll. The lip fat pads undergo shrinkage similar to most of the other facial fat pads. All the muscles of the lip are attached to the underlying facial skeleton, primarily the maxilla and the mandible. As these facial bones undergo the age-related remodeling and shrinkage, the way the lips ‘hang’ become indirectly affected. Women are particularly prone to the effects of the ageing process and there is a strong tendency to develop vertical perioral lines. The oral commissures (corner of the mouth) descend, and a deep fold can often be found extending downward. These combine to give the lower face a tired and sad appearance.
Before treating the lips, I undertake an assessment to determine the nature of the problem. It could be that the lips are too thin, but it is important to take into account the lip proportions in relation to the rest of the face. I also assess the degree of bone remodeling that has taken place. Based on these findings, a rational treatment plan can then be formulated.
In younger patients, treatment of the lips alone will generally be sufficient. However, in more mature patients, I usually start by addressing the facial skeletal changes first, as this helps to restore the supporting structures, before treating the lips themselves. Treatment of the lips alone without addressing the perioral structural changes will give an artificial appearance.
In terms of product used, some products are best suitedto the youthful lip, as they give more structure and a dewy look. Other products are more suited to mature patients, as they give a more natural and softer appearance.
At times the perioral lines may have become so deeply ingrained that dermal fillers alone will not be able to erase them. In these instances a resurfacing procedure (e.g. laser or radiofrequency resurfacing) will improve the appearance further.
In summary, a great result from lip treatment means that the lips are in harmony and proportion with the entire face. This is achieved by a detailed assessment of the face, a thorough understanding of facial anatomy, and combining good technique with a keen sense of aesthetics.
Read more about our lip treatments.