By Marissa Stapley
While physique trends often change – one year, a curvy body is de rigeur, the next, stick figures are in – our attraction to full, shapely lips never wanes. Case in point: Marilyn Monroe’s lacquered lips are iconic, and Twiggy’s lovely lips are as noteworthy as her stick-thin figure. Other notoriously beautiful lips, past and present, belong to Marlon Brando, Julie Christie, and Ingrid Bergman, as well as Mick Jagger, Goldie Hawn, Penélope Cruz and Julia Roberts. The lip lust these attractive celebs inspired, combined with lips’ susceptibility to wrinkles and thinning, spells one clear statement: lip enhancements are hot.
Lip Service: Dr. Lisa Kellett of SpaMedica in Toronto is an expert at creating natural-looking lips. “Most patients want an increase in lip fullness, and some want the shape of their lips changed,” she says. “Some patients are also concerned about fine vertical lines that extend from the lips and cause lipstick to ‘bleed.’” Lip enhancements can improve the look of small, deflated lips, drooping or sagging, lack of colour and wrinkling from smoking or aging. For those seeking the perfect pout, there are a myriad of treatment options available.
The First Fillers: The original lip enhancement – which debuted in the early ‘80s – contained collagen and silicone. Injected into the lip, it added shape and filled out fine lines. The process is still quite popular but has improved with time. Traditional collagen-based agents, such as Cosmoderm and Cosmoplast, are injected along the border of the lip and the thickest section of the lip to create fullness. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and adds structure and shape. Filler agents now also include hylauronic acid-based compounds, including Perlane and Restylane, which achieve a similar plumping effect. “There is a wide variability in the duration of effects of fillers,” says Dr. Kellett. “This variability ranges anywhere from two months to 10 years.” Cost: $200-$600
Hot Lips: For permanently full lips, the latest trend is e-PTFE fillers, such as Gortex and Advanta. These soft, flexible implants resemble tiny tubes are comprised of a synthetic, non-toxic compound that works with your own natural collagen, so the lip heals itself. The process is fairly simple but can be more painful and time-consuming than filler injections. “A small incision is made at the corner of the mouth,” says Dr. Kellett. “[The implant] is then inserted into a tunnel created between the muscle of the lip and the vermillion border.” The best thing about these implants? They’re yours forever. Advanta fillers come in a range of diameters, so you can choose how full you want your lips to be. And, if you ever get tired of them, they can be easily removed. Cost: $500 and up.
Lip Lines: For fine lines and wrinkles, Botox continues to be a cure-all. Used alone or in conjunction with fillers, it can substantially improve the overall condition of your lips, especially “smoker’s lines,” caused by constantly retracting the lip. “Injecting a small amount of Botox into the muscle around the lips causes them to contract less forcefully,: says Dr. Fred Weksberg of the Centre for Cosmetic Dermatology in Toronto. Too much Botox can be a bad thing – it can cause impairment in useful functions such as talking and eating. Cost: $100-$150
What’s next?: Combination Filler: Injecting a combo of collagen and hyaluronic acid-based filler agents is showing promising results, says Dr. Weksberg. “The collagen provides structure, while the acid is added for even more fullness and volume – the best of both worlds,” he adds. Lasers: “Laser resurfacing treatments and nonablative techniques, such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), radiofrequency and other lasers can be helpful in softening lip lines,” says Dr. Kellett.
Too Lippy?: According to Dr. Kellett, overdoing it is a common lip-enhancement mistake. (Think Lisa Rinna, Meg Ryan and Liz Hurley.) “Straight on, the lip looks normal, but on profile the upper lip will be too full, resulting in a ‘duckbill’ appearance,” says Dr. Kellett. This should be avoided at all costs. “The trick to a great-looking lip is to make it look natural.”
Tips & Tricks: Don’t forget to wear a sunscreen-based lip balm every day. Try Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 or Kiss My Face Organic Lip Balm SPF 15 in Vanilla Honey, Ginger Mango or Sliced Peach.