Full sensuous lips without lip wrinkles are a hallmark of youth and beauty. Happily today there are many new non-surgical methods for correcting aging changes around the mouth. Let's first understand why the lip ages and looks older.
What Causes Lip Wrinkles?
O Repeated Motion-Pursing of the lips, whether by drinking through a straw, whistling, kissing or smoking is the essential cause of vertical lines on the lips. This is because a muscle, the Orbicularis Oris., which surrounds the lips, constricts the mouth and causes folds and lines in the lips during these activities.
O Thin Skin-The thinner your skin, the more visible the lines become. Over time, after many years and many repeated pursing of the lips, these lines in the lips become permanent indentations in the lips.
O Loss of Lip Volume-As our skin ages we lose collagen in the skin and the skin becomes lax. This makes lip wrinkles worse and also allows the lip to sag or become longer. Atrophy or loss of fat which occurs with facial aging also contributes to thinning of the lips.
How to make the Lips Look Young and Full.
O Lessen Pursing Motion of the Mouth-If we lessen the constriction of the mouth we can minimize the folding which makes lip wrinkles appear.
O Smooth the Lip Skin- If we can make the lip skin smoother we can lessen the contour irregularity of the lip skin.
O Plump the Lip-By adding volume to the lip we can reverse the aging changes make the lip fuller, fill the lip wrinkles and even turn the pink part of the lip, the Cupids Bow, upward, making the lip look less long.
Modern Methods for Removing Lip Wrinkles.
O Soft Tissue Fillers- Injectable fillers like Restylane(TM), Juvederm(TM), Perlane(TM) and others can be injected into the lip to plump and lift the lip and distend the lip wrinkles and lines. This is called lip augmentation or lip enhancement.
O Fractional Laser Resurfacing-New fractional lasers can smooth the lip skin by peeling away old wrinkled skin and stimulating the growth of new non-wrinkled skin and skin plumping collagen. You will be pink 4-5 days after the treatment, but the new lasers create much less down time than lasers in use 2-3 years ago.
O Small Amounts of Botox(TM)-Minimal Botox(TM) injections, one to two units, injected into the wrinkles on the upper lip, weaken the pursing action and reduce wrinkles. Small amounts are effective and do not interfere with your smile. You may not be able to whistle normally or blow your bangs off of your forehead because these activities require a strong pursing action. But the wrinkles will be gone.
Combination Therapy-The Best Treatment.
I typically start with a combination of a filler like Juvederm(TM) combined with 1-2 units of Botox(TM). The result is usually a nice plumping of the lip, a lift of the lip and improvement in lip smoothness. These treatments may need to be repeated in 6 months although some patients get a result lasting over a year.
For more severe lip aging I often recommend a fractional laser resurfacing to remove the lip lines. This can be done in the office under local anesthesia. The lip is pink or red for 4-7 days.
There is no question in my mind that the best results are achieved with a combination of all three treatments. No one type of therapy is effective alone. This is because both volume replacement and surface smoothing is required for lip rejuvenation. Prevention of new lip lines also requires quieting the pursing muscle with Botox(TM).
Beautiful lip rejuvenation results are possible with today's new non-surgical lip rejuvenation methods. Full sensuous young looking lips are an important facial feature. After the eyes, our smile and our lips are our most visible facial features.