Read ahead to review my interview at the EnRich Clinic on ‘The Perfect Lip’ …
I have been a cosmetic doctor for over a decade and a national clinical trainer for a major pharmaceutical supplier of cosmetic injectable products for over five years. I am also a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and take a holistic approach to all of my treatments, including injectables.
A beautiful lip is different for everyone. What suits one face will not necessarily suit the next. Your lips must balance with the rest of your facial features and your overall face shape. Generally, I try to create soft, beautiful curves with a bottom lip that is slightly bigger than the top, where there is more fullness centrally, and a hint of definition through the cupid’s bow and lip border. A lip should always look natural & move normally when speaking & smiling.
Often the lip is the first area of the face that newly trained injectors learn to treat, & more often than not, treatment is with the same ‘cookie cutter’ approach that is applied to all of their patients. I would encourage lip filler newbies to seek out an experienced injector who is skilled at facial assessment, able to individualise your treatment, & who takes a whole face approach that considers the balance of all your facial features & overall face shape. It is very easy to spot poorly done lip filler, but very difficult to identify a good job, which is really how it should be! Lips should look natural & the outcome of injectables should be a ‘barely there’ result. So start slow & go low (dose)! You can always add more filler to the amount you have previously injected. In fact, often the best results are those that are staged 2 to 4 weeks apart. I would also suggest that a lip filler newbie does not judge the result too soon, as it is normal initially to experience some swelling, even bruising, which may take some days to settle. Stay cool!
I have injected far too many lips to count! At least in the thousands!
Yes and no. In a younger client, the lips may be the area of the face that I address first, because the aim of treatment is beautification & generally there are next to no other signs of facial ageing. However, in a mature client, where the aim of treatment is initially restoration (then beautification), the lip is often the area I address last. If there is evidence of facial volume loss & sag elsewhere (especially around the mouth), a rejuvenated lip on a mature client may appear fake, without first addressing the other signs of ageing. It is critical that your injector understands this, assesses your entire face, & stages your treatment in the right order to give you your best, most natural result.
I tend to dedicate longer sessions for injecting in general. Why? Because slow injecting is safe injecting. I typically book 45-60 minutes for lip filler treatments to ensure you understand the process completely before proceeding and to ensure I understand your expectations of results and aesthetic desires before injecting. Lip injections require some artistry and it is very important to ensure there is symmetry between left and right sides. Ultimately, it takes time to do this well.
Lips are highly vascular. If your injector inadvertently injects filler into the arteries that supply your lip, then tissue death & scarring can result, IF it is not diagnosed correctly & promptly treated. This is why it is very important to undergo treatments in a medical setting with an experienced injector who is knowledgeable in the signs of vascular obstruction and complications management. Overdone lips can also stretch up the tissue of the lip in a more permanent way if grossly overfilled. This can lead to amorphous, unsightly lumps of filler in your lip cushions, which are even more obvious when you speak or smile. Although not dangerous, it is definitely not the result we want for you & occasionally may trigger your body to wall off these areas in a ‘foreign body’ response resulting in hard lumps.
Well … your lips may appear more kissable after filler treatment! In truth, care needs to be taken to choose a product that will be soft enough not to affect the sensation of kissing, for you or your partner. If the product is too thick & integrates poorly with your own tissue, your lips may feel rubbery. Soft, natural cushions, with subtle definition, is ideally the aim of lip filler treatment.
I think social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to society’s obsession with overfilled, ridiculous looking, fake lips. People forget most photos on Instagram and Facebook have multiple filters applied to them to portray someone in their best light. In real life, overdone lips look strange, move abnormally when speaking or smiling, & do not fit well with the rest of the face – they create imbalance. Overdone lips essentially distract from your natural beauty, so let’s avoid them!
Keep your lips (& all parts of your face) looking natural
See an experienced injector who will individualise your treatment & take a whole face approach that considers the balance of all your facial features & overall face shape
Avoid overfilling the lip & distorting it’s natural architecture
Underfill, rather than overfill – you can always add more later
If you have small lips naturally, don’t aim for Angelina Jollie’s lips!
If you have large lips naturally, don’t disrupt the balance with your other facial features by adding too much volume
Don’t get obsessed with your lips – or you risk looking fake; consider treatment of other areas instead for a more natural look
Don’t follow trends – do what suits your face
Maybe a quote from you and what you feel is the most important thing about being a cosmetic doctor and advising your patients?
As a cosmetic doctor, it is so important that my client has trust in my knowledge and skills and moreover feels safe in my hands with injectable treatments. If you are not comfortable with any aspect of any procedure, do not proceed. Take the time to consider everything before you give the green light to go ahead. It is a great idea to ask your injector about their prior training and prior experience with all invasive procedures you may undertake. Your safety is paramount.