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Lip Structure and Anatomy

Lip Filler Experts

What You Should Know BEFORE GETTING Lip Fillers and Lip Enhancement Treatments

Many types of products are available to rejuvenate, refresh, and augment the lips and mid-face area.  Successful treatment of the perioral region (the area around the mouth) requires a deep understanding of lip structure and anatomy.  Everyone has seen an individual that has gone “too far” with lip injections or had a lip treatment that wasn’t performed correctly.  These types of results are not flattering and are usually a combination of some (or all) of the following reasons:

  • An inexperienced injector
  • An incorrect product was used that is not suitable for lips
  • An injector using the same “cookie-cutter” approach on everyone
  • A patient demanding “more volume”

Everyone wants to avoid these types of mistakes, and in this article, we will attempt to educate you on lip structure, lip anatomy, and techniques that can be used to enhance the natural beauty of your lips and perioral area.

What kind of lips are attractive?

The lips are one of the most noticeable features on the face.  Global surveys have shown that full, sumptuous lips are the most sought-after and attractive lip shape.  Historically, fuller lips have been considered signs of health and fertility.  Some people are born with the perfect pout, while others have thinner lips.  Unfortunately, as we age, the lip volume that we all had in our younger years starts to disappear as we get older.

Fortunately, dermal fillers have come a long way, and many people seek these products to get healthy, soft, full-looking lips.  In an experienced, well-trained medical injector’s hands, this treatment can help reduce the appearance of deep nasolabial folds near the edges of the mouth and correct age-related volume loss in the lips.  Lip fillers can also help correct any asymmetries that look unappealing, such as a thin upper lip that is out of proportion with the lower lip.  

Lip Anatomy

An Overview of Lip Structure

The most common proportion for lips is the top lip should be 1/3 of the total volume, and the bottom lip should be 2/3 of the total volume. This is a general guideline as different ethnicities have different proportions, and each patient will have their own unique genetic makeup.

Your lip shape is determined genetically, for the most part. But your lips also change shape with changing facial expressions. When you smile, laugh, cry, or pout, the shape of your lips changes significantly. Your lip shape also changes as you grow older. Most people experience volume loss in the lips with age which leads to smaller, deflated appearing lips.

When an experienced injector assesses a patient’s face for cosmetic treatments, they look at the face “at rest” and “with movement.” Meaning, with the lips in a neutral, relaxed position with the upper and lower lip making gentle contact and the upper and lower teeth slightly separated. This baseline position helps providers identify the key issues that are causing your lips to look less than their best. It is also important to watch the lips and perioral area movement while talking, smiling, and during different facial expressions. It helps both you and your provider understand exactly what you want to improve.

While most of us think of the lips as a single structure, an experienced injector will look at the lips in more detail and evaluate several different areas and structures within the lips. A basic understanding of these lip structures can help you better understand what cosmetic treatments are right for you and what these treatments can accomplish. Here is a brief overview of lip anatomy and the structures surrounding the lips.

Vermilion: This is the colored (usually red) part of the lips. Most people are referring to the vermilion when they say lips.

Vermilion Border: The fine rim of slightly paler skin that separates the vermilion and the surrounding facial skin is called the vermilion border. It accentuates the color of your lips by differentiating them from the surrounding skin.

Cupid’s Bow: The two elevations located above the central part of the upper lip vermilion form what is known as the Cupid’s bow.

Philtrum: There are two vertical columns of tissue above the center of the upper lip. They form a central depression under the nose called the philtrum.

Nasolabial Folds: The nasolabial folds are prominent folds of skin located at both corners of the mouth that extend to the edge of the nose on either side. They become deeper when you smile and also become more prominent with age. The skin around the nasolabial folds can start to sag, and fine lines and wrinkles can develop in the surrounding skin with age.

Labiomental or Mentolabial Fold: This is the depression below the central part of the lower lip and the upper part of the soft chin pad. It plays a key role in facial attractiveness. In some people, the labiomental fold is almost flat, while in others, it is quite prominent.

Oral Commissures: The oral commissures are located at the corners of the mouth where the upper and lower lips meet. It is common to develop marionette lines (vertical lines that extend downwards) in this area with age, giving your face a sorry, angry, or sad appearance.

Lip Fillers

Most experienced medical injectors use hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers such as the Juvederm collection of fillers. Juvederm is great for this area as hyaluronic acid is naturally found in large quantities in the lips. When you are treated with a Juvederm product, you are replacing the hyaluronic acid you have lost with aging.

And with all the Juvederm fillers, if you do not care for your results – YOU CAN DISSOLVE the Juvederm and return to your baseline!

Juvederm is used to correct and improve the appearance of many of the common problems caused by aging around the lips. Deep nasolabial folds, volume loss in the vermilion, and drooping corners of the mouth can all be improved with Juvederm.  Experienced injectors can also use lip fillers to give your lips more definition and/or more fullness by injecting the filler at carefully selected locations such as the vermilion border.

Lip augmentation (fuller, plumper lips) can be accomplished for people with thin lips by placing lip fillers both superficially and deeper in the vermilion. Your injector can also improve the shape of your Cupid’s bow with the careful placement of lip fillers. Asymmetries can be corrected by enlarging or reshaping the upper or lower vermilion.

Notably, experienced injectors keep a person’s gender in mind while performing lip filler treatments. Lips tend to be fuller in females in general, and over-filling of male lips can make them look feminine, so it’s important to choose an experienced injector.

Botox for the Lips

Botulinum toxin A (Botox) injections can be performed to reduce the signs of aging in the lip area. Many people undergo a combination of Botox injections and lip augmentation with Juvederm.

One of the more popular treatments currently is called the “Lip Flip.” This simple treatment is perfect for giving patients a small, subtle “flip” of the upper lip, giving it a fuller appearance using Botox.

Lip Fillers Conclusion

Deciding to restore or enhance the areas around your lips should not be scary if you choose your injector carefully. They should listen to your goals and try to keep your natural lip proportions. Your end result should complement your overall appearance instead of being something that distracts others from your other amazing facial features. Here at The Beauty Barn, we pride ourselves on creating natural-looking results for individuals just like you!

Other articles we think you will like:

Understanding Facial Aging – The Triangle of Beauty

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