By: Mallory Spoor-Baker | Category: Health & Beauty | Issue: September 2011
One of the most common goals of patients at Advanced Cosmetic Medicine is to have beautiful lips.
People come to see me every day at Advanced Cosmetic Medicine to address different problems related to aging. Their concerns include uneven skin color and tone, drooping skin, uneven texture, enlarged pores, wrinkles, scarring, leg veins and unwanted hair. I can treat these problems with a variety of options. One of the most common problems that my female patients bring to me is complaints about their lip lines.
Lines around the mouth, those irritating vertical lines that cross the outer border of the lips – “purse lines” – are caused by two main age-related issues. The first is motion. Movement of the lips is constant. Some movement is necessary, literally, for life: speech formation, expression, opening and closing, kissing (!). Some movements aggravate lip lines enormously: smoking and use of straws. Some people may even have occupational movements that contribute to the worsening of purse lines. We all have them or will get them.
The second major cause of purse lines is loss of volume in the lips themselves. The lips tend to thin with age, and the muscle action around the lips causes the thin tissue to collapse more readily. This happens to all of us as well.
So what can we do about these lines? There is hope. I offer two procedures that address the fullness and texture of the lips and one that addresses the motion issue. The first of these procedures is to use dermal fillers to add volume to the lips and to underlay the lines themselves. The principal filler I use for the lips is Juvederm. Juvederm is a hyaluronic acid (HA) based filler. It contains HA, a naturally occurring compound, that is suspended in a gel matrix. Its consistency is similar to hair gel. Hyaluronic acid binds with water for a long time, helping to maintain fullness in whatever tissue it is placed. This is an injection procedure which, although not exactly pleasant, will give immediate improvement to the lips. Juvederm can be used directly under the purse lines as well to help flatten them out.
Many people have lines around the mouth that are extremely deep, and they may need a firmer filler like Radiesse. Radiesse is a calcium based filler which has the advantage of being firmer, more like toothpaste. Radiesse is also more highly interactive with the tissue, so it actually stimulates collagen formation in the area.
The second procedure I recommend is the LaserGenesis laser to actually stimulate an increase of collagen around and in the lips. This is a fast, painless procedure which helps to plump the skin from the inside out. It can take three to five treatments with the laser for best results.
The next procedure that I will use around the mouth is to inject Botox to address some of the motion issues. Botox has to be used very carefully around the mouth, as I don’t want to fully suppress essential lip motion. I find it extremely helpful for individuals who have mannerisms that contribute to facial lines.
Some people have decent improvement of their lip lines from one or the other procedures depending on which main problem they have. Most people, however, need more than one procedure for the best results.
I see each patient in a complementary consultation in order to evaluate and prioritize that person’s problems. I then initiate treatment based on that patient’s goals and lifestyle issues. In general, fillers give faster, more dramatic correction. Fillers, however, can create some downtime with bruising and swelling and probably should not be done just before a major social event. Botox and lasers can be performed any time and have little to no downtime issues.
If you have those pesky purse lines around your lips or you just want fuller, more beautiful lips, call and come in to Advanced Cosmetic Medicine for your free consultation. You and I can talk about what you need and what you want to do to look better now.