As the years go by, you may notice that your lips, once plump and full, are now thin and lined. Why does this occur, and what can you do about it?
At Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery, board-certified oculofacial plastic and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Dustin Heringer understands how such facial alterations, while natural, can be off-putting. Here’s what he wants you to know about why the change happens and the three different types of lip augmentation he offers at the Scottsdale, Arizona, office.
Why are my lips thinning?
It’s no great secret that, as you age, your skin develops lines and wrinkles and sags. Well, the same problems that lead to those lines and wrinkles and sags lead to your lips thinning, as well.
There are two basic issues:
1. Collagen and elastin
Collagen and elastin are two proteins that serve as the foundation for plump, taut, and toned skin. You have plenty of these proteins when you’re younger, which helps keep your lips full and shapely. After age 20, though, your body starts decreasing production by about 1% per year. In addition, environmental factors, such as the sun’s UV rays and cigarette smoke, break down collagen, further depleting stores.
Without enough support, the skin on your face starts to wrinkle and sag, your lips lose thickness, the V-shaped upper lip flattens, and the corners of your mouth turn down.
2. Fat depletion
Also beginning in your early 20s, the fat cells in and around your lips begin to break down, making your lips and the area between your nose and upper lip appear flatter. Add to that the wrinkles that form around the mouth, and your lips lose their once-full definition.
What can I do about thinning lips?
Fortunately, if you’re unhappy with thinning lips, Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery has three different procedures to help:
1. Dermal fillers
Dermal fillers are injectable gels. They’re a conservative, nonsurgical option that may be appropriate if you also have small wrinkles around the mouth. They’re a temporary solution, too, which is great for people who want to see what fuller lips look like before committing to a more permanent procedure. And they’re quick to administer and relatively inexpensive.
There are many different dermal filler brands, and product lines within those brands, but most are made from synthetic hyaluronic acid (HA). HA occurs naturally in your body, giving volume and definition to your tissues, which means you’re unlikely to have an adverse reaction to the gel.
The most appropriate fillers for lip augmentation are Juvederm® XC and Restylane®. Dr. Heringer injects the gel directly into the lip areas that need volume, which takes only about 15-30 minutes in-office. You have no downtime, results are immediate and last from six months to a year, and you can get a touchup whenever you need one..
2. Lip implants
Unlike dermal fillers, lip implants are a form of permanent lip augmentation. The doctor uses silicone implants instead of an injectable gel to add volume to the lips.
If Dr. Heringer determines a lip implant is right for you, he puts you under intravenous anesthesia, then makes an incision at both corners of the lips, slides the insert into place, and closes with dissolvable sutures. You may experience mild to moderate bruising and some swelling during the first week. However, once that resolves, your lips will stay full and shapely for a long time to come.
3. Fat grafting (autologous lip augmentation)
If you don’t want an implant but dermal fillers aren’t enough, fat grafting offers a semi-permanent alternative. Dr. Heringer uses your own fat tissue to restore lip volume, a process called autologous lip augmentation. He performs the procedure in-office under local anesthesia, and like dermal fillers, he can control the amount of material he injects, which produces superior results.
Dr. Heringer starts with liposuction, removing fat cells from an area of your body you’d like to tone down. The most common areas are the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. Next, he isolates and purifies the fat cells. Finally, he injects the cells into your lips. Because he has both extensive experience and an eye for artistry, your results are completely natural-looking.
The procedure takes about 60-90 minutes, and you can go home directly afterward. Your results should last for about five years, and sometimes more.
If your lips are thinning and you’re not happy about it, Arizona Ocular & Facial Plastic Surgery has options that will make you smile again. Give our Scottsdale office a call at 480-409-8589 to set up a consultation with Dr. Heringer, or book your appointment online.