The appearance of the lips differs between people, with some having naturally thinner lips. Thin lips can also be caused by certain lifestyle habits and the natural ageing process. There are four leading causes of thin lips. Fortunately, there are now highly effective treatments to plump up thin lips without the need for invasive surgery.
- Ageing – the development of thin lips can be accelerated by the ageing process. The skin begins to lose collagen and elastin as we age, resulting in a loss of skin elasticity. The inherent volume and skin firmness we have when we are younger begins to be lost with time. The development of skin laxity also results in the formation of lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Simple skincare routines may be lacking, including regular moisturising of the lips leading to a prematurely aged appearance.
- Genetics – genetic factors strongly influence the appearance of the lips as with any other part of the face or body. Many people are simply born with thin lips.
- Excessive sun exposure – significant periods spent in the sun can result in premature loss of collagen in the lips, and this can lead to a deflated, thin lips appearance with prominent lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Other parts of the face may also develop sun-related skin damage.
- Smoking – people who smoke often develop accelerated ageing affecting the face and the perioral area. Smoking causes a restriction in blood flow to vital tissue structures, including the lips. This results in the appearance of wrinkles and vertical lines around the lips, also known as ‘smokers lines’.
How can I plump up the appearance of thin lips?
There are specific actions you can take to help improve the appearance of thin lips, including:
- Stopping smoking – is probably the most effective intervention you can make to prevent your lips from becoming thin. Quitting smoking also has overall health benefits and saves you significant ongoing costs of maintaining the habit. Any existing smoking-related damage cannot be reversed by stopping.
- Reducing sun exposure – UV radiation emitted by the Sun can damage the appearance of the lips. It is essential to apply an SPF sunscreen off at least 30 to protect the lips from sun-related skin damage. Always wear protective clothing when out and about on a hot sunny day.
- Specialist make-up – many makeup artists, are able to create an impression of bigger lips through the expert application of make-up. For those concerned about the appearance of thin lips, focusing on achieving a well-defined lip and prominent contour can help to give the illusion of larger lips.
- Keep away from at-home lip plumping treatments – many younger women have resorted to vacuuming lip sealing treatments by pressing the lips against a small glass which is supposed to result in fuller-looking lips with a prominent pouty look. However, the risks of such therapies can increase the risk of injury and damage to the lips, including excessive bruising, swelling and infection. The collagen and elastin found in the lips can be damaged, resulting in the opposite effect of achieving plumpness and firmness. We would advise anyone to stay away from this type of treatment.
- Regular skin care habits – as part of any skincare routine, it is sensible to exfoliate and moisturise the lips to get rid of dead skin cells, followed by hydration with an aqueous-based moisturiser such as E 45. This can help to maintain the appearance of plumper and younger-looking lips in the long term.
- Fat transfer to the lips – fat transfer to the lips is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for plumping up thin lips for permanent results. The treatment involves removing small amounts of fat from another body area, such as the inner thighs with liposuction. The harvested fat is then processed to remove impurities before being injected into the lips, restoring volume and firmness in the lips. Fat transfer is a permanent technique of volume restoration once the fat has been integrated into the lips. In a small number of cases, a minor touchup procedure may be required to achieve the final desired results.
- Lip fillers – the best way to get rid of thin lips is to have lip fillers at a regulated clinic by an expert aesthetic practitioner. Lip filler treatment is a safe and effective way to enhance the volume and shape of the lips with the injection of hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers. There is a wide range of dermal lip filler products on the market. At Centre for Surgery, we use Belotero, Juvederm or Restylane lip fillers as they have the longest track record of safety and effectiveness. Hyaluronic acid-based fillers are very safe as hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body, so the risk of allergic reactions is virtually zero. Once injected, treatment duration will vary as the body naturally absorbs the fillers over time. Lip filler treatment typically produces results that last up to 12 months. Further top-up treatment will be needed to enhance the volume of your lips after this time.
- Lip flip – a lip flip involves making the upper lip look fuller without injections of lip fillers. The treatment consists of the injection of anti-wrinkle injections into the muscles which surround the upper lip. After injection, the upper lip turns outwards and upwards due to the relaxation of the underlying muscles. The treatment differs from lip fillers as it does not involve the injection of dermal filler and does not enhance the volume of the lips. The treatment aims to give the impression of a plumper-looking upper lip by adjusting the position of the upper lip. The treatment is straightforward and quick to perform and takes no more than 15 minutes to undertake. Compared with lip fillers, treatment results are short-lived, lasting up to 3 months. Further treatment will be needed after this time to maintain the appearance of your upper lip.
In the UK, it is a commonplace to have lip filler or lip flip treatment administered by beauticians. This is because the prices offered at beauty salons are often much lower compared with medical clinics. The risk of complications is significantly increased by choosing to have lip injections at an unregulated provider. Centre for Surgery is a specialist cosmetic clinic regulated by the care quality commission. Our practitioners have completed years of training in all types of facial injectables, including lip fillers. Having your treatment with us means you’ll receive high standards of medical care, whatever kind of treatment you choose. Call us today at 020 7993 4849 to book a consultation with an expert aesthetic practitioner at our 106 Crawford Street clinic in Marylebone.