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Plumping your pout

Article-Plumping your pout

Key iconKey Points

  • Women of all ages can look younger with liquid fillers injected into the lips
  • Technique is important to get the desired look
  • Communicate clearly what you are trying to achieve

The pursuit of youth and beauty through fillers and peels, lasers and creams, nips and tucks has never been easier. Cosmetic procedures have never been more accessible, more successful or less invasive.

Dr. Farris
There are many techniques for attaining a smooth, plumped and glowing look — many of them small procedures that can be performed quickly in the dermatologist's office. One of the most common — lip augmentation with liquid fillers — can achieve dramatic results at any age.

"Younger women want very full lips with a ridge, like Paris Hilton, while older women just want the lips they used to have," says Patricia K. Farris, M.D., a Metairie,La., dermatologist.

Some women want just the lip border plumped; others want just the body plumped. Some want both, Dr. Farris says. Hyaluronic acid and human collagen offer versatility.

"Liquid fillers give you flexibility later," she says.

"What you want in your 30s isn't necessarily what you want later. With age, your lip flattens. Many women in their 50s to 70s come in and want to correct lipstick bleeding," Dr. Farris says.

This kind of correction is easily achieved with a quick and relatively painless procedure. A dental block is used, much like when fixing a cavity, Dr. Farris says, so patients won't feel pain as the physician injects the natural or biocompatible material into the lips with a syringe.

Mild swelling and bruising can occur for two to seven days, but the patient will be able to return to daily activities immediately, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

The lips become very soft and pliable, Dr. Farris says, and more than one substance can be used at a time. This allows the physician to mold the lips and create the desired look.

Dr. Farris stresses the importance of having the procedure done by a professional.

"It takes a physician with finesse to get the right result," she says.

Equally important is clear communication between patient and doctor, she says. "It's not a cookie-cutter procedure with lips. Your goal — what you are trying to achieve — is important to convey. You have to communicate well to get exactly what you want."

Once that goal is achieved, results can last from six months to a year, she says. Some patients see even greater longevity, as the fillers can stimulate collagen production in the lips.

The ultimate payoff for both patient and treating physician, however, is matching the vision with reality.

There is nothing better than seeing the vision and being able to create it for patients, Dr. Farris says. "They really see the difference."

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