Do you look at your lips in the mirror and wish they were fuller and more plump? Flat, thin lips can be frustrating to deal with, and having surgery to plump your lips is a pretty big endeavor. Thankfully, surgery is not your only option for achieving fuller lips. Here are four non-surgical options to explore and discuss with your doctor or esthetician.
1. Plumping Serums
The most non-invasive, inexpensive way to enhance your lips is with plumping serums. These serums are sold at many pharmacies and cosmetics stores. You generally apply the serum a few minutes before you put on your lipstick in the morning, and it works to make your lips look fuller.
Plumping serums usually contain a compound or chemical that increases blood flow to your lips. Some contain capsaicin, which is the chemical that makes hot peppers spicy. Capsaicin may leave your lips feeling a little hot, but not painful. Some plumping serums also contain collagen, so they help make your lips even plumper over time with continued use.
The down side to plumping serums is that you have to re-apply them to get continuous effects. The plumping effects are also less noticeable than those associated with the other plumping treatments on this list.
2. Botox Injections
Botox injections are one of the injectable solutions for fuller lips. The injections contain a toxin that causes the muscles into which it is injected to relax. Botox can give you a more subtle increase in lip size by causing the lip line to flip out, which gives the appearance of fuller lips. Botox injections must be administered by a licensed physician to avoid serious side effects. They're administered during an outpatient procedure, and the effects appear within days. Your lips may look a little red and overly swollen for the first 48 hours or so, but after that, you will have a natural look with fuller lips.
A benefit of Botox is that it has been used for years and has a long track record of safety. The downside is that the results only last three to six months, so you will have to return to your doctor a few times a year for repeated treatments.
3. Collagen Injections
Another option is to have your dermatologist inject collagen into your lips. Collagen is a protein that your lips contain naturally, but it tends to decrease with age. Adding collagen to your lips will make them look fuller, smoother, and more youthful.
Collagen injections are more natural than Botox, which makes them a popular choice among people who may be sensitive or overly reactive to Botox injections. However, they do not always have as dramatic of an effect as Botox. Some patients experience pain and swelling in their lips for a few days after collagen injections, and there is a risk of infection. Results last three to six months—about as long as those of Botox.
4. Synthetic Fillers
Synthetic fillers are an option for those who want dramatic lip plumping results that last a bit longer. These injections usually contain an ingredient like calcium hydroxyapetite, which takes up space beneath the skin and therefore makes the lips look fuller.
The downside to synthetic fillers is that they are hard to remove if you decide the results are too dramatic or if your body reacts negatively to the filler ingredients. On the upside, the results can last for years, so you won't have to worry about visiting your doctor often.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about these and other treatments for fuller lips. Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you work with a licensed professional.