Lip lines are one of the most common complaints from women of all ages. These lines, also called “smoker’s lines”, occur even on those who do not smoke (though it does exacerbate the problem). Sun exposure is the primary cause of aging (photoaging). Pursing the lips and drinking through a straw can also cause these age defying lines.
When you look in the mirror, if the lines above your upper lip are what you see first, and it “bothers” you, there are a few treatments that can minimize the appearance of these lines.
Botulism toxins (neuromodulators) such as Botox®, Dysport® and Xeomin® are a temporary treatment to soften these unwanted upper and lower lip lines. Neuromodulators temporarily weaken/paralyze the muscles for approximately 3-4 months, thus minimizing the appearance of upper and lower lip lines. The injections themselves take approximately 10 minutes in the office, and there is no downtime associated with this procedure. There may be temporary swelling and an anesthesia-type feeling immediately post-injection. Within a few days, it may also be difficult to make a pursing movement with your lips depending on the dose. Most people get used to this feeling and believe the benefits outweigh the side effect. Retreatment is typically required every 4 months, or 3 times a year.
Utilization of a dermal filler in the lips is a more long-term option, and this type of product typically lasts 6-18 months. There may be a little more downtime associated with “filling in” the lip lines, but it typically lasts only a few days. The most common side effects are bruising and swelling. Avoiding all blood thinning products (NSAIDS, aspirin, coumadin, many supplements) before and immediately after the injection can minimize the risks. If needed, we do have Jane Iredale® camouflage kits specifically designed to cover bruising.
Injections in the lips are typically performed with a hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring sugar made in your body) product. These have the advantage of being soft, well-tolerated in the lips and reversible. There are several options depending on your desired goal and anatomy. Typically, Juvederm Ultra®, Restylane Silk® and Juvederm Volbella® are the top choices for the treatment of lip lines. Restylane Silk® and Juvederm Volbella® provide a more subtle correction and have less associated swelling. Volbella® has the advantage of being longer lasting. Juvederm Ultra® provides a more robust correction for deeper lines.
The PEARL Fractional™ treatment
Laser resurfacing offers a more permanent correction to perioral rhytids. The PEARL Fractional™ treatment is performed here in the office. Most patients see significant improvement after just one treatment but typically require multiple sessions to get full correction. Downtime is less than a week, and risks are less than more aggressive laser treatments. Maximum results are visible in 1-3 months.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Full strength CO2 laser resurfacing is a little bit more invasive and requires some type of sedation. However, results can be dramatic, reversing signs of damage and providing a significant cosmetic improvement. Downtime following CO2 laser is typically 10-14 days. While it does provide the most complete reversal of lip lines, it is associated with some color loss and requires long-term sun avoidance. We typically reserve these treatments for patients who avoid the sun, always wear make-up and are looking for maximal improvement.
Lip lines are a common complaint. There are many great options for treatment depending on severity, possible downtime and desired results. Call today to see which option is right for you.