When it comes to our lips, we all want the same thing:
healthy, hydrated, radiant lips that make the face look more youthful, that don’t disappear when we smile, and that give us confidence when we step out into the world.
In the care of facial sculpting pioneer Dr. Jason Emer, lip augmentation with injectable fillers is a safe, simple, and effective treatment that can lift, enhance and balance the lips. With Dr. Emer’s unparalleled artistry, the proper injection technique, and the right choice of filler, your lips and surrounding area can be improved in mere minutes. The result is a natural, enhanced look to the lower face, chin and jowls and a radiant, approachable smile.
Despite their name, injectable fillers do more than fill. Strategically placed, hyaluronic acid-based fillers can be used to hydrate, contour, define, lift, plump, volumize and smooth fine lines around the lips. Younger women in particular are seeking out soft fillers like Juvederm Volbella and Vollure, Revanesse Versa, Restylane Refyne, and Belotero to obtain long-lasting, natural-looking improvement and minimize those stubborn vertical lip lines. For those looking for full, voluminous lips, Juvederm Ultra Plus, Juvederm Voluma, and Restylane Defyne can produce a more robust look.
What are the benefits?
Over time, due to the natural aging process, genetics, weight loss, and stress, we all begin to lose facial volume, fines lines start to appear, and our lips begin to thin, making us look and feel older than we are. For many, the lips can become flat, horizontal, and/or dehydrated. In the care of an expert injector and facial sculpting expert like Dr. Emer, soft injectable fillers can reverse the early signs of aging and give the lips a subtle enhancement and shape.
A common misconception is that fillers create overly plumped, unnatural lips, but as with any treatment, it depends on your ultimate goals. Most of the patients in Dr. Emer’s care are seeking subtle changes with feature enhancement and not overly done, voluptuous lips. Fillers can also improve the appearance of skin around the lips, including reduced lines, wrinkles and folds and smoother skin texture due to long-term collagen production.
For those who already love the size and shape of their lips, subtle lip augmentation — with just the right amount of filler and expert injection techniques — is more of a maintenance treatment than a transformation. It’s a slight enhancement that makes the lips “POP” with fullness, definition, border shaping, lip eversion, upturned lip corners, and a stunning Cupid’s bow.
Based on the filler and the specific injection technique used, lip augmentation with fillers can create a number of improvements on and around the lips, including:
- Increased lip volume and lift
- Subtle plumping effect
- Reinforced structure and definition, particularly in the Cupid’s bow and lip borders
- Proper lip ratio and symmetry
- Hydrated lips
- Fine contouring
- Improved downturned corners of the mouth
- Softened smile lines, lip lines, vertical lines, marionette lines, nasolabial folds, and chin creases
- Wrinkle improvement
- Enhanced chin projection
Lip care is especially critical in the dry, winter months, as the conditions outdoors can leave our skin dehydrated and our lips chapped. In these months, lip fillers can be used simply to hydrate and soften the lips and to address the wrinkles and folds that form on and around the mouth. In addition to fillers, Dr. Emer and his expert aestheticians recommend a rejuvenating skin care protocol with an assortment of products and devices, including:
- RestorSea Lip Magic
- Skinceuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair
- Lucy & Co. Hydrating Lip Plumper
- Genosys Eye Roller (0.25mm)
- AnteAGE MD Microneedling Kit
Do men get lip fillers too?
Who said men can’t have nice lips? In this age, more and more men are looking for natural and subtle enhancements to their signature features. For male patients, it’s important to individualize lip augmentation treatments and focus on subtle improvements. It’s less about volume and much more about lifting, shaping, contouring, and creating harmony and symmetry with sculpting techniques.
When injecting male lips, Dr. Emer pays close attention to the chin area. Microdroplets to the chin crease, the chin itself, and folds around the lips can enhance the lower face and give a more striking, masculine appearance.
So, how does it work?
A meticulous and skillful craftsman and facial sculpting expert, Dr. Emer is especially cautious and attentive when performing a lip augmentation treatment. Each patient deserves a customized approach to ensure that all areas of the lip are treated, that all of his patients’ concerns are addressed, and that the resulting “plumped” lip never appears unnatural or overdone.
- Lip augmentation technique varies depending on your aesthetic goals. Dr. Emer injects filler in various locations, including the vermilion border (or outline) of the lips to give eversion, projection and lift; the lip belly (to achieve a pouty “model” look); and into the Cupid’s bow.
- Using a pillar technique, Dr. Emer is able to create more defined philtral columns, the vertical ridges that connect the bottom of the nose to the lips. This technique provides a minor lip lift and also accentuates the Cupid’s bow.
- When a patient’s upper lip is noticeably smaller in volume as compared to the lower lip, Dr. Emer uses fillers to create an ideal lip ratio (⅓ top, ⅔ bottom).
- For patients with full lips who are merely looking for lift and projection, Dr. Emer creates small columns of filler in the front of the lip to plump and pull the lip forward.
- Microdroplets along the outside of the lips help to build volume, create lip lines, and prompt the lip corners to turn up, making the face and chin appear more symmetrical.
- By injecting dots along the chin, Dr. Emer is able to elongate and contour the face.
- Using a cross-hatching technique, Dr. Emer also injects filler into the medial lateral part of the cheek, providing support to the area, lifting the mid-face, and giving a more masculine appearance.
There are numerous blood vessels in the lip area; for this reason, Dr. Emer uses cannulas whenever possible to limit the amount of bruising. Lidocaine (or numbing medication) in the filler can also reduce bruising and make injections more tolerable.
When seeking a lip augmentation, it’s extremely important to see a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and facial sculpting specialist like Dr. Emer, who instinctively knows the best techniques and understands the underlying facial anatomy to achieve the desired look; in the wrong hands, the results can be overdone, unbalanced, or drastically different than expected. Meticulous attention to detail and technique are essential to crafting healthy, symmetrical and beautiful lips.
Which fillers do you use?
Part of Dr. Emer’s expertise with dermal fillers is his vast knowledge of products currently available on the market, the benefits and disadvantages of each product, and how those fillers behave when injected. Upon conducting a formal evaluation, Dr. Emer can determine the best filler for your lips and precisely how much filler (and how many treatments) will be needed to achieve your aesthetic goals.
For lip augmentation, Dr. Emer uses hyaluronic acid-based (or sugar-based) fillers that have little risks and are easily dissolved if desired. The dermal fillers Dr. Emer typically uses on the lips include:
- Revanesse Versa. A pre-hydrated, super soft dermal filler with minimal swelling, Revanesse Versa is often injected into areas where the skin is soft or thin, such as the lips, under the eyes, chin crease, nose, and neck. Revanesse Versa is a great choice for patients seeking improvements with hydration and a subtle “pout” effect.
- Restylane Silk. A soft filler that hydrates and softens the lips and the lip border, Restylane Silk is the first FDA-approved product specifically designed for lip augmentation and the smoothing of wrinkles around the mouth. Offering subtle, natural-looking results, Restylane Silk injections typically last 6 to 9 months and can be combined with lasers for optimal improvements to “smoker’s lines” and perioral lip lines.
- Restylane Refyne / Defyne. Known for their super-natural results, these smooth, flexible fillers are softer than other sugar-based fillers, making them more useful in areas of mobility around the mouth and smile lines. With a consistency of honey, Refyne and Defyne stick to the surrounding tissue, so they rarely lump or clump. Because it’s the more robust of the two, Restylane Defyne is typically injected deeper for lifting areas like the cheeks, jawline, chin and temples; on the other hand, Restylane Refyne is used superficially to improve fine lines, neck lines, soft folds, under the eyes, and the chin crease, and neck lines. These unique fillers can also be injected into the lips to give shape and definition, correct asymmetries, and provide a light, natural plump.
- Juvederm Voluma. Perfect for patients seeking enhanced volume in the lips, Juvederm Voluma creates a youthful plump with a supportive lip structure that lasts up to 2 years. Unlike softer fillers, which rely on swelling to give shape to the lip, Juvederm Voluma’s plumping is instantaneous and produces minimal inflammation. For those looking for large, luscious, kissable lips, Dr. Emer recommends a modest amount of Voluma at first and then a subsequent touch-up 2 to 4 weeks later.
- Juvederm Volbella. Ideal for subtle improvements to lip shape, lift, and definition with only a small amount of volumization, Juvederm Volbella is most effective when fine-tuning the lip corners and lip lines, reducing neck lines, for nasal contouring, and improving under the eyes. Dr. Emer injects Juvederm Volbella in microdroplets and lightly massages the filler into the treated area. Patients see immediate improvement after just a single treatment and experience minimal swelling. In most cases, the results last up to 12 months.
- Juvederm Vollure. The third dermal filler in the Juvederm family, Juvederm Vollure is unique because it is a hybrid of Juvederm Volbella (a subtle filler ideal for fine lines) and Juvederm Voluma (a more substantial filler perfect for cheeks and folds). The result is a soft injectable filler that offers some plump and contour while also hydrating and defining the lips. Results from Juvederm Vollure can last up to 18 months.
- Juvederm Ultra / Juvederm Ultra Plus. The classic “go-to” dermal filler, Juvederm Ultra and Juvederm Ultra Plus are robust fillers and the perfect choice for those seeking a subtle but powerful lip rejuvenation with added volume, minor lip lift, definition, and shape. Results from Juvederm Ultra and Juvederm Ultra Plus last up to 9 months.
- Belotero Balance. A versatile, soft tissue filler, Dr. Emer uses Belotero Balance to plump, soften and smooth lip lines, smoker lines, wrinkles and nasolabial folds; reverse the signs of aging around the mouth; and improve skin texture longterm through enhanced collagen production. Belotero Balance integrates completely into the tissue, so there is no risk of lumps or bumps beneath the skin. Great in combination with laser resurfacing, peels, and microneedling RF, it can also be used to define the border of the lip, prompt lip eversion, upturn the corners of the lip, and fill chin indentations. The results of Belotero Balance typically last 6 to 12 months.
Is it safe for everyone?
When injected in moderate doses by a skilled professional like Dr. Emer, yes, injectable fillers are safe for all patients. Some patients do experience reactions to certain fillers, such as atypical bruising or prolonged swelling; in those cases, the filler can be dissolved and a new treatment can be prescribed.
How does Dr. Emer do it differently?
When shaping, defining and volumizing the lips, it’s important to devise an individualized treatment plan that best suits you and your ultimate goals. A meticulous and methodical sculptor, Dr. Emer frequently combines lip augmentation with complementary treatments to achieve a proportional, harmonious appearance.
- Dr. Emer uses injectable fillers in all parts of the face to create facial contouring, improve volume loss, enhance features, and create facial symmetry. Using Sculptra as a base for collagen production, Dr. Emer employs “thicker” fillers for substantial volume increase or noticeable lifting in areas that tend to fall or droop as we age, such as the cheeks, temples, jawline and chin. Following with “softer” fillers, Dr. Emer then focuses on the finer details: filling the hollows beneath the eyes, improving fine lines and wrinkles, contouring chin creases and dimples, and enhancing the lips.
- When performing a lip augmentation, Dr. Emer blends, contours, and sculpts everything around the mouth as well, including elongating the chin.
- In addition to enhancing the lips, fillers like Revanesse Versa are also used for sculpting of the face and neck and work well on facial wrinkles and creases; on the cheeks, jawline and chin; on nasolabial folds; and under the eyes.
- Dr. Emer is able to treat the nasolabial folds (also known as laugh lines or marionette lines) that appear with aging. The nasolabial folds are a common area for men to begin their treatments, as the improvements are soft and subtle.
- As a complement to injectable fillers, fat can also be injected into the lips and throughout the face to create natural, long-term improvement in volume. Dr. Emer uses a water-assisted harvesting method and combines fat with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and growth factors from the patient’s own blood in order to get the most viable, sustainable fat cells, producing immediate, noticeable and permanent results.
- Another complement to injectable lip fillers is threading, which creates volume, definition, and a slight eversion in the lips. Synthetic, absorbable “twist threads,” often used for facial rejuvenation, are inserted along the border of the lips to provide immediate lift and shape, long-term collagen production, and fine line improvement. This safe, painless treatment produces immediate results and lasts for 6 to 9 months.
- Lip lift surgery, which involves the removal of tissue beneath the nose, creates an instant lift and can dramatically improve the appearance of the upper lip.
How long is a lip augmentation procedure?
Lip augmentation treatments alone typically take 10 to 15 minutes, although many patients opt for additional facial sculpting treatments in the same session.
Is it painful?
Lip augmentation patients will experience some minor pain with the injections, but Dr. Emer reduces the pain as much as possible with numbing cream, numbing medication mixed into the filler injection, ice packs applied between injections, and by minimizing the number of injection or entry points.
Dr. Emer also reduces patient discomfort by using a vibration technique at the injection area and by injecting slowly and meticulously, which limits any bruising or swelling. When a cannula is used, Dr. Emer can move through the underlying lip tissue with very minimal pain and bruising.
What is the downtime?
There is almost no downtime with lip augmentation procedures. Patients can return to work or to their daily lives immediately after the treatment.
Can the treatment be reversed?
Yes! Patients will occasionally come to Dr. Emer after poor experiences with other dermatologists or injectors, dissatisfied with their results. Obtaining a lip augmentation procedure with an inexperienced injector can often cause unnecessary bumps or bruising due to poor filler placement; seeing an expert is vitally important.
Dermal fillers are made with hyaluronic acid, a sugar found in the body; by injecting hyaluronidase (a protein enzyme) into the lips, Dr. Emer can reverse the filler fairly easily. The results of the reversal are typically evident in 24 to 72 hours, though occasionally more than one hyaluronidase injection is needed to complete the reversal.
Left: Before reversal with improper injection. Right: After reversal with hyaluronidase.
Once the filler has been dissolved and the area has healed, Dr. Emer can begin work on a fresh, clean canvas, develop a new, custom-tailored treatment plan, select a filler best-suited for the patient, and inject it masterfully into the lips.
What is the after care protocol?
As always, Dr. Jason Emer works closely with his team to develop specific after care protocols that complement each treatment in order to improve the intended results and accelerate healing. As a follow-up to lip augmentation treatments, Dr. Emer suggests the following products and devices, all of which are currently available on ShopEmerMD.com.
- Lucy & Co Hydrating Lip Plumper (pictured right) promotes cellular regeneration, enhances collagen production, and contains a secret ingredient—peppermint—which stimulates blood flow to the lips, causing an almost immediate plumping effect that can last an hour or more.
- RestorSea Lip Magic is a naturally derived, non-toxic formula that gently hydrates and exfoliates the lips, resulting in softer, smoother, and plumper-looking lips after just two weeks.
- A must-have for those with dry or dehydrated lips, SkinCeuticals Antioxidant Lip Repair uses powerful antioxidants to shield the lips by creating a protective barrier on the skin, thereby protecting your lips from sun, smoke and air damage, preventing premature aging, restoring moisture, and smoothing the lips’ surface.
- LightStim for Pain, which can be used at home with a easy-to-use handheld device, uses soothing light energy to relieve pain, increase blood circulation, accelerate healing, and diminish bruising.
- All-natural Silagen Arnica Bromelain Complex dietary supplements can reduce bruising, swelling and pain and also accelerate healing.
We also encourage our patients to begin at-home dermarolling treatments following a lip augmentation procedure in order to maintain softness, keep the lips hydrated, and minimize environmental damage. The GENOSYS 0.25mm Roller (shown here) is safe for use around our most delicate facial features, including the areas around the lips and eyes.
How do I schedule a consultation with Dr. Emer?
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Emer in Beverly Hills / Los Angeles / West Hollywood, California, please reach out to our concierge to schedule an appointment. Call 424-800-4140 or email us at [email protected].