Lip Augmentation and Enhancement: Anatomy of a Perfect Pout
Updated: Nov 16, 2020
There is a misconception that enhancing the lips means to simply volumize them. This cannot be farther from the truth. Most of my patients, and frankly most individuals nowadays, shy away from over-inflating the lips, lest they develop the peculiar "duck lip" appearance.
In general, patients seeking lip enhancement fall into three categories: those with naturally thin lips that desire fuller and more plump lips, those with otherwise full lips who simply want to improve the definition of their lips. and those with age-related changes who desire to rejuvenate the lips and perioral region.
Anatomy of the Lips
However, before augmenting, enhancing, or rejuvenating, , or the lips, one must have a keen understanding of the anatomy of the lips and what makes them appear youthful. The lips are defined by the vermillion border, the juncture where the lips meet the surrounding skin. The portion of the upper lip border that forms a double curve is called the Cupid's bow, named after the ancient Roman god of love. The peaks of the bow, named the Glogau-Klein points, coincide with the philtral columns, the raised vertical ridges that connect the bottom of the nose to the upper lip. The fleshy protuberance located in the center of the upper lip is known as the labial tubercle; whereas the corners of the mouth are known as the oral commissures. In the youthful lips, the ideal ratio of the vertical height of the upper lip to that of the lower lip is 1:1.6, often referred to as the golden ratio.
Aging of the Lips
Lips get their shape in part from collagen. As we age, we produce less collagen and elastin, and our lips start to lose their volume (plumpness) and their definition. As a result of aging, the lips become thinner, the Cupid’s bow and the philtral columns flatten, the oral commissures droop, and vertical wrinkles develop on either side of the vermillion border.
Enhancement of the Lips
The goal of rejuvenating the lips should be to restore lost volume and definition while maintaining natural and aesthetically-pleasing lip proportions. Multiple modalities are often needed to achieve the desired result.
Lip volume can be restored by injecting hyaluronic acid fillers into the body of the lip. Fillers can also add definition to the lips by accentuating the vermillion borders, the Cupid's bow, and the philtral columns, as well as upturn the oral commissures. With a combination of fillers, neuromodulators (such as Botox®) and skin resurfacing techniques, the perioral wrinkles can be softened.
With this in mind, a perfect pout involves lips that have:
appropriate fullness and plumpness that taper toward the corners
a uniform texture with good hydration
a pronounced Cupid's bow and defined vermillion borders
balanced lower and upper lips consistent with the golden ratio
a lower lip that is fuller than the upper lip
symmetry between the left and right side
For more information about lip augmentation/enhancement or to schedule a consultation, call us at 858.356.2647
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