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Is it possible to have fuller lips without coming out looking like a duck?

Absolutely. There is such a severe stigma attached to getting lip injections with fillers like Restylane® and Juvederm™, and it’s just because the only ones everyone knows about are the bad ones. I personally have never had a patient come in asking me to make her lips look fake. The words I hear over and over again are: “Just the littlest bit, really, I don’t want anyone to know.” The truth is, most plastic surgeons and dermatologists are quite skilled at lip injections (and you probably have friends who are well aware of this and are not owning up). So you should not deprive yourself of having better, fuller, more youthful lips. Just be aware of the basics of lip aesthetics, and make sure your doctor is on the same page:

1)      Youthful lips are full only centrally, not all over. Compare this newborn baby’s lips to the Housewife’s:

2)      In natural, or at least “natural-looking” full lips, the bottom lip is always bigger than the top lip. This is something that most people don’t even notice until it’s pointed out to them—that it’s the bottom lip that gives you the sexy pout, as in this gorgeous model (Although this girl doesn’t look as good in the candids I’ve seen of her, so I think it’s safe to say that this picture is pretty photo-shopped--even still, she does have enviable lips):

3)      Our lips—and, basically everything else on our face--lengthen and sag as we age. Compare this nineteen year-old woman and her forty-five year-old mother:

It is youthful to have a short upper lip or “upper teeth show” as opposed to having a longer upper lip, where there is just “lower teeth show.”  The “length” of your upper lip is the distance from the bottom of your nose to the bottom of your upper lip. Regardless of age, some women genetically have shorter/longer lips than others.

If you have a long upper lip, you are at a higher risk for getting Duck Lips from a lip injection, because the lip will get longer and more dragged down from the filler. This doesn’t mean you can’t have filler in your lips—just that you must proceed with caution. Make sure the amount put in the upper lip is minimal, and see if the doctor can just put it in the vermilion (the red part). I have found that staying away from the vermilion border (the lip line) is key in avoiding the Duck Lips look in my patients with longer upper lips.

So now you went and got some filler in your lips, like you’ve always wanted to do, very conservatively. How do you prevent severe swelling in the next twenty-four hours that will give you temporary Duck Lips?

1) Stay away from salty food before and after the injections. Restylane™ and Juvederm™ are hyaluronic acids, which absorb water. Juvederm Ultra™ is my personal favorite for the lips because it doesn’t swell as much as the others, but also probably doesn’t last as long.

2) Try to avoid all aspirin and ibuprofen products for at least a week before, since they can increase bruising.

3) Take Arnica

4) Drink water with lemon for the next few hours. Lemon is a natural diuretic. I learned this one from my sister. Whenever I do her lips for her when she’s in town, she greets me at her hotel room with a bucket of ice and a bowl of lemons that she's just ordered up from room service.

5) That night, sleep with your head elevated on a couple of pillows

6) No matter how happy you were with it on the day of the procedure, no matter how minimal the injection was, do not look at yourself in the mirror the next morning until after you’ve had a chance to ice, and if you happen to catch a glimpse, don’t freak out. Just ice ice ice for half an hour and they will go down by the time you have to go to work.

And if after all of this you are absolutely so freaked out by your huge lips and you are afraid that you’ve made the biggest mistake of your life, don’t worry. Your doctor can make it disappear with Widase® or Vitrase®, a hyaluronidase that dissolves the filler, sometimes in a number of hours. So maybe now when you hear the words,

"Lip injections"--instead of thinking about the people you know who've had them, you might start thinking about those who "haven't." ;-) Like this person:

Big X!!! LQ

PS. Check out the new video "Five Things You Need to Know About Lip Injections!"

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.