How Med Spas are Using Fillers to Create a Natural Lip Look

Photography: Getty Images

One of the biggest trends in lip treatments right now is the natural look, meaning medical spa-goers want younger-looking, plump lips that still look authentic and not overdone. As practitioners respond to this trend, they are adjusting the amount of injectables they use.

“First time lip filler volume may be anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 ml, a half to a whole syringe,” says Todd A. Besnoff, M.D., president and medical director at Ultimate Image Cosmetic Medical Center (Clearwater, FL). “I would not recommend using more than one full syringe at a time in the average lip, because filling stretches the tissue, and if it is stretched too much at once, it can lead to poor results.”

According to information published by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), medical-spa professionals are advised to use a conservative amount of fillers in order to achieve a more natural lip. “It’s important to not use too much filler and respect the natural shape of the lips and not try to change it, says Garrett Gause M.D., medical director and vice president of medical affairs at Ideal Image (multiple locations). "Most of the time, it is not the lip filler that causes fake-looking lips, it is the technique of the licensed medical professional performing the treatment. Small, subtle changes are recommended.” Using less filler also helps to avoid the “duck lip” look, an unnatural over-processed lip appearance. 

Also trending? Men. “There has been a dramatic rise in men seeking treatment of the lip area," says Rian A. Maercks M.D., reconstructive plastic surgeon at The Maercks Institute (Miami). "Even more than the women in my practice, they are terrified of the ‘duck lip’ look or appearing fake. Men also worry about being feminized, so technique is crucial here.”  In the search for a more natural result when using fillers, Maercks developed a facial balancing method. When he treats the lips, he balances the face by also treating the perioral subunit, the area between the nasolabial folds, nose, and chin.

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