Guide to Great Lips

Innate Beauty Medical Rejuvenation Center - Dermal Fillers - Austin, Texas
May 2015

Have you taken the Kylie Jenner challenge? Please say no. There are better ways to get fuller lips than vacuuming them. In fact, there is a plethora of products that can be used in the lips that, when applied properly, won’t cause blood clots, bruising, and other irreparable damage. And gone are the days when lips have to be overfilled to achieve the desired results. Remember the First Wives Club? Yes, those were Goldie Hawn’s lips, and that is how they used to inject lips with collagen. Kind of scary.

What is safe to be injected in lips?
Collagen is no longer being used. Because it is derived from cows, skin testing is necessary to rule out allergies. It lasts three months after the initial double-fill wears off, so hardly worth the pain and swelling. Don’t even consider silicone…just bad news…the permanence of a blob in your mouth is simply not natural. Radiesse is calcium hydroxylapatite microspheres in a gel that stimulates collagen production that is not appropriate for the special lip tissue…and it’s solid white that shows through the lip mucosa…great for nasolabial folds and cheeks, but that’s another subject.

The filler of choice now is hyaluronic acid, which is a sugar that naturally occurs in vertebrate animals, so no skin testing is necessary. It acts like a sponge to hold onto juiciness in the tissues. Restylane and Juvederm are the two most commonly used lip fillers. These can last 9-12 months, depending on the formulation (Juvederm comes in Ultra and Ultra Plus). I prefer Juvederm, as it is smoother and does not have the tendency to form granulomas that Restylane does. Belotero and Restylane Silk are thinner fillers that are great for superfine lines, as well as lips. These last around 4-6 months.

What to look for when selecting a lip artist…

As with a hairstylist with crazy hair, you should be wary of an injector that talks with an overinflated red innertube. Their features should be proportional, and the work on themselves and fellow staff should reflect their aesthetic, and not be particularly obvious. You want your friends to say you look so refreshed, but they can’t put their finger on why…not avert their eyes during conversation, or immediately say, “You got your lips done!” The reason you receive a cosmetic procedure is to NOT look like you’ve had a cosmetic procedure…it is to look like a younger, fresher, version of yourself.

Find out how experienced they are…it is your body, after all. You should know the credentials of the one putting semi permanent product in your face. Never assume…especially if a group on is involved.

Ask for before and after photos of their actual clients, not stock photos from the company. My practice is built by word-of-mouth, because potential clients have seen live examples of my work. Most injectors are compensated by commission; that is, by how much they put in your lips, not by how good your lips look afterwards…more is not better. Not everyone has to look like a Stepford Wife.

As for numbing, I numb with cream and injections. No matter how well you think you handle pain, numbing cream is not enough. You flinch, the needle and product move, and you have a blob that is hard to smooth out. The lips are the most sensitive part of the face; taking a couple of minutes to properly numb you is not out of the question. The numbing ingredient in the filler does not actually numb you until it is in your face (i.e. after the injection).
In Texas, you are required to be examined and cleared by a physician prior to any injectable medication, like botox or filler.

How to get the best results…

  • Have realistic expectations. Bring in old photos of you with a relaxed, non-smiling mouth; it’s easier to see your baseline lip structure. Some mouths just don’t have the capacity to take a full syringe.
  • Hydrate! Since these products absorb water from surrounding tissue, the more hydrated you are, the more the product blossoms to fill in the wrinkles. Drink water, not tea or coffee.
  • Avoid alcohol, aspirin, advil, and other blood-thinning agents for at least three days prior to the procedure. The filler is injected…with a needle…you will bleed…and maybe bruise…for an unknown length of time. I have my clients also take arnica pills every few hours starting two days prior to mitigate any bleeding tendencies.
  • If you are prone to cold sores, start taking Valtrex at least the day prior, as the injections can trigger them.
  • Tell me if you have difficulty getting or staying numb, like when you go to the dentist.
  • Exercise prior to receiving filler; the cooler you stay the first 24 hours, the better the product will settle in. Dermal filler is malleable for the next two weeks, so try not to sleep on your face, drink with straws, or apply a vacuum to your lips.

Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Come get sculpted by Physician Artist, Dr. Shirat Ling, at Innate Beauty Medical Spa.
Your lips will be in good hands.

Dr. Ling


Dr. Ling
Dr. Shirat Ling is a national instructor who trains physicians to perform medical aesthetic procedures. This experience has provided Dr. Ling a unique perspective, recognizing that cosmetic medicine involves not only science and technique, but also an artist’s eye — a rare but essential combination.