Lip Fullness Decreases Perceived Age

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Can poutier, fuller lips make a woman appear younger than her real age? According to a recent Unilever-sponsored study by scientist David Gunn, they most definitely can.

Lip Augmentation or Lift Can Create a Younger Look

“As we age, the upper lip begins to thin, descending over the teeth like a curtain. Because Baby Boomers are experiencing this problem in such huge numbers, at our office in New Jersey lip augmentation has become a popular procedure.”

A recent study, conducted at seven universities, scrutinized the faces of 102 pairs of Dutch female twins ages 59 to 81 and 162 individual British women ages 45 to 75. "When we identified women who looked young for their age, we were struck by the difference in their lips," said researcher David Gunn. The lips reach their maximum volume in young adulthood. For most people, lips begin shrinking between the ages of 30 and 40, making a woman look older than she actually is, Gunn reported.

According to board certified Englewood, New Jersey plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard A. D'Amico, "As we age, the upper lip begins to thin, descending over the teeth like a curtain. The upper border loses volume and becomes less 'pouty'. Gravity and bone loss due to age and soft tissue volume loss at the edges of the mouth cause the lip edges to turn downward in a frown. In addition to the volume loss in the lips, the lip margin itself may look less defined. The Cupid's bow at the center of the upper lip also loses its projection and flattens out. Because Baby Boomers are experiencing this problem in such huge numbers, at our office in [New Jersey lip augmentation has become a popular procedure."

That's the bad news. Here's the good news.

"The careful use of Juvederm® and Botox® can restore your lips to a more youthful, yet natural, look, taking years off your appearance," states Dr. D'Amico, 2008 president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This is his procedure to create younger, fuller lips for his patients:

  •     First, he outlines the edges of the lips with filler to prevent "lipstick bleeding" into the vertical lines of the lip. This also creates a more firm lip appearance, another hallmark of youth.
  •     He fills the vertical lip lines. Some people call these telltale signs of aging "smoker's lines." Though they come with age even without smoking, they come sooner for smokers (yet another reason to give it up!).
  •     Dr. D'Amico injects Juvederm®, a hyaluronic acid filler, to create volume in the body of the lips, with slightly less in the middle of the lower lip to enhance the pucker.
  •     Botox® is then injected to create a slight lift at the sides of the lips for an "upturned" appearance and to release the muscles that otherwise pull the sides of the lips downward.
  •     Juvederm® is inserted into the columns of the upper lip as well as the Cupid's bow "to enhance the pout without the 'trout mouth' look," says Dr. D'Amico.

"For individuals whose upper lip has drifted southward, covering the upper teeth when speaking and smiling, a lip lift may be just the ticket to board the Youth Train," states Dr. D'Amico. "When performed in the accredited surgery suite in our New Jersey plastic surgery practice, it only takes about 30 minutes under local anesthesia."

According to Dr. D'Amico, "By removing a modest amount of skin at the top, just at the base of the nose, we can restore the ideal distance from the bottom of the nose to the top of the upper lip, and "turn out" the red part (vermillion) of the lip in a more youthful position."

The lip lift can also be included in other facial procedure, such as a face lift. "New Jersey women--and men, as well--have a big interest in procedures that are minimally invasive yet take years off their appearance," says Dr. D'Amico.

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Anne Cohen
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