Lips have never been so on-trend. While a full pout has always been fashionable (spurred on by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox), these days Instagram has taken it to a new level.
We visited Dubai-based expert Dr Jaffer Khan, who is the medical director of Aesthetics International and Nova Clinic, to try out temporary lip fillers for ourselves and find out the insider knowledge. Here's what you need to know about the treatment...
1. The top lip is where you need to be most careful
You know the dreaded ‘trout pout’ that we’re all trying to avoid? The key area is that all-important top lip.
“I usually work on a 40:60 ratio – 60 being the lower lip,” explains Dr Khan. “Bad results from lips are generally because of the upper lip, not because of the lower lip. There is a white roll around the border, there is the philtrum and then the cupid’s bow area – we want to keep those. We start contouring a little bit on the lip line, but not so it goes too high above the lip, and then we roll out the wet vermillion. For the bottom lip, we like to keep a natural line in the middle, so there's a little cushion on each side.”
2. There is no way of telling exactly how long it will last
“We are generally using hyaluronic acid (HA), which is the most commonly used temporary filler. Some people feel it’s gone as early as two months, some people say it can stay for eight months. Generally people find that it’s in the wrong place it can stay longer. You see a lot of people with bad filler walking around with a ridge [on the top lip]. Once it escapes above the lip it can be there for up to four years. But the great thing about HA is that you can dissolve it. Everybody’s different, so it’s hard to say exactly how long it will last.”
3. Just because your friend has big lips, doesn’t mean that you can too
Although Dr Khan says it okay to take a picture in with you so that the doctor has an idea of your expectations, unfortunately your lips will dictate how much filler can be placed.
“There’s a finite amount that we can increase your lip size and if we go over that, that’s where we can run into difficultly,” he says. “If you take a cross section of your lip, the muscle is in the middle and there is fat on both sides, so we try to put the filler behind the muscle to roll the lip outwards. If the filler is placed in front of the muscle you can get lumps.”
4. It doesn’t hurt as much as you would expect
In the name of research we gave it a try and (surprisingly) it wasn’t very painful. Dr Khan used a numbing cream on our lower lip, a numbing gel on our upper gums, and gave us a numbing injection in our upper lip. By the time it came around to the filler, we could barely feel it.
5. Your lips will take a while to settle
“Some people have bruising around the injection sites,” Dr Khan explains. “You can also have swelling but that usually subsides within a few days.”
This is exactly what happened to us. There was a bit of swelling, but because we opted for a very natural look, we actually loved the swelling. It was fun to have big-ish lips for a few days. There were small lumps and bruises on the lips around the injection sites, but nothing that a few days of wearing lipstick couldn't hide.
6. Like with any procedure, there are risks involved
Aside from misplaced filler, duck lips and lumps, there can (very rarely) be other complications. This ranges from triggering underlying cold sores to infections, so make sure you go to a doctor who is up front about the risks, and is comfortable with providing aftercare if necessary.
“Word of mouth goes a long way,” says Dr Khan. “The best way to choose your doctor is to see their work for yourself.”
7. If lip filler is done well, you can’t tell it's there
Seriously, nobody noticed. Almost one week after the procedure, our lips look plump and juicy, but completely natural. We will definitely be visiting Dr Khan again.
Prices for filler with Dr Khan start at Dhs3,100, www.thenovaclinic.com