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Read This Before You Get Your Lips Done...

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Photo: Anna Sudit
It was breasts in the '80s, lipo in the '90s, foreheads in the '00s, and now, millenials seems to have settled on the mouth as the most fashionable area for cosmetic enhancement. In an age where sex sells, it makes sense that the lips have become a status symbol, a trophy feature to be highlighted and shown off; the most covetable accessory of the season.

In large this is down to what we'll call the Kylie Jenner effect; troops of girls have taken her lead and are posting highly-pencilled lip snaps on Instagram. Before Kylie eventually admitted to having had her lips enhanced, she told Grazia in April 2015, "I haven’t had plastic surgery. I’ve never been under the knife. People flashback to pictures of me when I was 12 and say ‘Kylie’s so different’ but how can I look the same from 12-18?" People went mad for her recommended lip liner, Mac's Spice, which sold out everywhere. Then they started sucking shot glasses to achieve her plumped pout and seriously hurting themselves.

Finally Kylie admitted to fillers in May of last year, igniting a trend so viral, we need a new name for it. While we're equipped with pop-culture horror stories (e.g. Leslie Ash), they've fallen on deaf ears. After Kylie admitted to fillers, London surgeries reported a 70% rise in enquiries for the procedure within the following 24 hours. The fall-out, of course, is that because fillers don't technically count as surgery (they're injectable) it's easy to have a more casual relationship to them, rather than, say, a procedure like a nose job that requires a general anaesthetic and a recovery time.

We thought it was well overdue to sit down with a professional and discuss the pros and cons of lip fillers. Dr Yannis, an acclaimed plastic surgeon at 111 Harley Street, did the honours. Here's what he had to say...
How do fillers work?
As we age, the skin loses laxity, volume and subcutaneous fat. Dermal fillers which are naturally derived such as hyaluronic acid can be injected into the skin to plump, add volume to the area or to soften facial lines or wrinkles.

How much are they?
From £190 for a single treatment with the nurse, up to £1320 for a masseter treatment with the medical director.

Are there risks involved?
As with any procedure, surgical or non-surgical, there is always an element of risk involved. However, with correct administration of the injections, the risks associated with naturally derived dermal fillers are rare and minimal. These can vary from a little bruising to lumps around the area.

What are these lumps and why do they happen?
They are usually inside the lip so cannot be seen on the outside, however, if you feel the lip from the inside they can be felt. Sometimes too much product is injected, resulting in it looking for a space to sit in. If minor, they will disappear with time. If the lumps are more noticeable, we can inject a substance to make them disappear. They could occur with too thick a filler and they are more likely to show up with a patient who has thin lips as the space wherein you are injecting is small.

What are the risks of having
hyaluronic acid filler in your lips?
Lip fillers should be administered in a safe and sterile environment by a fully trained practitioner who can exhibit good results in order to avoid disfigurement. Unfortunately, the treatment is often portrayed as a ‘beauty treatment’ and offered at slashed prices in an unsterile environment, leading to many unregulated establishments acting unethically. In these cases, there are great risks with lip fillers such as: infection, bruising, necrosis and disfigurement. A lack of care and experience heightens these risks, so people should do thorough research on the establishment and the practitioner offering the treatment and not be lured in to cheap options.
Why is it so often very noticeable?
Some patients use fillers to add volume to areas of the face where natural fat has depleted such as around the eyes and the cheeks. When administered in the correct way, you should get natural looking results. However, sometimes the results can look unnatural when too much filler is placed in these areas which makes the face look puffy. The best approach is “less is more”. More filler can always be added, but it is more difficult to take away if you’ve gone overboard. When you are over 50, problems can also arise as the loss of facial volume is too significant and so the results are less subtle. At this age, you might need to tighten and lift the skin with a face lift. The reason you see so many bad cases of fillers is because the media sensationalise the worst ‘botched’ cases, but generally speaking, you can achieve very natural looking results when administered correctly.

Who is an ideal candidate for the treatment?

Dermal fillers are a fantastic option for those that have imperfections and irregularities on the face. They can help with superficial problems such as wrinkles and lines, small and thin lips, dents or contours in the face, hollows under the eyes, and even irregularities with the nose.

How young can you be to have the treatment?

Fillers aren’t usually necessary for the face until your forties which is when you may start to notice a visible loss of volume in the skin. On the other hand, lip fillers can be offered at a younger age, particularly as they are part of a growing non-surgical trend at the moment. I would not recommend lip fillers for anyone who has not yet reached their mid-twenties, but this is also dependent on whether or not they will be considered as a good candidate.

What are the worst side effects?

Side effects are rare but you may experience: bruising, redness, swelling and in some cases, you may see or feel little bumps under the skin. Sometimes, but not often, these bumps will be permanent. In the worst case scenario, you could be left with extreme swelling or bumps, then the adverse effects can be treated with Hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler.

Do you ever say no to a patient requesting the treatment, and if so, why?

A patient may be turned away if they are not a good candidate for the treatment. This is determined on a case by case basis. An example of why they might be turned away could be because they have unrealistic expectations of the treatment. In addition, if they were interested in lip fillers they might be turned away if they have cold sores present on the day of treatment.
Do you make patients go away and have a thinking period?

There is significant danger in not having a ‘cooling off’ period after a consultation, and makes people rush in to uninformed decisions. For this reason, I advise patients to avoid considering purchasing surgery through deal sites as you are not given the opportunity to gather all the necessary information and take careful consideration over it.

You can only ensure good results will occur when you have the treatment for the right reasons at a suitable time and it is performed in a reputable establishment by a qualified trained professional who fully understands your needs.
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