Different Types of Lips and Cosmetic Enhancements
The lips are the focal point of the face. Think about it: You use them to talk, to smile, to frown, to pout – basically to communicate your feelings to the world. And one swipe of gloss or lipstick can transform your face along with how you feel. Have you ever stop to analysis the different types of lips people have?
While all lips are uniquely beautiful, cosmetic enhancements have made it possible to change the appearance of your lips. In this guide, we will discuss the various types of lips and lip enhancements available.
Types of Lips: Anatomy
Your lips are unlike any other part of your anatomy. They’re made up of muscle, mucosa, and skin without any cartilage or bone. This makes lips uniquely pliable – they’re made for smiling, after all!
Lips also don’t have any sebaceous glands, which makes them softer than the surrounding skin on the face but also more susceptible to dehydration and damage from the sun. This is why hydration and protection are so essential to the health of your lips.
Lip anatomy is distinctive and is comprised of these different areas:
The Cupid’s bow is the area of your upper lip beneath your nose. It’s that little dip that appears to point down between the two curves in your upper lip. Named for the bow of that devious little cherub Cupid, some people prefer a more pronounced bow than others.
In the middle of your upper lip is an indentation right above the bow of your lips. This is called the medial cleft, or philtrum. It is made up of the philtral dimple that is nestled between the two philtral columns. The philtral columns are the “lines” on each side of the philtral dimple and typically line up perfectly with the raised curves of the Cupid’s bow.
The line that separates your lips from the rest of your face? That’s the vermilion border. Many women apply lipstick or lip liner along this area and it’s an important area of lip anatomy for many lip enhancement procedures.
You have two tubercles, or bumps, on the bottom lip and three on the top. These tubercles work together to create an outward projection to your lips. In other words, the tubercles are what gives your lips volume and fullness.
The oral commissures are the corners of your mouth where the vermillion border and upper lip meet the lower lip.
Different Types of Lips
You may think that all lips are the same, but the truth is that there are many distinctive types of lips. Some people have a lip type naturally and some people aspire to enhance their natural lip shape with cosmetic injectables.. Here are a few of the most popular lip types:
This lip shape is called the gull wing because it looks like a child’s drawing of a seagull. Its shape is a gently extended M that increases the border of your upper lip.
Sausage lips are lips in which the top and bottom are plump and full. Often this type of lip doesn’t have a very pronounced Cupid’s bow.
Full lips are just that – full! They maintain the traditional shape one may think of when envisioning lips since they maintain the Cupid’s bow on top and a rounded, full lip on the bottom.
Shelf lips tend to be thin but protrude a bit, so they looked stacked on top of one another like a shelf.
This type of lip seems to have all of its volume in the middle, thinning out towards the corners of the mouth.
Double Lobe Upper
Remember the tubercles? Well, with double lobe upper lips, the two outside tubercles on the upper lips are more pronounced, forming a plump and pouty upper lip.
Triple Lobe Upper
With the triple lobe upper lip, you have all three upper tubercles looking full and plump. This often gives the appearance of a fuller upper lip.
Double Lobe Lower
With the double lobed lower lip, the two tubercles on the lower lip are full. This creates a look where the lower lip is poutier and fuller than the top lip.
What Are Lip Lines?
The lines that appear around and above your lips are called lip lines. These vertical lines appear to run from the top of your lip to your nose. If there’s a particular lip shape you’ve always envied, then there may be a way to achieve it with cosmetic enhancements.
How Do Lip Lines Develop?
Everyone develops lip lines. And if they seem to sneak up on you, that’s pretty normal too. These types of lines form slowly over time and become more pronounced as you get older due to the breakdown of elastin and collagen in the skin.
These proteins, elastin, and collagen, are what keep your skin looking young, supple, and tight. When they begin to break down and your body is unable to replace them, then wrinkles become more pronounced.
Another side effect of the aging process is a decrease in the natural oils your skin produces. These oils work to keep the upper layer of skin hydrated. Once they start to diminish, then you may begin to notice lip lines more.
How Are Lip Lines Treated?
Aside from a regular skincare routine that involves moisturizer and sunscreen, there are some treatments available for lip lines. Three of the most popular are:
Botox injections work to relax muscles and help reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Most of the lines around the mouth form due to hyperactivity of the Orbicularis Oris muscle. This will help soften the creases, as well as decrease the fold lines. The bonus to Botox injections is that it acts as “speech therapy”. Teaching us to speak without overusing the muscles, which will have long term benefits. Plus, it is inexpensive, as minimal units will be needed to help decrease lip lines. In addition, these injections will have a volumizing effect on lip size and shape.
It is a temporary fix, as it will only last about six weeks. It may make the lips feel a little bit numb and you may have difficulties drinking from a straw. Some may notice pronouncing the letters B and P will be softer.
Fillers are another great option to help with lip lines. We use thin, soft, and natural-looking fillers such as Volbella and Restylane Silk injected directly into the area to add volume and create definition. We can also enhance the border and body of the lips with injectable fillers that enhance your natural lip shape and give you the results you desire. It will highly depend on what type of filler you go with as to how long it will last.
You can achieve subtle results with fillers, but NovaThreads are gaining popularity as a cosmetic enhancement for the lips. This minimally invasive procedure uses tiny, dissolvable threads to boost your body’s natural production of collagen in the lips. Fine lines are smoothed and the definition is given to the area. Threads can also prevent lip lines. Collagen production can last up to 2 years.
Lifting the Corners of the Lips
As you get older, your mouth may appear to turn down at the corners. Corner lip lifts are a great way to counteract this part of the aging process and it can be done easily with a few different cosmetic enhancement procedures.
Botox does inhibit muscle contraction, which you may think would serve to relax the corners of the mouth further. However, injecting Botox into the muscles that surround the mouth and targeting the corners specifically can produce a lifting effect. By targeting the muscle that pulls your mouth into a frown, you allow other muscles to naturally lift the corners of the mouth.
Aside from the downturn of the corners of the mouth that can happen as you age, many people also develop marionette lines. These types of lines are vertical wrinkles that traverse from the corners of the lips to the chin. The name is derived from Marionette puppets that have faces with long vertical creases. Marionette lines provide a sad look to the face. This look typically occurs due to age, smoking, and genetics.
However, in as little as 5 minutes, marionette lines can be taken care of with dermal fillers. These fillers will add volume and anchor the corner of the lips higher. Results are immediate and these fillers will typically last 10-12 months. You may experience possible mild injection site swelling and bruising.
Enhancing Shape and Volume of Lips
Enhancing the shape and volume of the lips non-surgically is a cosmetic enhancement that is quite popular. It’s important to enhance the lips to be the most natural-looking possible, which is why we aim for certain ratios of lips based on individual factors.
Two procedures that are quite popular for lip enhancement are:
Botox can be used to make your lips look larger. You may have seen this referred to as the “Botox lip flip.” To achieve this, a small amount of Botox is injected around the upper lip, causing the muscles to relax. This allows the lip to naturally curl upward, making it appear larger without adding actual volume. Botox has the added benefit of smoothing out the fine lines and wrinkles around the lips and mouth.
Lip fullness can decrease as you age. If you want to add volume to your lips, then an injectable filler may be just what you need.
There is a wide variety of injectable fillers available and each can produce slightly different results. The goal is to add just enough volume to enhance the lips and smooth them out without looking unnatural or “over-plumped.” Depending on the product used, the results can last anywhere from six months to two years.
Types of Lips: Frequently Asked Questions
People tend to have a lot of questions about cosmetic enhancements for the lips. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions:
Are Lip Enhancements Permanent?
Lip fillers used to shape and plump the lips are not permanent. Depending on the product used, they can last from a few months to a couple of years but are made to be absorbed by the body. Other products, such as Botox and NovaThreads, are also slowly absorbed by the body over time and won’t result in permanent enhancement.
What is the Safest Lip Filler?
Every product used in our office is approved by the FDA and has been tested for safety and efficacy. Many of the most popular fillers on the market that are used for lip enhancement are hyaluronic acid fillers. These improve the shape, volume, and structure of the lips by supporting the tissue.
They offer easy control over the volume added to the lips, allow a gradual pace of treatment to help you get to the results you want, and are made from substances similar to the ones naturally found in the body.
Can You Change Your Lip Shape?
If you have small lips but have always wanted rosebud lips, is that even possible? Unfortunately, you cannot change your lips, but you can enhance what you have. Injectables won’t be able to take you from thin lips to sausage lips or create lobular dips where there weren’t any, but the doctor can work with you to show the possibilities of what injectables can do to enhance your natural lip shape.
Does Anything Need to Be Avoided After Cosmetic Enhancements to the Lips?
You will be educated about the do’s and don’ts after a particular procedure, but in general, yes – some things should be avoided after a cosmetic enhancement of the lips.
In the first day or two after a procedure, you’ll want to avoid doing anything that puts pressure on the lips and avoid exfoliating agents on the lips too. If you’ve had Botox, you may find it difficult to drink from a straw – but that’s probably something you want to avoid anyway.
Overall, cosmetic enhancements to the lips won’t preclude you from doing anything permanently. You’ll need to be careful in the day or two after the procedure, but everything should work as it normally would.
Will Your Lips Shrink After a Cosmetic Enhancement?
Since treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers aren’t permanent, eventually your lips will reduce in volume. However, they won’t shrink to a smaller size than they were before the treatment.
Are You Ready For Your Perfect Lips?
Not everyone is born with the features they want, but thanks to lip enhancements like Botox, NovaThreads, and injectable fillers, you can have the lips you’ve always dreamed of.