Your Guide to Lip Augmentation – The 2024 Edition

Lip augmentation has exploded over the past 10 years. Here’s everything you need to know about what’s changed in 2024!

Think you know what’s what in lip augmentation? Read on for the updates on the lengths people are going to perfect their pouts! Image by halayalex for Freepik


It’s that time of year again, when I look at the procedures we’ve been doing in office and what’s trending online with regards to the surgical (and non-surgical) lengths people will go to in pursuit of the perfect pout.


You’d be surprised what difference a year can make.


Injectables, new cosmetic enhancements, and Instagram-trending surgery pics – read on for my thoughts on what’s changed in the lip augmentation arena and where I see things going in 2024. 


Aesthetics: The mirror lies… a lot. 

 There’s a phenomenon we see with all augmentation, where a subtle change (be it cosmetics or injectables) can lead to us having a distorted view of how we look – where the mirror lies, and we convince ourselves we need more. Fillers have become famous for it, where individuals are convinced that their cheek, lip, or chin filler has worn off or simply needs to be ‘bigger’. The lips are no exception to this trend, and you don’t need to be partaking of filler to experience it. Even the application of lip liner and lipstick regularly can lead to wanting ‘bigger’. Sometimes taking a bit of time away from looking at a mirror or photos is all that’s needed to ‘reset’. 


And for those who are convinced their filler has worn off after making injections a regular occurrence? It hasn’t. It’s still there, but one of two things have likely happened:

1. It’s spread (migrated) which the mouth area is prone to 


2. You’ve gotten used to how it looks.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the trend on social media towards extreme looks – where someone is so injected that their features are more cartoonish now than human. The goal in these instances isn’t to look ‘natural’ but to pursue an ‘alien-like’ aesthetic. No judgement – in some instances the influencers are making very calculated and savvy business decisions – but extreme looks, ones that defy nature and potentially impede function, are not part of my practice. 


What to do if you find yourself over-filled? 

The good news is that – to a large degree – you can easily have filler dissolved with hyaluronidase. Note, that doesn’t mean that lips always go back to their original shape, that can depend on how much filler has been injected over the years. Once filler is dissolved, it can be reinjected in the correct position. If your lips are over-filled and you decide you want a more natural look, dissolving is a great option and an experienced provider can really help you achieve this. 


And if you find yourself worried that you may have crossed the aesthetic line? A great test is to look at old photos and videos of yourself and compare them against newer ones (that haven’t been filtered and posed!). Often, it’s when people see a more candid photo of themselves (that they haven’t perfected the light and angles of) that they realize things may have gotten out of hand. 


And, if you’re considering lip injections but not sure about taking the plunge? Make-up… is an option. 

Make-up is an ever-evolving art and there are a lot of new techniques out there (Hint: search ‘lip lift make-up’ on TikTok) using liner and lipstick that really can make the lips appear bigger. It’s not the equivalent of surgery or filler, but there are some great optical illusions that can be created to give lips a fuller, more voluptuous appearance. 


And who knows? You might find that after a week or two it’s enough to satiate your curiosity or may sway you in the other direction, that your natural lips are better, avoiding a needle or surgery entirely. If you’re someone considering injections but not sure, it behooves you to check some of these great techniques out – there are many variations for different natural lip shapes.  

The Lip Quagmire: AKA Hyaluron pens 

You’ve been beating a path to your injector for beautiful, full lips and it’s gotten… tedious. And expensive. 

You’ve seen the videos online and are constantly bombarded by Amazon and Temu ads. Fuller, HA filled lips, with no injection required? It’s gotta be safer, right? 


Think again. 


Unfortunately, this trend just won’t die though I really, really wish it would. The allure of cheap, full lips is just too tempting for many people to pass up. And despite the testimonials, as far as at home treatments go, it’s about as dangerous as you can get.


The first misconception is that hyaluron pens are somehow ‘safer’ than regular injectables. While it’s true a hyaluron pen uses air to propel filler into the skin, this actually makes it more dangerous, not safer. There’s a greater chance of disrupting a blood vessel (leading to vascular occlusion) and in general there’s very little control over where the filler goes. Trust me, this is far from a way to save money. Lumpiness, scar tissue, and a serious complication will all cost you more to fix. Listen to the naysayers on this one and please, please skip it.


Russian Lip filler

Russian lips are perpetually featured on social media along with the litany of techniques purporting to reliably create them. Unfortunately, though these lips, often created by filling at the vermillion border, look wonderful in the immediate afters, they just don’t last. The filler almost always migrates, leading to a ‘ducky’ look, regardless of ‘special and proprietary’ techniques. Image by storyset for Freepik and lip image by Freepik.


There’s a reason the Russian lip filler technique is trending – in the direct after photos it looks amazing. Beautiful, well defined lips – what’s not to like?


Unfortunately, these results never last. The problem is that filler in these areas just isn’t stable. It will migrate and almost always results in a ducky look. 


Often, people pursuing this technique are wanting to alter the anatomy and underlying shape of their lips… Which means, there’s a good chance they should be exploring… 


The Surgical Route

If you’re a fan of my channel, you are no stranger to the notion that there are great surgical options out there to improve a pout when filler and Botulinum are not indicated. But do you know the different versions available to you? Read on for my thoughts on popular surgical trends. Image by Freepik


The Mighty Lip Lift

Medicine is constantly changing, and plastic surgery is no different. Surgical techniques and procedures are constantly being updated and the lip lift is no different. 


I have my own bespoke version of the bullhorn lip lift, the Elelyft, that I’ve spent my career developing and perfecting, and it’s the surgical technique I stand by. My Elelyft involves the use of special inks to ensure the correct amount of skin is removed, deep release and undermining the remaining skin to help reduce tension, all while taking into consideration individual anatomy. This three-prong strategy allows me to better distribute tension and create a seamless closure – both things that will ensure a better scar outcome. There’s been discussion about how much to involve the muscle in a lip lift – whether to suture, fold, or even cut. Every case is different of course, but as a rule I prefer to leave the muscle alone. There’s too much risk in an area where you need to maintain mobility. 


On the aesthetics front, I still strongly believe that natural results, ones that whisper and strive to create balance and harmony, are the ideal outcome of any cosmetic surgical procedure. There are trends I’ve seen with regards to lip lifts popular online – some good, some interesting, some concerning – that I feel especially qualified to weigh-in on. 

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At the Margins

On Instagram I’m still seeing a lot of ‘margin’ lip lifts, where a surgeon attempts to hide the incision at the border of the upper lip. Sometimes called a ‘Gull Wing’ lift, it’s still trending on social media – and that makes me anxious. 


There’s no way to be polite about this one. This is not a lip lift that heals well. The border of the lip (the vermillion border) seems like a great place to hide a scar, but it isn’t. Scars tend to be more visible near this delicate seam of divergent tissue and it’s a big incision, over twice the size potentially compared to the classic bullhorn lift placed under the nose. There’s more area to make a mistake and more sutures needed. It’s also trickier to undermine and ‘lift’ the lip from below, and there’s a lot of tension placed on a delicate area. 


If you’re considering this kind of lip lift after scrolling through Instagram, reconsider, and if you’re set on it make sure you have all the information about the risks. 


When to Turn-up the Corners

A corner lip lift is where tissue at the corners of the mouth are removed and lifted or ‘turned-up’. Sometimes this surgery is used to address a ‘frowny’ appearance, and other times it’s used to correct a ‘rolled-in’ lip anatomy or to cosmetically alter ‘bell-shaped’ lips (not that bell-shaped lips need improving – many models and actresses have this shape!). 


If you follow my channel, you know I’m conservative when it comes to performing corner lip lifts. I’m usually wary about performing them alongside an Elelyft, though lately I’ve become more confident in identifying cases where both an Elelyft and corner lift will deliver a better outcome, and in those cases perform them at the same time. In most instances? It’s best to wait and see whether you need one after your lip lift settles. 


If a corner lip lift is something you are determined to pursue (or you and your surgeon decide will give an optimal result) remember that the potential benefits need to be outweighed against a more visible scar. Look at many before and afters to be certain you have a good grasp of the risks and the potential scars you are signing up for. Also, when choosing a surgeon, find someone who is comfortable with this procedure and performs corner lip lifts regularly with great results. I know I’m a broken record on the idea of choosing experts for surgery, but a corner lip lift is expert only territory.  


If you’ve had (or are having) this procedure, using a great scar gel can really help minimize the look of your scar and optimize your healing. We have a great scar gel at Feel Confident that I developed specifically for lip lifts, along with other great, postoperatively appropriate skincare products for you to try.   


Skin Only Lip Lifts

The last trend I want to talk about are skin only lip lifts, where the dissection is very superficial and involves ‘lifting’ the lip without repositioning the underlying tissue. Often touted as less invasive and promising quicker healing results, I don’t recommend it. First off, the tension is a problem – the lift is suspended entirely by the skin under the nose. This often leads to a more visible scar that can stretch over time. The results may not be as long lasting and because the tissues aren’t dissected and repositioned, it can appear unnatural. In my mind, a shorter healing time is not a good trade-off for results that disappoint.  


Considering a lip lift? Book a consultation and see if an Elelyft is the right option for you. 


Written by
Kristi Charish
Edited by
Dr. Gary Linkov
The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.


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