Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Botox for upper lips

Botox for the lips is an extremely safe medical procedure when performed by a qualified doctor or nurse. The most common problem that arises is a mild feeling of numbness close to the upper lip. This usually lasts for one or two weeks and often happens when people have the lip flip for the first time.

Sometimes, people feel they can not drink properly from a straw, even though the lip movements are completely normal. This also subsides within one or two weeks but can rarely last for 3 to 4 months.

Sometimes, there may be bruising and swelling at the injection site. However, this occurrence is rare and typically resolves quickly. Extremely rarely, one side of the lip may look bigger or smaller compared to the other side. If this occurs, a small amount of extra Botox on the smaller side of the lip can easily correct it.

Botox to the upper lip has been a popular procedure over the last several years, but it has recently taken a turn in popularity. Botox to the upper lip was once commonly requested by clients because they have small, close-set eyes, and they wanted to widen their eyes with a wider upper lip. But now more and more people are requesting it for a different reason: they don’t like their smiles.

The common misconception is that smiling causes someone to get wrinkles in their upper lip; this is not true. Rather, the size of your smile muscles determines how many wrinkles you will develop when you smile. If your muscles are small, you will develop small wrinkles—and these can be eliminated with Botox. This procedure works well for people without any facial lines, as well as those who have a few natural lines around their mouth; the Botox can be used to soften the effect of these lines while leaving the rest of your face untouched. In this guide, we review the aspects of Botox for upper lips, lip flip vs filler, lip flip cost, and botox upper lip side effects.

A lip flip is a relatively new cosmetic procedure that reportedly gives a person fuller lips with one quick and straightforward treatment. People also refer to it as a lip injection. A lip flip involves injecting the neurotoxin Botox into the upper lip.

This article explores the lip flip procedure, its side effects and complications, and the things individuals should consider before having the treatment. It also covers how people can find a qualified provider.

a black and white photo shows a close up of a person's lips
Sara Montella/EyeEm/Getty Images

What is the Botox lip flip?

Botox is a neuromodulator that stops nerve signals to the muscle where it is injected, relaxing the muscle. While Botox is FDA-approved to treat wrinkles in the forehead, crow’s feet, and frown lines, Botox is also used for other “off-label” treatments, such as the lip flip.

The Botox lip flip involves injecting 4-6 units of Botox above the upper lip at the center (near the cupid’s bow) and near the corners of the mouth. The primary effect of the lip flip is to relax the muscles (orbicularis oris) that connect to the upper lip, allowing the lip to relax and curl outward, thereby appearing larger and more defined in shape.

To treat a gummy smile, this may also involve injections to relax the lip elevator muscles (levator labii superioris alaeque nasi), which extend from the sides of the nose to the upper lips. Injectors typically use somewhere between 2 and 8 units of Botox for this injection, a number that is determined in proportion with the amount of gum visible while smiling.

The lip flip will not add volume, as lip filler does, but the lip flip can be used to accentuate the results of your lip filler, either in a combined procedure or as a touch-up.

A lip flip is a nonsurgical method of creating a fuller lip. A doctor injects botulinum toxin A, popularly known as Botox, into the upper lip to create an illusion of a larger lip. It relaxes the muscles above the lip, resulting in the upper lip “flipping” slightly upward. Although the procedure makes the lip look more prominent, it does not increase the size of the lip itself.

Lip flips may be particularly beneficial for individuals who have smiles that expose much of their gums. Following a lip flip, less gum shows when the individual smiles because the upper lip elevates less.

A lip flip involves injecting a type of abobotulinumtoxin A, such as Botox, Dysport, or Jeuveau, into the top lip. The goal is to relax the orbicularis oris muscle, which helps form and shape the lips. The injection encourages the top lip to relax and “flip” outwards, giving the subtle illusion of a fuller lip.

The lip flip is a quick procedure, taking less than 2 minutes. Because of this, it can be a suitable option for those wary about more invasive surgeries.

Side effects

Cosmetic procedures involving Botox are typically safe. Between 1989 and 2003, just 36 peopleTrusted Source reported serious effects involving Botox to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Among this number, 13 cases had links to an underlying health condition.

One common side effect is that the muscle may over-relax. This may lead to the muscle being too weak to pucker the lips or allow for drinking through a straw. A person may also have trouble keeping fluids in their mouth and speaking or whistling. However, these are often short-term effects.

Botox can also have some rare side effects, includingTrusted Source:

  • allergic reaction
  • headache
  • neck or back pain
  • itching
  • difficulty swallowing
  • shortness of breath
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • cough
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth

Botox may cause some injection-site reactions, including bruising, pain, redness, swelling, or infection. Additionally, if the doctor does not administer the injections correctly, a person’s smile could appear crooked.

Some people who receive Botox may also develop botulism, although this is also exceedingly rareTrusted Source.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERKnowledge is power. Get our free daily newsletter.

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You may have heard about the BOTOX® lip flip, a hot topic in non-surgical lip enhancement. This novel use of Botox can be a low-cost, effective treatment to define your upper lip and improve a gummy smile, but it may also have disruptive side effects if performed incorrectly (as well as wear off faster than you would like). This blog will explain how the lip flip works and detail the pros and cons you should consider before undergoing this procedure.

A person must find a board-certified professional to perform a lip flip procedure to avoid complications.

Who needs a lip flip?

Getting a lip flip is a personal decision. Pursuing your wants and desires for your body can be empowering.

To be considered for a lip flip, you should:

  • Be in good physical health.
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Not have an active oral infection, including canker sores or cold sores.

Many people who get a lip flip wish to make the size of their lips appear larger. You may wish to get a lip flip for many reasons, including:

  • You want your lips to look fuller. As you age, your lips may get smaller or thinner, your philtrum (the groove between your upper lip and septum) may get longer and flatter and the distance between the corners of your mouth (intercommissural distance) may increase.
  • You don’t want lip fillers or lip augmentation. These procedures change the volume and shape of your lips. They’re more expensive, and there’s generally more bruising and swelling.
  • You want to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox relaxes your muscles, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles when you make facial expressions.
  • You want your lips to cover your gums more. You may be self-conscious if your upper lip reveals too much of your gums (excessive gingival display) when you smile.
  • You want to boost your confidence. A lip flip can help improve your self-esteem and body image.

Why is a lip flip done?

A lip flip won’t stop the aging process or structure of your lips, but it makes your lips look fuller without adding volume. It can help you achieve a desired look, which can boost your self-esteem.

Over time, you may lose volume in your lips. You may lose volume as a result of:

  • Genetics.
  • Smoking.
  • Sun damage.

How long does a lip flip last?

The effects of Botox will eventually fade. A lip flip typically lasts between two to five months.

What happens before a lip flip procedure?

Before your lip flip procedure, you’ll meet with your healthcare provider. They’ll assess many factors, including your mental health and any social conditions. Your healthcare provider may ask the following questions:

  • Why do you want a lip flip?
  • What’re your expectations?
  • Do you think a lot about imagined or very small defects with your body?
  • Is a spouse, partner or friend encouraging you to get a lip flip or other cosmetic procedures?

Your healthcare provider will evaluate your general health, including any preexisting health conditions or risk factors. Talk to your healthcare provider about any allergies you have, especially cow milk — some botulinum toxin brands contain albumin, which is a protein in cow milk. Tell them about any prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications you’re taking. These medications may interfere with the healing process.

Your healthcare provider will recommend avoiding the use of alcohol, cigarettes and aspirin at least one week before the procedure. Alcohol and aspirin thin your blood, which can make the healing process more difficult. Cigarettes may increase the risk of bruising at your injection sites.

Your healthcare provider may take photographs of your face and lips for your medical record.

A lip flip procedure isn’t very invasive, so your healthcare provider is unlikely to numb your lips. If you’re concerned about pain or have a fear of needles (aichmophobia), ask your healthcare provider if they’ll apply a numbing cream (topical anesthetic) or nerve block injection to your lips so they’ll be numb.

Your healthcare provider will use a thin needle to inject Botox in parts of your upper lip, including the corners of your mouth and the edges of your lips. You’ll feel a little bit of pain, and your eyes may water. On average, your healthcare provider will insert about two to four units of Botox into your upper lip and two units into your lower lip.

Your healthcare provider or an assistant may apply a cotton swab to your injection sites to absorb any dots of blood.

The entire procedure is quick, and it should only take 10 to 20 minutes.

What happens after a lip flip procedure?

After the procedure is complete, your healthcare provider will monitor you for up to 15 minutes to ensure you don’t experience any side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Swelling (angioedema).
  • Substantial bleeding.

Once they determine that you no longer require monitoring, they’ll let you go home (discharge you). Botox won’t make you tired, so you can drive yourself home.

Your lips may be slightly swollen, sensitive or even numb. Swelling and sensitivity usually go away within 24 hours.

The following tips will help your lips as they heal and prevent Botox from migrating to other parts of your face:

  • Apply an ice pack for up to 10 minutes to reduce inflammation, pain and swelling.
  • Avoid wearing lipstick, lip balm or any other product on your lips for at least three to four days.
  • Refrain from putting pressure on your lips, including touching your lips, puckering your lips, kissing and sipping from a straw.
  • Be careful brushing your teeth.
  • Refrain from sleeping facedown.

What are the advantages of a lip flip?

There are many advantages to a lip flip, including:

  • The procedure is safe when performed by an experienced healthcare provider, and Botox is generally safe to use. There’s a low risk of complications or side effects.
  • It can boost your self-esteem.
  • You’ll experience less pain, bruising and swelling than you would with other lip augmentation procedures.

What are the risks of a lip flip?

Getting a lip flip poses some risks, including:

  • The effects don’t last as long as lip fillers or other lip augmentations.
  • The muscles around your lip may relax too much. You may drool, have difficulty drinking and struggle to speak if Botox injections are too close to your mouth. This may last until the Botox wears off.
  • If you don’t like the way that you look, you can’t reverse the procedure. You must wait until the Botox wears off.
  • Though extremely uncommon, you may contract botulism.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Discoloration or tenderness.

lip flip vs filler

Ever since movie star Marilyn Monroe stepped onto the scene with her sensual, full lips, the look has become a sought-after beauty goal for many women. More recently, reality star and business mogul Kylie Jenner has popularized enhancing your natural lips through cosmetic treatment and has even raved about the additional confidence it has given her. If you are unhappy with the thinness of your lips, now is the time to achieve the plump pout you’ve always wanted!

Here at AquaVitae, we offer two different non-invasive procedures to enhance your lips – a lip flip and lip filler. So which option is best? Overall, it depends on your natural lip anatomy, ideal lip shape, level of fullness, and desired amount of upkeep. 

Learn more about both the lip flip vs. lip filler to decide which treatment is right for you. 

What to Expect When Receiving a Lip Flip

Is your top lip less full than your bottom lip? Or does it almost disappear when smiling, leaving you with a “gummy smile”? If these are your concerns, then you may be a good candidate for a lip flip! This cosmetic procedure involves injecting Botox into the cupid’s bow of your upper lip and the corners of your mouth, thus interrupting the nerve impulses. This allows the upper lip to “flip” upward and outward, creating the appearance of plumper, fuller lips.  

You can feel confident when receiving Botox since it has been widely researched and the safety of the treatment has been studied in 528 peer-reviewed articles in scientific and medical journals. The injections are quick to administer, and only take about 10 minutes, and have minimal downtime. 

You will begin seeing results in 24-48 hours, with the effects lasting about 8-12 weeks. The cost of the injections depends on the dose of treatment needed, which will be determined based on your natural lips and your desired goal. It is important to note that this method gives the appearance of larger, fuller lips, however, it does not actually increase their volume. 

Looking for a longer-lasting solution that will increase the volume of your lips? Then lip filler may be a better solution for you!

Here at AquaVitae, we use Restylane or Juvederm to achieve natural-looking lip volume and fill in lines around the mouth, resulting in a smooth appearance as seen below. Both of these fillers are made with hyaluronic acid, which is found naturally in our bodies, so you can be confident that your body will tolerate it well. Both Restylane Kysse and Juvederm Volbella XC last up to 12 months — much longer than other dermal fillers available today. 

The amount of filler used depends on the current look and shape of your lips, as well as the amount of volume you desire to achieve. It is always helpful to bring a photo of your desired look so that your provider is able to inject the right amount of filler. 

In addition to utilizing super-fine needles, the treatment is formulated with an innovative technology that reduces swelling and bruising significantly.  Because it contains Lidocaine, a pain-killing aesthetic, this quick and non-invasive procedure is relatively pain-free. 

Results can be noticed immediately after injections, although some swelling may occur so it is important to wait a few days in order to see the final look. 

lip flip cost

Lip filler is taking the world by storm and has dramatically changed the aesthetic industry. We’re seeing more young filler patients than ever and noticing that the stigma on aesthetic treatments is disappearing. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 27,000 lip augmentation procedures were performed last year, which comes out to one lip filler procedure every 20 minutes. If you’ve heard of lip filler, you’ve probably also seen the term “lip flip.” These treatments are actually very different for multiple reasons.

Also Lip filler at Healthylooks Medspa ranges from $450-600/syringe, depending on which brand of lip filler is used. If you receive half of a syringe of lip filler, you pay half the cost! We also honor the Alle and Aspire rewards programs, which help patients save about $20/syringe. We recommend signing up for these programs before your treatment and checking for special offers- every once in a while patients can snag $75-100 off coupons in the apps!

As we explain in a previous blog, “What is the Best Type of Filler,” dermal fillers are injected to add volume, enhance facial contour, and/or fill deep wrinkles. All USA FDA-approved dermal fillers have the same parent chemical, hyaluronic acid. However the size of particles and the way the fillers are cross-linked differ. These differences give the fillers different properties. You could say Hyaluronic Acid fillers are all part of the same family, but each one has a different personality.

When we inject in the lips, we want a flexible, squishy filler. Juvederm Ultra, Restylane Kysse, and Revanesse Versa are the fillers we inject into the lips. They are very similar HA fillers but with slightly different properties. Think of it as different brands of the same type of product, for example, Coke vs Pepsi.

For fuller lips, patients typically require 0.5-2 syringes of lip filler, however, we only inject .5-1 syringe at a time. Our injectors like to gradually add volume for natural results.

Lip fillers last about 10-18 months. Some patients break down the fillers faster than others. We recommend follow-up photos every year to check progress.

Lip flips are accomplished with Botox injected above the lip, whereas lip filler is injected in the pink of the lips. Lip flips relax the muscle above the lip, which can flip the lip up a bit.

Pros: How you may benefit from the Botox lip flip

1. The lip flip subtly defines your upper lip

The primary benefit of the Botox lip flip is the subtle enhancement to your upper lip. Your lip will gain a sloped, ski jump-like aesthetic that defines your existing vermillion border (the edge of the lip). This creates the illusion that your lips are more plump.

2. Stops vertical lip lines that form above the upper lip

The lip flip can also have a wrinkle-reducing effect on your upper lip, smoothing vertical lip lines.

2. The lip flip can stop your gums from showing when you smile

If you have a “gummy smile,” or your gums show when you smile, specialized injections may relax your lip elevator muscles so that less of your gums show when you smile.

3. The lip flip allows more of your lip to show when you smile

Your muscles normally pull your upper lip tight when you grin, but a lip flip allows more of your lip to show when you are smiling.

4. The lip flip is more affordable than lip filler

While a full syringe of lip filler costs between $500 and $1000, the Botox lip flip typically requires only 4-6 units of Botox, which cost between $10 and $15 each. While Botox to treat an area of facial wrinkles may require as many as 50 units of Botox, a Botox lip flip will likely cost less than $100.

5. Requires zero downtime

After your Botox injections, you can immediately return to your normal activities.

6. The lip flip is temporary, lasting about 3-4 months

If you are experimenting with lip enhancement, the lip flip allows you a low-stakes treatment, as the results will wear off in 3-4 months.

Cons: Reasons you may not want the Botox lip flip

1. The results may be too subtle

The lip flip enhances the existing shape of your upper lip, letting the vermillion border roll outward very slightly. This result is subtle — especially when you are not smiling — and may be disappointing if you are hoping for a noticeable change in your lip shape or size.

2. You may have trouble spitting, whistling, and pronouncing certain words

Because Botox stops the muscle from moving normally, you may have difficulty doing some or all of the following as the Botox takes effect:

If you sing, teach, talk, or lecture for a living, carefully weigh the risk of having temporarily impaired lip function against the benefit of a defined lip. And if you do decide to undergo a lip flip, make finding an experienced injector your number one priority.

3. After your injection, it takes about a week for you to see results

You will have to wait about a week to see results from the Botox lip flip. This also means that your injector cannot gauge your outcome in real time during your treatment, as they can with filler, which develops results immediately.

4. The lip flip effect wears off in about 3-4 months

The effects of Botox last about 3-4 months. By comparison, lip filler may last up to a year or longer, and surgery can give you lasting results.

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