OK, so here’s the deal. I think my natural lips are just fine. I wouldn’t have been smearing them with bright red lipstick on the reg since I was 14 if I was ashamed of them.
That said, I’ve never been afraid to try new things in the name of beauty exploration. And I’ve always wanted a slightly fuller top lip; I don't like the way it practically disappears when I flash a toothy smile. Nit-picky, I know, but it’s always been a thing of mine. No one else notices, but it gnaws at me. I’m sure you understand.
I've of course tried drawing on fuller lips with liner, but I wanted a more permanent solution, so I booked a consultation with one of the Twin Cities’ best facial plastic/reconstructive surgeons, Dr. Jess Prischmann. Her list of accomplishments is too long to list here; she’s been awarded several prestigious awards for her work. I knew she was the best, so we sat down at her private practice, Minnesota Facial Plastics, to chat about what I wanted out of lip injections.
Dr. Prischmann has been doing lip injections for a long time, but she's had an influx of interest from younger people on account of Kylie Jenner. I would be lying if I didn't say that Kylie’s lips have influence me a little, too.
“I explain to them that we can safely volumize their lips, but they shouldn’t expect to get Kylie’s exact pout,” Dr. Prischmann says of how she explains the procedure to those wanting Kylie Jenner-esque lips. “I also encourage them to stay on the conservative side.”
We decided that I would try Juvederm first, which is an injectable that, unlike its peer, Restylane, is not an FDA-approved lip injectable. Because I wanted a fuller, more pillowy look, Juvederm was the best option for me. Dr. Prischmann told me that most adults are good candidates for injections, but it helps to have existing definition in your lips.
While my natural lips are actually totally asymmetrical--a fact I’d never noticed until we snapped the before photos--I do have a clearly defined Cupid’s Bow.
“If you have a thin upper lip without much definition, you will likely never have a full, defined pout,” said Dr. Prischmann. “I have patients who have not listened to that advice and had large volume injections elsewhere with complications and distortion.”
To numb my lips prior to injection, Dr. Prischmann offered two options: a dental block, which is similar to a Novocaine injection, or a numbing cream. I tried both for the purposes of this article and the dental block is far less painful. After I was totally numb and thoroughly cleaned up, Dr. Prischmann injected my upper and lower lip several times with the Juvederm.
So, how does it work?
“Lip fillers contain a soft gel that is injected into the lip to increase volume. The gel is broken down slowly over the course of six to 12 months. Depending on where I inject, I can either increase definition, volume, or both,” explained Dr. Prischmann.
After each careful injection, she smoothed the gel into the desired shape with a long Q-tip. (I, of course, couldn’t feel this. I was pretty much drooling at this point.)
During my first session, we used about one-third of the syringe. Dr. Prischmann and I agreed to work in baby steps so I could see the progression of my injections. There was some swelling and a little bruising after my first session, but it wasn’t painful or immediately noticeable to others. After the injections, Dr. Prischmann recommended keeping my lips totally clean with an alcohol wipe and a moisturizing balm for a day or two--no lipstick!
Now, after two sessions and almost one full syringe, I have subtly fuller, more defined lips, both upper and lower. I love them! I can easily live without them once they dissolve in a few months, but I feel so much more confident about smiling with my teeth in photos. It’s pretty cool.
- Are you into the idea of injections, or does it scare you?
- Do you think I should go bigger? I do.