Lip Enhancement Options

Lip Enhancement Procedures

If you're looking for something longer lasting than the time-limited fix of a topical lip plumper, there are some options -- but be prepared to pay. On average, lip procedures can cost anywhere from about $400 (for collagen injections) to $1,600 or more for an implant [source: Nordenberg].

Collagen -- either derived from cows, deceased human donors, or the patient's own body -- has been used as a lip injectable for some time. Collagen injections generally last for a two and a half to four months [source: ASAPS]. And, if the collagen was extracted from the patient's body, the risk of allergic reaction, typically, is minimal.

A number of other substances are used as fillers for lip augmentation, including fat, hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite and various structural components of human skin obtained from human donors. These injectable options do not provide permanent results, and will need to be repeated at some point to maintain the desired full look. The good part about really temporary injectables like collagen and fat is if you find you dislike your fuller lips, you aren't stuck with them forever [source: ASAPS]. Either way, it's best to start out with a small injection and move up to more filler later, if needed. You've probably seen photos of some stars right after they've received too much lip filler -- no one wants to pucker up to that so-called trout pout.

If you have thin lips and are certain that you want a more permanent effect, though, you can try lip implants. Both synthetic and human-donor implants are available, and each has its advantages. Synthetic implants provide a long-lasting effect because they are not absorbed by the body. They are inserted through incisions along the inner lip. Natural implants made from human donor skin might not last as long as synthetic implants do, as it's possible for the body to absorb the material. Typically, these implants are inserted through the inside of the mouth, at both corners [source: ASAPS].

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). "Lip Augmentation." (08/12/2009)
  • Care Fair. "A Brief History of Cosmetics." (08/12/2009)
  • Chung, Sue. "Lip Service: Aging and Lip Plumpers." My Skin Care Connection. (08/12/2009)
  • Goldfaden, Gary M.D. "Ask the Doctor: Topical Alternatives to Cosmetic Surgical Procedures." Life Extension. (08/12/2009)
  • Nordenberg, Tamar. "Plastic Surgery Center: Plastic Surgery Costs." Discovery Health. (8/28/09)
  • Redfern, Julie, L.D., R.D.N., and Michelle McAndrews. "Beat the Heat -- Stay Hydrated!" Brigham and Women's Hospital. (08/12/2009)