What's Up With the Millennial Pout?

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner kicked off the millennial pout craze back in 2015 when she admitted to The New York Times that she wanted lip fillers. Instagram/Kylie Jenner

When it comes to defining a generation, millennials have plenty of familiar traits assigned to them. Entitled, social-media crazed and in constant need of affirmation are common ones. Ask millennials themselves, though, and they'll say they are goal-oriented, tech-savvy multitaskers. You've probably heard all of this before, but here's a new one to add to the list: injected.

Yes. You read that right. Millennials are crazy about lip fillers, and not just your standard, even-the-lip-line, fix-overly-thin-lips kind of injections. But I-want-super-plump-injected-looking-lip-fillers.


According to one millennial I know who shall remain nameless (my daughter), we have Kylie Jenner to thank in large part for this phenomenon. That's because in 2015, Jenner — then 18 — told The New York Times that she visited Beverly Hills Dr. Simon Ourian to have Juvéderm, a hyaluronic acid filler, injected into her lips. Earlier that year, The Washington Post had already warned about the dangers of the "Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge," which consisted of sucking air out of a shot glass to temporarily make lips swell. Jenner did not sanction the lip challenge, at the time, according to the Post, because she claimed her lips were natural.

Fast forward to The New York Times mention, and Jenner's fans – 125 million currently on Instagram – could forswear the shot glass in favor of the actual shot.

Lip fillers like Juvéderm and Restylane are typically made of hyaluronic acid, which is a lubrication substance found naturally in the body. Injected into the lips or other areas of the face, it can add volume, fill and smooth lines and wrinkles, and, of course, plump lips. Results are temporary, lasting roughly six to 24 months depending on the product and patient. Most makers have a variety of products in a range of consistencies to provide as natural a result as possible.

But for today's 20-somethings, the goal of lip injections is not — we're being kind here — to be very "natural." Taking a cue from Jenner and a bevy of Instagram models, young filler recipients tend to lean toward a look that is clearly enhanced.

"One syringe is enough for most lips if you want to be subtle," says Catherine Curtin, aesthetic nurse practitioner at Greenwich Medical Spa in Greenwich, Connecticut. "But most Instagram looks are two to three syringes. Patients need to understand that getting that look might take a couple of treatments."

For social-media-loving-millennials, there's no point in going to the trouble if the result is not Instagram-worthy. According to an article on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there was a 32 percent increase in dermal filler treatments among 20- to 29-year-olds between 2010 to 2017. But like most trends, super-pouty lips will likely go out of style (even Jenner removed her lip fillers during summer 2018, though she added them back just a few months later). And luckily, injections performed by an experienced medical professional provide safe, temporary enhancement. If you need to know more, Jenner is supposed to release a vlog about her "lip filler journey."