Lip fillers: They’re everywhere these days. My colleagues have them. My friends want them. Hell, even Kylie Jenner’s plastic surgeon knows the injectable hype is real. And with such a demand for plumped-up pouts, cosmetic dermatologists (and plastic surgeons) are now having to craft up out-of-the-box treatments to meet patients’ specific big-lip needs. Take, for example, the latest lip-plumping procedure making the rounds: the Botox Lip Flip.
For those not aware, lip augmentation is most commonly performed with hyaluronic acid-based fillers, like Juvéderm, Volbella, Vollure, and Restylane, but, according to Dara Liotta, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City, Botox can also be used to slightly shape up the lips to create a “poutier look.” “When used alone, or in combination with fillers, Botox gives lips a subtle pout-magnification by flipping out the lip line, rolling the lip gently outward, and giving the appearance of a fuller, sexier pout,” she tells Allure.
Keep in mind, though, that filler and Botox are not the same, and do not bring the same results. Filler adds volume, which makes the lip appear larger by literally making it bigger, says Liotta, while Botox relaxes muscles around the mouth, called the “orbicularis oris,” and rolls the lip outward (i.e. “flipping” it), creating the illusion of a bigger lip — without the added volume.
For the Botox Lip Flip, Botox is strategically injected into sections of the orbicularis oris to target “only the superficial layers of the muscle at the side of the upper and lower lip to relax the muscle fibers enough to flip the lip outward without affecting the function of the muscle,” says Liotta. If the procedure, which takes less than a minute to administer, sounds complicated, that’s because it is — and should only be done by board-certified professionals, says Liotta.
There are some downsides — rather noteworthy downsides — of using Botox in lieu of fillers for lip augmentation, Min S. Ahn, a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon based in Boston, tells Allure. “The tricky thing is that if you use too much [Botox], your mouth doesn’t move properly,” Ahn says. “It would look really smooth, but, essentially, your mouth doesn’t move. You can’t suck on a straw.”
To avoid the whole not-being-able-to-drink-out-of-a-straw situation, Ahn says you’d have to use less Botox. But, you see, the less Botox used, the shorter amount of time the treatment lasts. “It’ll look good, but no more eating and drinking,” he says, laughing.
The Botox Lip Flip requires about 10 units (or less) of Botox (a very small amount when compared to the likes of fillers), and lasts about two to four months, says David Shafer, a New York City-based plastic surgeon and RealSelf contributor. Prices range based on your provider, but generally fall within $200 to $450 per session.