Thin Lips and Lip Lines

What causes thin lips and lip lines?

Some of the most frequent complaints we hear from patients are their concerns about thin lips and vertical lip lines. Both problems are caused by the combination of decreased collagen, reduction in underlying supportive bone mass, and increased strength in muscles around the mouth. One effect is the reduction in lip fullness while the other effect is the creation of vertical wrinkles around the mouth. One problem compounds the effect of the other. The overall effect is to give your face a “mean pinched look” that robs your face of its smile and the ability to fully express delight. Thin lips and lip lines can make your smile look weak and forced. Many people were born with thinner lips, but as maturity reduces the amount of collagen, they find their lips almost disappear. Other people are born with asymmetrical lips, or the upper and lower lips do not have desirable proportions. Sometimes the vermillion border, the area where the skin and the pink of the lip meet, will become so blurry and ill-defined as to make it difficult to even apply lipstick smoothly. While many people associate lip lines with smoking, these actually are very common in non-smokers as well, especially people who use straws or purse their lips, since this action uses the same muscles as a smoker does in smoking a cigarette. The overall result is a lack of confidence and comfort regarding the appearance of the lower half of the face.

Thin Lip and Lip Line Treatments

Thin lips can be treated to give a more cosmetically pleasing effect that can restore the balance and expressiveness of your face, using a dermal filler that consists of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring skin ingredient whose production diminishes as you mature. Hyaluronic acid products go by many different brand names, e.g., Juvéderm®, and actually attract water to provide softly plump lips without lumpiness. Whenever rebalancing thin lips, Dr. Mudd considers facial proportions such as size of face, nose, jaw, and chin so that your lips will look appropriate and will add a pleasing fullness to your face. Sometimes just providing definition to the vermillion border can improve lip shape without increasing actual volume.

Lip lines can be reduced through a mix of simple lifestyle changes and therapies. The reduction of sucking and pursing motions of the lips will weaken the surrounding lip muscles, e.g., eliminating cigarette smoking, the use of straws, whistling, and habitual lip puckering. Tiny amounts of Botox® can also be used to relax the muscles, which makes the lip lines look less noticeable. Vertical lip lines can occur all around the lip and can be treated with dermal fillers for immediate improvement, as well as fractional and erbium resurfacing lasers which stimulate collagen production to gradually smooth the tissues and fill the lip lines. If you would like to get rid of your thin lips, lip lines and have a happier looking face, then call for a consult with Dr. Mudd.

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