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Pucker up! Pro tips for the perfect holiday lips

Dr. Tornambe gives us the 411 on how to get the perfect holiday pucker.

Make your lips more radiant than Rudolph's nose.

The holidays are here. A great time to party, evident by office celebrations, cocktail soirées, tree trimming parties, white weddings and New Year's Eve celebrations. A fabulous time to dress up, dress down, but most importantly, stand out! A simple and subtle way to gift wrap your face is lip augmentation. Luscious lips have always been popular, but nothing is more festive than large, voluptuous red lips. The following are 5 options to make your lips more radiant than Rudolph's nose.

Become a makeup artist...

The cosmetic industry has been formulating treatments and lipsticks designed to make lips appear larger and more luscious for decades. There is a learning curve, but results can be dramatic. If there is a special party, have your lips done by a makeup artist or a savvy friend.

Pros

  • Least expensive
  • Least invasive
  • No down time and easily reversible...just wash your face!

Cons

  • Time consuming + somewhat complicated (7-17 step process)
  • Must re-apply for each party.
  • Kissing can get sloppy and you might leave amorous evidence on your lover's shirt.

Injectable Lip Fillers

Synthetic fillers like hyaluronic acid (aka, Juvederm, Restylane etc) has become the gold standard for lip enhancement because it is quick, easy, with little down time. Stay away from liquid silicone because it is permanent, and can migrate to the surface creating huge problems and deformities. Fillers injected expertly can plump lips naturally and then further be simply enhanced with lip gloss. You will be ready to kiss under the mistletoe the day after treatment. Your best and safest option is an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon, dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon with lots of experience with lips. Stay away from beauty salons or health spas unless they have one of the above MD's on premises to do the procedure personally, no substitutions! Problems like infection, asymmetry or overly plumped lips (trout pout) can ruin your holiday season. These fillers are not permanent, but that is not such a bad thing, because if you don't like the look, they will go away in 3-6 months. Fortunately overly done lips can be reversed immediately by something called hyaluronidase, which dissolves the filler.

Pros

  • Fast + minimally invasive with instantaneous results.
  • Little downtime (modest bruising at most!)
  • Result will easily last through the holiday season into the new year.

Cons

  • Cost: $700-2000 depending on city and amount of material desired.
  • Temporary, lasts only 3-6 months.

Fat Transfer

Fat harvested from the abdomen or thighs and then transferred or grafted to the lips is a more permanent option for lip augmentation. This minor surgical procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia, and takes about one hour. Studies show that 30%-60% of fat transferred to the face lasts forever. Find a board certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon to perform this procedure because surgical expertise and experience is required. Swelling after the procedure can last a week or longer, so plan accordingly.

Pros

  • Long lasting and partially permanent.

Cons

  • Costs: $2000-4500
  • Surgical procedure requiring at least one week recovery.
  • Reversal can be complicated, more surgery.

Lip implants

These are permanent silicone implants placed into the lips surgically, usually under local anesthesia. Swelling lasts at least 1-2 weeks. It requires expertise of board certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon. I am not a fan because they can look unnatural and feel fake while kissing. Also if they become even slightly displaced, can look ridiculous, requiring removal.

Pros

  • Permanent

Cons

  • Cost: $3000-6000
  • Surgical procedure requiring 1-2 weeks recovery.
  • High complication rate requiring removal.

Lip lift surgery

This procedure excises skin from the upper lip (under the nostrils) and advances tissue superiorly to lift the upper lip, stretching it, theoretically increasing the size. Recovery requires at least 2 weeks. My least favorite option because of scarring. The incisions are placed just under the nostrils and lower central nose. Sometimes they heal well, camouflaged by the nasal shadows. Sometimes they don't and poor scarring can be a serious problem because they are centrally located on the face and obvious. If you are a good scar former with thin lips and long upper lip, then seek out a board certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon with lots of experience with this procedure.

Pros

  • Permanent...if it works.

Cons

  • Cost: $3000-6000
  • Surgical procedure requiring 2 week recovery.
  • Scaring can be significant.

As you can see, options for plumping your lips for the holiday season vary significantly. If you wish to strut your stuff with lips that dazzle now, choose the less invasive choices like makeup or injections. Down time is minimal, and you can be ready, under the mistletoe within hours. Whichever you choose, remember to smile....and kiss with abandon! Happy Holidays!

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