A smooth, plump, and hydrated pout is always in — which is why cosmetic lip enhancements are always in high demand. While there are multiple different ways to achieve the lips of your dreams, one method in particular has received much buzz in the world of plastics: a lip flip.
A lip flip is a cosmetic procedure used to get a natural-looking enhancement that utilizes your existing features. The subtle, but noticeable, results are achieved using Botox, as opposed to all lip filler (though you can also use filler in tandem with a lip flip).
To find out more about the procedure, we spoke with board certified dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer MacGregor from Union Square Laser Dermatology in NYC. All of her expertise, ahead.
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What Is a Lip Flip?
According to Dr. MacGregor, a lip flip is a popular term for the process of injecting Botox around the lips and mouth to produce “relaxed, fuller lips.” She says that the injections target your orbicularis oris muscle around your mouth, because the muscle typically puts pressure on the lips. The procedure can also help to eliminate a “gummy” smile if you have stronger muscle pull.
“When the muscle encircling the mouth relaxes, more of the lip relaxes outward and shows,” explains Dr. MacGregor. “We often call this a pseudo augmentation in that the lip looks fuller and softer, but no volume was added.”
What Is the Process of a Lip Flip?
According to Dr. MacGregor, the exact process should differ per person, since everyone’s muscles pull in different ways. But the process typically involves receiving Botox injections around your lips to relax and “flip” your lip out.
“Small amounts of botulinum can be injected around the lips and mouth to relax the muscle pull and allow some of the lip curling in to relax outward and show,” says Dr. MacGregor. “This gives a fuller and softer look without fillers and can also smooth fine lines around the mouth from strong pucker or pursuing the lip.”
As Dr. MacGregor mentioned, a lip flip can enhance your lips without any filler, however, she notes that a lot of clients also ask for a little filler to add more volume.
“I occasionally have a person with good lip volume and skin quality that only needs a little relaxation around the mouth to achieve a softer, smoother, and fuller lips,” she says. “Most people, however, benefit from a little subtle filler as well.” She adds that including filler in the treatment will up the softness and fullness of the lips.
When it comes to maintaining the treatment, she recommends receiving the injections regularly every three to four months, that way the “muscle never has a chance to gain strength and pull again.” She also adds that supplementing your lip flip treatment with some filler every four to six months can increase hydration, as well as help to lengthen the effects of the lip flip and vice versa.
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Is a Lip Flip Safe?
Like most procedures, there are always a few risks that come along with receiving the treatment. If you’re not a great candidate for the procedure, the injections can cause drooping in the upper lip or too much relaxation if too large of a dose is used, according to Dr. MacGregor. In addition to these main risks, a lip flip could also result in an asymmetrical smile or mouth movements or difficulty enunciating certain sounds.
All of these side effects are reasons Dr. MacGregor stresses the importance of finding a trustworthy board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who has experience with injections and who will tailer to treatment to your needs.
“The best injectors individualize the injection approach differently for each patient according to where the muscles are pulling,” she explains. “Using the same ‘cookbook’ approach on the lower face injection for everyone is a sure way to get complications.”
Is There Anything I Should Consider Before Getting a Lip Flip?
For example, having the treatment performed when it’s not conducive to your features can make the situation much worse. You should consider the anatomy of your lips and face and consult a doctor prior to receiving a lip flip.
“The person’s anatomy is really important to the results, especially the lip position, lip volume, skin thickness, and length of the upper cutaneous lip,” notes Dr. MacGregor. “People with strong muscle pull around the mouth are the best candidates for botulinum injections as long as they have good skin quality and some lip volume to begin with.”
If you have really thin lips, thin skin, or a long upper cutaneous lip, Dr. MacGregor strongly advises to rethink the treatment.
“The enhancement is subtle and fantastic, but overdoing it with botulinum around the mouth can look terrible,” she says.
We previously reported that, depending on how many units of Botox you receive, you should expect to pay $300 to $500 for a lip flip, and even more when you pair it with filler, which could tack on an additional $500 to $1,000. While full, luscious lips certainly feel priceless, they come at quite the cost so be sure to consider all your options prior to receiving any treatment.