Full lips have always been associated with youth and beauty. Because of this, lip enhancement is one of the most frequently requested procedures in a cosmetic practice.
We speak to Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of SW1 Clinic who takes us through SW1 Clinic’s six steps to achieve aesthetically pleasing augmented lips. While there is no single prescription for a “perfect” lip, nor a “one size fits all” approach for lip augmentation, these 6 steps created and coined ‘Lip Beautification sextet’ by Dr Low can be used as a basic template for achieving a natural look.
For more comprehensive, global perioral rejuvenation, this 6-step technique can be combined with the injection of neuromodulating agents (such as BOTOX) and fractional laser skin resurfacing during the same treatment session to enhance the skin quality and overall results, says the doctor.
In virtually all women, since the beginning of recorded history, full lips have been associated with youth, beauty, and voluptuousness. Robust, pouty lips are considered to be sexually attractive by both men and women. Even in a period of economic downturn, women continue to buy products to adorn their lips. The “lipstick index,” a term coined by Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of Estee Lauder, Inc., in 2001, describes the phenomenon of increased lipstick sales during an economic downturn.
Women with beautiful lips feelmore beautiful and are likely to be more optimistic.In youthful Caucasian lips, the ideal vertical height ratio of the upper lip to the lower lip is 1:1.6.
Changes with Age!
The fundamental proportions of the lips change as one ages, however, with lengthening of the cutaneous portion of the upper lip and volume loss and thinning of the upper lip vermilion.
Men’s lips don’t age like women!
While aging Caucasian men and women have similar hard and soft tissue volume loss with thinning of the vermilion and cutaneous portions of the lips, men generally do not develop rhytides of the upper and lower lips, according to Dr Low. “Men have thicker skin with more subcutaneous fat surrounding terminal hair follicles” she explains.
The perfect lip & Golden ratio
The volume and, therefore, the vertical height of the vermilion of the upper and lower lips should fit within the framework of Phi—the Divine Proportion or the Golden Ratio—1:1.618. This begins with Da Vinci’s classic proportions of the lips relative to the rest of the face. These basic artistic principles from hundreds of years ago still apply today. One can summarize these proportions as follows:
1. The face is divided vertically into thirds: upper third, middle third and lower third of the face—all equal in vertical height.
2. The lower third of the face is also divided vertically into thirds: upper third corresponding to the upper lip and the lower two thirds corresponding to the lower lip and chin.
In youth, with more correct vertical proportions, the upper/maxillary teeth show during speech. With aging, it is very common to observe a lengthening of the cutaneous portion of the upper lip. It is common to no longer be able to observe the maxillary teeth during speech in an older individual. If the upper lip has lengthened so much, no degree of augmentation will correct this and the patient should be considered for a lip shortening procedure.
3. From the side, if a straight line is drawn, the upper lip should project 3.5 mm anterior to the line and the lower lip should project 2.2 mm; the upper lip should project slightly greater than the lower lip—again about 1.6:1. An exaggeration of these proportions or the wrong ratio can lead to a “duck-like” or “trout-pout” appearance, says Dr Low. “Under no circumstances should the lips enter the room before the individual!”she laughts.
4. From the front, the ideal upper lip: lower lip ratio is 1:1.6. The vertical height of the upper lip should be less than that of the lower lip. Women will often present requesting augmentation of the upper lip alone, without considering the balance between the upper and lower lips.
Six Steps to Lip Beautification
Step 1: Sculpt Philtrum Columns
Sculpted philtrum columns are in style today! As we age, these well-defined longitudinal pillars are lost, leading to a flattened, ill-defined, unattractive upper lip. If the patient still has discernible philtrum columns, the object is to further enhance them. If the philtrum columns have been completely effaced, it is imperative to re-create them.
Step 2: Create Cupid’s Bow
Step 3: Define The Vermilion-Cutaneous Junction in the Medial Aspect of the Lateral Sub unit of the Upper Lip
The upper lip is divided transversely into medial and lateral sub units.The medial subunit of the upper lip extends from the midline to the philtrum column; the lateral sub unit extends from the philtrum column to the oral commissure and nasolabial fold.
It is important not to augment the vermilion-cutaneous junction along the entire lateral sub unit, but only in its medial aspect. A very common error, states Dr Low is the creation of “sausage” or “duck” lip, to avoid this never augment the vermilion-cutaneous junction in the medial sub unit, she warns.
Step 4: Create Lower Lip “Pillows” on Each Side of the Midline for a sexy effect.
Step 5: Support lip corners to prevent a downturned look.
Step 6: Fill the Nasolabial Creases to help evert the upper lip for a natural looking pout.
For more information on lip fillers and other cosmetic procedures, please visit www.SW1clinic.com. SW1 Clinic is located on Level 13 of Orchard Paragon. Their contact telephone is 68178888. It is helmed by Dr Low Chai Ling and Dr Kenneth Lee, who also founded The Sloane Clinic in 2003. Their team of doctors who were also formerly from The Sloane Clinic include Dr Chua Han Boon, Dr Toby Hui, Dr Michelle Lim and plastic surgeon Dr Tan Ying Chien.