Things You Should Know About Lip Aesthetics

How Do Beautiful Lips Look Like?

Although we know that beauty is subjective for every individual, a woman’s lips are different from man’s and contribute a lot to the facial beauty and attractiveness. The main difference is in the highly visible purple parts which are called “vermilion”. Frequently women use lipsticks to make this part prominent. Most parts of the lips have the same kind of skin with the face but the purple part (vermilion) is entirely different and it is the continuation of the lining inside the mouth. This lining is called as mucosa. There is a thin border between lip skin and vermilion and seen as a pale line. Upper lip is different from the lower lip and contributes more to the beauty. There are two vertical columns in the middle of the upper lip. They extend from nose base to the vermilion. At the contact point vermilion border is a little bit higher than the other parts. Between these two areas the vermilion border is a little bit lower than the other parts. The whole upper border of the vermilion line looks like a bow. This appearance is seductive and called as “Cupid Bow” or “Eros Bow”. You can see the following picture for schematic details.

In a beautiful upper lip the purple part (vermilion) should be prominent and slightly protruding but vertical height should be slightly less than the lower lip. Two skin columns between the nose base and vermilion (they are called as “philtrum columns”) should be prominent. The Eros bow should be prominent. The distance between nose base and upper vermilion should not be long. The average height of this distance is 1,5 cm in women. During smiling or showing teeth all white parts of the teeth should be visible.

Beauty is not limited to a particular part of the face even in normal measures. Eyes and brain unconsciously make a decision about the harmony of the face structures and decide as beautiful or not. Details of this mechanism are not well understood.

The Reasons of Lip Aesthetics Demand

Patient’s complaints for their lips are summarized below:

  • My upper lip is too long
  • My lips are thin
  • My lips are very prominent
  • My teeth are not seen during smiling
  • My gums are seen during smiling
  • There are wrinkles in my lips

Let’s talk about all of these items:

Long Upper Lip

Most important reason is aging. However for congenital or other reasons it may also be seen in young people. During smiling only a limited part of the teeth is seen. Usually vermilion height and prominence are inadequate. There are different treatment options:

  • Elliptical transverse skin excision is made from the upper lip just blow the nose base so the scar will be placed between the nose and the lip. It works and the result is permanent but if the result is unacceptable it is very difficult to reverse it. The visibility of the scar is highly unpredictable.
  • The upper lip height is reduced by suture suspension. This procedure also increases the height of the vermilion and gives fullness to the upper lip. More part of the upper lips are visible while smiling. There are no cuts and no scars. However longevity of the result is unpredictable and changes from patient to patient. The advantage is if the result is not acceptable it can be completely reversed. Additionally it can be repeated by time if the result decreases.
  • The purple part of the upper lip (vermilion) is advanced over the upper lip skin. Although the actual height of the upper lip is not shortened considerably, the height of the upper lip skin shortens and the height of the vermilion increases. This gives an impression of a full upper lip. The visibility of the upper lip may increase or may not change. In this procedure there is cutting and suturing so the final scar is unpredictable and this procedure may not be reversed easily if the result is not liked.

Thin Lips

This complaint is usually done by the patients who have short and thin vermilion. Details of the upper lip structures are not well defined. Columns between nose base and vermilion are usually not prominent. The height of the upper lip is usually normal. Treatment options are:

  • Vermilion advancement. It is the same as described in the treatment of long lips. The height of the vermilion increases and gives the full lip impressionLip augmentation with fillers. Vermilion of the lips can be augmented by variable commercial fillers. Most of them are hyaluronic acid products. If it is done by competent hands, results are favorable. But the duration of the result is limited and usually less than a year. If the fillers are used by inexperienced hands the “duc lip” appearance results and it is not nice. Excess filling may result in elongation of the upper lip and show of the teeth reduces. There are some permanent fillers in the market but they are dangerous because if some unwanted things happen it is difficult to remove the filler.
  • Lip augmentation with autologous fat injections. It is a reliable and safe procedure but for the final and permanent result recurrent injections may be necessary.
  • Lip augmentation with commercial implants. Most of them are pre shaped solid commercial materials. They are inserted into the lip vermilion by small cuts. The long term results are not predictable. In unwanted situations they may explanted by small surgeries.
  • Vermilion advancement. It is the same as described in the treatment of long lips. The height of the vermilion increases and gives the full lip impression.

Excessive Fullness of the Lips

May be hereditary. Men would be uncomfortable due to feminine appearance. It is also annoying even for women and usually is resulted from excessive filler injections. Treatment:

  • Elliptic skin excisions are made from the upper and/or lower vermilions including skin, some muscle and if visible as much as injectable materials. The scar is placed close into the mount so stays invisible when the mouth is closed. It works well in experienced hands. Although the degree of scar differs from person to person it is not a concern because it stays into the mouth.

Upper Teeth Show Is Not Adequate When Smiling

It is usually seen in case of long upper lips. The reason may be aging or congenital. Treatment is the same as described in “treatment of long lips”.

Gums Are Seen When Smiling

Medical name for this condition is “gummy smile”. It is not attractive. Usually seen in young persons and may be congenital. Treatment:

  • The elevator muscles of the upper lip may be paralised by botulinum toxin. It is efficient but should be done carefully for not to impair the lip functions. However, the effect of the botulinum toxin is temporary and it should be repeated periodically.
  • The insertion of the upper lip muscles may be released from the upper jaw by surgery. This causes the muscle to drop down and may elongate the upper lip.

Wrinkles of the Lip Skin

Usually seen by aging and increases accordingly. Treatment is the same as the the treatment of facial wrinkles:

  • Peeling: May be done in different ways. Chemical peeling, mechanical abrasion and laser machines are used for this procedure. It is somewhat efficient. But in some cases unwanted results and scars may occur.
  • Filler injections into the wrinkles: It may be done by commercial fillers or autologous fat grafts. Fillers work temporarily. Fat grafting is much more persistent, better and safer but needs more than one session.


Lip aesthetics are not a unique procedure. It is a set of aesthetic operations and procedures depending on the conditions. The results are important because lips are one of the sex symbols for women and main element of the facial beauty.