Lately, I have had many consults where the number one priority for our customers was lip lines. Like so many other wrinkles on the face, lip lines have been coined with other more witty names. “Bar codes” is my favorite. Quite the image!
Honestly, when I get asked about how to treat them, I take a long pause…a slow deep breath…and often begin by apologizing. They happen to be one of the most difficult things to treat when it comes to the aging face. They occur for multiple reasons, but the main two are:
- Repeated lip pursing through speech, straw drinking, whistling, smoking, etc.
- Age-related thinning of the skin. As the lip area ages, the skin thins and no longer bounces back after expression, leaving deep, scar-like vertical lines.
Non-smokers feel like they could be judged as a smoker. Smokers and ex-smokers often feel they get what they deserve. Neither is an ideal emotion.
So, what can be done?
The best treatment is deep skin resurfacing with either erbium or CO2 lasers. We happen to use erbium, but both are good. The laser ablates (strips) down the scarred/wrinkled skin around the lips and creates dramatic thickening and smoothing of the skin once it heals. The problem is the recovery time. It can take weeks to heal. In our busy lives, this treatment is performed less often for this reason. We have many other laser tools that have less downtime, but they don’t deliver the results of deep resurfacing. Choose this if you can.
The second best treatments end up being combination therapy. Some Botox, some dermal filler, and a series of micro-needling treatments can help. Botox and dermal filler treatments need to be repeated every 4 or 6 months and micro-needling has only a few days of down-time and nice results. They are effective but I never over-promise even close to perfection. Some patients find value after they go through these treatments, but some do not. That is why we will never over-promise results. A 40-50% improvement can be achievable over time. If you have the budget to add some plasma therapy to the micro-needling it will reduce healing time and stimulate more collagen.
I apologize ahead of time if I apologize during a consult concerning treating lip lines. What I can promise is the truth and setting up the right expectations regardless of the treatment you choose.
Otherwise, embrace those bar codes and we can focus on treatments where we can have more impact and provide more value.
Thank you to all the new patients that have experienced ReNue over the last month. It has been a very busy stretch and I am pleased to announce that we have hired 2 experienced medical aesthetic doctors to the ReNue team.
To experience the ReNue difference, please contact us today to schedule your consultation.