Considering a BOTOX Lip Flip? You May Be Happier Sticking with Fillers

Young patient receiving lip injections

Full, youthful lips are always in style, and these days there are more options than ever for achieving this sought-after look. One currently trending procedure is known as the Botox lip flip…yet, despite all the media attention this treatment is getting as a potential alternative to lip fillers, it may not be the best option for you.

In this post, we’ll let you know our thoughts on the Botox lip flip, weigh in on the merits of getting a lip flip vs. fillers, and end with some general comments about your lip enhancement options.

What is a Botox Lip Flip?

While the words “lip flip” may conjure up a dramatic image in your mind, the word “flip” is used simply because it rhymes with lip and, in fact, results are fairly subtle. A more accurate description would be to say the procedure rolls the upper lip ever-so-slightly outward. The effect of injecting Botox in the lips is known for being slightly more subtle than fillers.

How does a lip flip work?

Botox is injected into the orbicularis oris muscle, which relaxes the upper lip musculature, making more of the upper lip visible. The injector must be both very experienced and cautious. We would urge you to only have the procedure done by a board certified cosmetic surgeon who fully understands the deep musculature of the face.

Botox for treating a “gummy” smile

Another way to use Botox in the lip area is for treating a gummy smile: when Botox is injected into the upper lip “elevator” muscle (levator labii superioris), it will weaken and show less of your gums when smiling. While you still need an expert physician for this type of injection to avoid ending up with a crooked smile or other issues, it’s a proven treatment with more definitive effects.

The Pros and Cons of Getting a Botox Lip Flip

So how do we feel about lip flips at our practice? It’s complicated. Dr. Sobel will occasionally do a lip flip but believes the procedure should be used only in very specific circumstances.

You may see other injectors enthusiastically talking up the procedure and wonder if they are more experienced, but remember they are often hoping to capitalize on this trend versus discussing for whom the treatment is most appropriate—and none are showing you the patients who had an unsuccessful outcome. Done incorrectly or performed on unsuitable patients, a Botox lip flip can easily impact the integrity of the lip structure and affect how you talk, smile, etc.

Some patients look into getting a Botox lip flip because they hope to enhance their lips without looking over-injected.

As such, we think most patients should first consider the judicious use of lip fillers to beautifully and subtly enhance the lips. We’ll get to those options shortly, but first, here’s a breakdown of the primary pros and cons of a Botox lip flip.

  • Pro: If you are happy with your upper lip size but it disappears when you smile, a Botox lip flip may be used to address the issue.
  • Cons: A lip flip can negatively impact your lip functions and change the way you speak in some instances. If you’re unhappy with your results, you have to wait about three months for the effects to wear off.

Lip Flip vs. Fillers

We find that fillers are usually a more suitable way to provide patients with fuller, more beautiful lips. Fillers are more versatile and more flexible than Botox—and using lip fillers does not equate to overblown results. Some specific reasons why we tend to like fillers are:

  • Fillers can be subtle. Some patients consider the Botox lip flip because they hope to enhance their lips without looking over-injected. It’s easy to notice only the bad results and assume all lip filler results look that way, however, an experienced cosmetic surgeon can use fillers to skillfully and subtly enhance your lips.
  • Fillers can also shape your lips. While fillers do add volume, an experienced, talented injector can use filler to specifically address lip shape and definition (which can also help keep your lip from disappearing when you smile).
  • Fillers can improve symmetry. Strategic filler placement can provide a very natural, symmetrical, and proportionate appearance for both your upper and lower lip.
  • Fillers can be reversed. Should you be unhappy, hyaluronic acid-based fillers can be quickly dissolved.

One more thing to note about lip filler results: on social media, many injectors are showing results soon after treatment, prior to swelling resolving. These results might alarm you and give you the impression that having lip fillers will give you a bee-stung look. The good news for those who want natural, subtle results is that visible swelling resolves about a week after you have injections and is usually completely unnoticeable by the second week out. By then, you’ll be enjoying your results without others being able to guess you enhanced your lips with injections.

The bottom line on the Botox lip flip?

Botox does have some aesthetic uses around the mouth and lips, but hyaluronic acid-based lip fillers are more versatile when it comes to lip enhancement. As such, we recommend talking to a very experienced provider to determine whether they might be a better, safer way to get the results you desire.

To learn more about Bellevue lip injections with Dr. Sobel, please reach out to us for a personal consultation.

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