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To Flip or Not to Flip? The Pros and Cons of the BOTOX® Lip Flip

May 5, 2022 - Rhys Branman, MD

Close Up of Glossy Lips With Pros and Cons of BOTOX Lip Flip

If you like to stay on top of beauty trends (or you regularly check social media), you’ve likely heard of the BOTOX® lip flip. This in-vogue procedure provides a subtle lift to the upper lip and improves its contour, making the lips look sexier and slightly more defined. But is the lip flip right for you? In this post, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of the BOTOX lip flip and discuss other options for lip enhancement to help you find out.

What is the BOTOX lip flip?

Through a series of BOTOX injections in the orbicularis oris muscle (located just above the upper lip), the lip flip temporarily relaxes the upper lip, allowing it to roll slightly upward so it appears larger and more defined. The BOTOX lip flip can also:

  • Improve the appearance of a gummy smile by helping the upper lip cover the gum line
  • Prevent your upper lip from disappearing when you smile
  • Help smooth vertical lines above the lips

When will I see my BOTOX lip flip results?

Most patients notice the effects of the BOTOX lip flip within a few days of treatment and full results in about a week.

Pros of the BOTOX lip flip

There are many reasons why a BOTOX lip flip may be the ideal lip enhancement treatment for you:

  • Provides subtle results. The results of a BOTOX lip flip are quite subtle, especially compared to lip fillers. Those close to you may notice that your lips look more defined, but it won’t be obvious that you’ve had a cosmetic treatment.
  • Improves contour in the upper lip. While the lip flip isn’t a substitute for lip fillers, it is an attractive alternative. By defining your “Cupid’s Bow” (the “U” shaped indentation in the upper lip) and vermillion border (the edge of the lip), the lip flip can create the illusion that your lips are just a tad bit plumper. Many women also enjoy the “pouty” look of their upper lip jutting out slightly more than their lower lip.
  • Provides a sexy lift. By helping the lip roll upwards, the BOTOX lip flip can create a sexy lift to the upper lip, akin to a ski jump.
  • Relatively inexpensive. Since just a few units of BOTOX are needed to achieve optimal lip flip results, the BOTOX lip flip can cost as low as $100 per treatment.

Many women enjoy the “pouty” look of their upper lip jutting out slightly more than their lower lip.

Cons of the BOTOX lip flip

The BOTOX lip flip isn’t for everyone. Before undergoing treatment, consider the following cons:

  • Doesn’t increase volume. The BOTOX lip flip doesn’t actually increase volume in the lips, although it can make the upper lip look a bit fuller when it’s performed by a skilled injector.
  • Doesn’t address the lower lip. While the lip flip can create the illusion of fuller lips overall, BOTOX is not injected into the lower lip during this procedure.
  • Short-acting. While BOTOX results are usually visible for 3 to 4 months, they are often a bit shorter for a lip flip (2 to 3 months). There are two reasons for this: 1) because the lip muscle is frequently used (think how often you smile, talk, and eat!), the effects wear off sooner than when used in other parts of the face, and 2) a very small amount of BOTOX is needed to create the lip flip (usually just a few units).
  • Carries an increased risk. BOTOX is a neurotoxin, and, when injected incorrectly, can affect how you talk, smile, and even eat and drink. If you sing or talk for a living, you should carefully consider the risk of having your speech temporarily impacted. Note that these side effects are not necessarily dangerous to your physical health and will resolve on their own.

The BOTOX lip flip doesn’t actually increase volume in the lips, but it can make the upper lip look fuller.

What are my other lip enhancement options?

Your other lip enhancement options include:

  • Hyaluronic acid fillers. HA fillers, such as Juvéderm® and Restylane®, are the most popular type of dermal filler for lip augmentation. Though many people associate lip filler with big, full lips, not all lip filler results are obvious. In fact, an experienced injector can use fillers to subtly enhance the contour of the lips, including the Cupid’s Bow and vermillion border. There’s no required downtime and visible swelling usually resolves about a week after HA injections. HA lip fillers last up to 12 months and, if you are unsatisfied with your results or have any complications, they can be quickly dissolved with hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down HA.
  • Fat injection. This lip enhancement technique is a form of fat transfer that involves injecting your own fat into your lips to enhance their size and shape. Lip augmentation with fat injection provides immediate results, though final results can take 3 to 6 months to become fully apparent, as a small percentage of the transferred fat is reabsorbed by the body. After this initial healing period, results can last anywhere from 6 to 24 months. Downtime is minimal and visible swelling typically resolves after 7 to 10 days.

Which lip injection technique is right for me?

With so many lip enhancement options to choose from, how will you determine which is right for your aesthetic goals, anatomy, and personal preferences?

  • BOTOX. If you want results that you can see but don’t draw unwanted attention, the BOTOX lip flip is for you. It provides a more subtle enhancement than fillers and allows you to try out a short-term lip enhancement to see if you like the results. You may also benefit from the BOTOX lip flip if you are happy with the size of your upper lip but it disappears when you smile, or if you have a “gummy smile.”
  • HA fillers. If you desire full, voluminous lips (think: Kylie Jenner’s seductive pout) and/or want to correct uneven lips, try an HA-based dermal filler. HA fillers are also your best bet if you have deep vertical lip lines or parenthesis you’d like to address.
  • Fat injection. If a completely natural lip filler is what you’re after, consider lip augmentation with fat transfer. Not only does fat injection provide the longest-lasting results, but the stem cells in fat may also improve skin quality by increasing collagen around the injection site. (Note: the verdict is still out on this one.)If you have sensitive skin, fat injection offers the lowest risk of allergic reaction since it uses your own tissues, which naturally integrate into your body over time. However, if cost is a deciding factor, keep in mind that fat injection will cost more than lip fillers injections or a BOTOX lip flip.

Why choose? Many of our patients like to combine the BOTOX lip flip with lip filler to increase volume in the lower lip and subtly lift the upper lip. This duo can provide especially beautiful results for patients with very thin lips that easily disappear.

Schedule your lip enhancement consultation at Little Rock’s Cosmetic Surgery Center

If you’re considering a lip flip or lip fillers in Little Rock, Arkansas, the expert team at Cosmetic Surgery Center’s Exhale Med Spa can help. Our cosmetic Nurse Injector, Leslie Harmon, BSN, RN, balances your natural lip anatomy with your aesthetic goals to help you decide whether BOTOX, dermal fillers, or fat injection is right for you. Schedule a consultation online or call (501) 227-0707 to get started!

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