People who are unhappy with their lips are usually unhappy for at least one of four reasons:

  • The lips are too thin or not full enough
  • The lips are too thick or too full
  • The upper lip seems to have almost disappeared as they grow older
  • When they smile, too much of their upper gums are visible (i.e. a gummy smile)


Western cultures have long prized larger lips as sensual, attractive, and even youthful. Many terms have been used to describe full lips. “Bee-stung lips” were popular in the flapper culture of the 1920s and “pouty lips” are associated with the swinging 60s. However, the look is essentially the same regardless of the name or the era: full lips are aesthetically pleasing and desirable.

Sadly, not every woman was born with naturally full lips. Women who want fuller lips have a handful of options. The easiest way to get fuller lips is to use a bit of makeup magic. Apply extra tint to the red portion of the lips, border with a bit of lip liner, and cover with gloss. While this may help for women who need a little boost, makeup can only go so far.

Injectables are the most popular and usually the most effective way to plump one’s lips. A plastic surgeon adds volume to the lips by injecting them with temporary injectable fillers such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, poly-L-lactic acid, and calcium hydroxylapatite. Patients may also choose from permanent filler options including polymethylmethacrylate microspheres, hydrogel polymers, or autologous fat transfer. Regardless of the filler, the effect is to create fuller, plumper lips.

The final treatment for thin lips is lip implantation. A lip implant creates a truly permanent effect. Unfortunately, if the patient is unhappy with the result, the lip implant must be surgically removed.


Some patients may feel that their lips are too full. Indeed, lip reduction surgeon has been gaining in popularity over the past several years. In this procedure, the facial plastic surgeon makes an incision along the lip line and removes a portion of the visible lip. As you may expect, successful lip reduction surgery requires an extremely skilled facial plastic surgeon.


The skin between the bottom of the nose and the top part of the red lip grows with age. This is why older men and women have “thinner” upper lips than they did when they were younger. One solution for this is to remove some of that excess skin. The red part of the upper lip remains the same size, but more of it is visible after the procedure. The portion between the nose and the upper lip is simply made “shorter.”


Most treatments for a gummy smile are actually dental procedures, by a facial plastic surgeon can provide one of the simplest and often most effective gummy smile treatments. A gummy smile is often due to an excessively short muscle that raises the upper lip during a smile. A facial plastic surgeon can surgically “relax” this muscle so that the upper lip provides more coverage of the upper jaw, especially during a smile.

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