Botox vs. Filler for the Lip

By Warren B. Seiler III MD

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “lip injections?” Most people picture images of overfilled lips plastered across computer screens and celebrity tabloids. As with any other treatment in the cosmetic and aesthetic industry, lip injections can be dangerous in the wrong hands and require a high level of training to deliver safe and natural results. I’ve spent my entire career perfecting the art of injection to ensure every Seiler Skin patient leaves our office looking and feeling confident.

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding lip treatments is that filler is the go-to solution for every patient. While filler is commonly used to address concerns related to the lips, Botox is necessary to treat more complex issues such as vertical lips lines that result from movement as opposed to simple volume loss. We strive to keep our patients informed on everything skin-health, so I wanted to take a few minutes to explain how these two injectables are used in the lips.

Let’s first take a refresher course on the differences between Botox and filler. Botox is an injectable that addresses “dynamic” lines caused by the repeated movement of certain muscles. These are oftentimes called “expression lines” and are commonly recognized on the forehead, between the eyes, around the mouth and on the upper and lower lips. Botox works by relaxing muscle movement in these targeted areas which in turn reduces the severity of fine lines and wrinkles.

Filler, on the other hand, addresses “static” issues caused by age-related volume loss. Our bodies naturally lose collagen, elastin and fat over time, resulting in thinning lips and greater laxity in the cheeks, jawline and neck. As implied by its name, filler treats these issues by re-volumizing the area to produce a more youthful appearance.

Now that we’re caught up, you may be asking yourself: how do we decide which injectable is better for treating the lips? As with every consultation, I always focus on two aspects when evaluating patients: cause and concern. I take the time to really understand your concerns and determine the root cause of your symptoms, which allows me to then construct the best possible treatment plan.

Imagine you have a crack in the wall of your living room. A person’s first instinct probably would be to just cover the crack, because on the surface that appears to be the only problem. Someone with experience repairing homes, however, knows the crack is just a symptom of a larger problem deeper in the wall. Whether it’s an issue with the foundation or a potential leak, there is more to the damaged wall than just what can be easily observed. Our practice takes a very similar approach in that we are committed to addressing the core of your “skinsecurities” rather than just providing a short-term fix.

When evaluating the lips, I determine which injectable or combination of injectables – if that is the recommended course of treatment – will achieve your desired results. Filler is great for people who have experienced a loss in volume over time or for those simply born with thinner lips. Concerns such as vertical lines around the corners of the mouth or towards the inside of the lips are better treated initially by Botox as these are a “dynamic” issue caused by muscle movement. Similar to its use in the forehead or the neck/jaw, Botox relaxes the muscles around the mouth that cause these lines and addresses the problem at its core. Botox can also be used to produce a “lip flip” where the pulp of the lip becomes more exposed to produce a fuller look. After treating the over-active movement, we can then decide if filler, PRP or even laser treatments are warranted to further enhance the lips. Our goal is to treat the cause of the concern and provide long-term results rather than simply “filling to lips” to patch the problem temporarily.

Patients should be mindful that while injectables are commonly used to address the lips, they sometimes are not the best course of treatment. Individuals with deeper lines on or around their lips may benefit from skin tightening treatments that stimulate collagen development to help restore fullness. Medical-grade skincare products are also a solution for those wanting to enhance their lips, with ones such as HA5 Smooth and Plump System delivering great results when integrated into one’s daily regimen or combined with their Botox/filler treatment.   

People walk through our doors every day seeking the cosmetic and aesthetic industry expertise our team offers. Our goal is to treat the cause of our patients’ skin concerns, not simply provide a short-term solution. No matter if it’s Botox, filler or a combination of the two, we have the experience necessary to achieve the natural, more youthful looking lips you want. Enhance your lip game today by scheduling your own personal consultation or calling us at 205-870-0204!

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