lip injections; how to get the good (and avoid the bad & the ugly)

Lip injections. Lip filler. Lip enhancement. Lip augmentation. You name it, we've heard about it. We've all seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks to Kylie Jenner for finally owning up to the fact that her lips are not natural (obviously!) and not due to some crazy lip suction device (see this Buzzfeed article for some laughs), the topic isn't so taboo.

First, a little history behind dermal fillers. The products we work with are HA (hyaluronic acid) based meaning our bodies eventually metabolize the product AND they can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyaluronidase. This is good news, people. It allows for some reassurance that if you do have a bad experience, it can be taken care of. More good news, it's very rarely needed.


Let's talk about lips, baby.

Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk about lips! [inspo shout out to Salt-n-Pepa!]

Way back in the day, Restylane was one of the only options. Injectors all over the world were using it anywhere and everywhere on the face to add volume and reduce fine lines and wrinkles giving a tighter, younger looking appearance. Think cheeks, laugh lines, fine lines around the mouth, lips for smoothing and volume, and the chin. Now days, we have many many products to choose from that have been developed for specific areas of the face for very specific needs. This allows for much more natural looking results. Thanks, science!

Now, let's talk about products we use for lips. Restylane, Silk, Refyne, Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Volbella and Vollure. Seems overwhelming, right? The good news is that a good injector will listen to your expectations and help choose the right product for you, getting you the results you want. Factors to think about:  price? how long does it last? will it hurt? how much volume will I get? will it look natural? can I build volume over time? will they just deflate after its been so long? will I look like a duck?

Here's the short of it. The injector is key; and I'm not afraid to toot the Hollyday horn (toot toot!) because Holly and Jenny are two of the best in the city! The product determines all of the answers to the questions above. Let's just say $450-500 is a good average for price and 6-12 months for how long they last. We numb every client with a topical lidocaine so you'll barely feel a thing. Some post treatment swelling and tenderness is normal, but it subsides quickly. If you have tiny lips that disappear when you smile, we can give you a little oomph without everyone and their mother knowing you've had something done. If you're happy with what yo mama gave you, we can smooth and define them. If you want volume, we can give you Angelina Jolie-esque lips that look soft and natural, not ducky. HA fillers give something for your own collagen to cling on to, so over time your lips will be naturally more plump and pillowy. They aren't just going to disappear over night.

The bottom line is this - if the thought has crossed your mind (don't lie to yourself!) the answer is yes! You won't be disappointed. 

Microneedling vs. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

Let's get down to the nitty gritty on skin rejuvenation with the ins and outs of two of our favorite services, Microneedling and the PRP Facial. I'll be answering all of the big questions: What's the difference? Why choose one over the other? What's What can you expect regarding the process, downtime and results? What's right for your skin? 

This 45 minute, minimal to no downtime, collagen inducting treatment uses a handheld device with 9 micro needles to penetrate the skin (at varying depths from .25 mm to 2.5 mm) to treat active acne, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, pore size, uneven skin tone, stretch marks and poor skin elasticity. We recommend a series of 3 treatments spaced 2-3 weeks apart and for optimal results, complete in conjunction with laser and other collagen stimulating procedures. We say this all the time - our collagen response is just like our muscle response - we don't repeat the same exercise over and over again without switching it up because our muscles eventually stop responding as well, and our collagen behaves the same way. The ultimate goal with every anti-aging treatment we offer is to shock your collagen

What to expect:  

Upon arrival we will apply a topical lidocaine compound to your face and neck and let you numb for 30 minutes. Based on your skin's needs, your service provider will choose a serum - Vitamin C, Vitamin A or Growth Factor (my personal fave) - to use throughout your entire treatment. She will begin using the Rejuvapen microneedling device on your forehead in a circular motion while continuously applying the serum. The micro needles create tiny injuries to the skin and penetrate into the dermis triggering your collagen response and allowing for maximum product penetration so the product can get to work! She will then repeat this process for the rest of your face and neck. The forehead and bridge of your nose tend to be the most sensitive, but for the most part you'll just feel small vibrations and find this treatment very comfortable. Immediately after, you'll be pink or red comparable to a sunburn and may want to lay low the rest of the day. By the following morning you can go back to your normal routine and use a gentle cleanser, SPF and even apply a little makeup if you wish. The series of pictures below perfectly depicts what to expect regarding downtime. 

 Before. Immediately After (only minor redness similar to a sunburn that subsides very quickly). Approximately 20 hours After. Notice an overall softer, brighter, more youthful complexion.

Before. Immediately After (only minor redness similar to a sunburn that subsides very quickly). Approximately 20 hours After. Notice an overall softer, brighter, more youthful complexion.

PRP Facial
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is an extract of your own blood that contains three to five times more platelets, growth factors and active proteins for tissue and injury healing. When PRP is placed back into the skin by injection or microneedling, it initiates a localized stem cell response. Over the weeks and months following treatment, this stem cell response recruits collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts. The fibroblasts replace tissue that has been damaged or lost through the aging process with healthy skin that looks refreshed and rejuvenated. The healing properties of the blood components in PRP can be used as a cosmetic treatment for the following:

  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Tightening and toning skin
  • Brightening uneven skin tone
  • Mild collagen and volume loss
  • Crow's feet and dark under eye circles
  • Large pores/rough texture
  • Acne scarring
  • Rosacea

The process:

  1. We will apply a topical lidocaine to your face and neck while your blood is drawn. We only need 30 mL of blood so this is quick and painless. The vial is then placed into a centrifuge which separates your PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma, red in color) from the PPP (Platelet Poor Plasma, clear in color).
  2. Your red PRP will then be microneedled back into your skin. (See above description). This is truly the only difference between these two treatments. Instead of using one of our other serums (the Vitamin C, Vitamin A or Growth Factor) we use your body's own PRP. The benefits of PRP cannot be recreated in any cosmetic, cosmeceutical or pharmaceutical product because it's our body's own cells creating new tissue and healthy skin. 
  3. Rinse the plasma "red mask" off anywhere from 20 minutes - 24 hours post treatment. 
  4. We will send you home with your clear PPP so that you may take advantage of its benefits as well - rub it on your face for hydration and healing, place on your brows/lashes to condition and stimulate growth, or even rub on your thighs to help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

What to expect:

  • The entire process will take 75-90 minutes.
  • Immediately post treatment, your skin will feel very tight and a little tender like you have a sunburn or windburn. Once you rinse the "red mask" off, your skin will be pink for 24-48 hours. 
  • You might feel a little dry and flaky but this is completely normal and should only last 2-3 days. 
  • You'll see the benefits of one treatment last 10-12 weeks so it's meant to be done quarterly - once every 3 months. 
 Before. Immediately After (This "red mask" can be rinsed off as soon as 20 minutes post treatment). Approximately 20 hours After.    Notice the immediate improvement in active acne, skin texture and color.

Before. Immediately After (This "red mask" can be rinsed off as soon as 20 minutes post treatment). Approximately 20 hours After.  Notice the immediate improvement in active acne, skin texture and color.

So how do you choose? Microneedling is a great place to start if you are new to these types of services. If you hate having your blood drawn or the "red mask" makes you squeamish, stick to microneedling. If you are ready to take your results to the next level, the PRP Facial is the icing on the cake without having to deal with any major downtime. 

The major bonus of both of these services is they can be done on any skin type and ethnicity. This time of year can be tough because of sun exposure but you do not have to be at your fairest complexion to have this done. Just be extra conscious of wearing a hat and high quality SPF while you're outside - after all, what's the point in investing in your skin if you just let the sun wreak havoc on it?