You definitely aren't alone if you can't make it through your IG or TikTok feed right now without seeing at least a few lip flip videos and pictures (the #LipFlip tag on TikTok currently has a whopping 50.8 million views, FYI). It's one of the buzziest cosmetic treatments right now—and for good reason: It's affordable (especially when you compare it to lip injections), it's pretty painless, and it leaves you with perkier, fuller-looking lips for three months. Not a bad deal, right?
So if you've been considering trying the treatment yourself, you've officially come to the right place. I caught up with two dermatologists who regularly preform lip flips themselves to find out everything there is to know, including how the treatment works (spoiler: it involves Botox, not filler), how to tell if you're a good candidate, and so much more.
What are lip flips?
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? According to Robert Finney, MD, dermatologist at Entière Dermatology in New York City, a lip flip is performed by injecting small amounts of a neurotoxin (i.e., Botox, Xeomin, Dysport, or Jeaveau) to relax the muscle right around the lips. “In doing so, this causes the lip to protrude or rather ‘flip’ out a little, thereby giving the lips a poutier appearance,” he says. Marisa Garshick, MD, a fellow dermatologist in NYC, adds that lip flips are a great option for anyone wanting fuller lips without filler. Speaking of which…
How do lip flips compare to filler?
Hyaluronic acid-based fillers like Restylane and Juvederm work by actually adding volume to the lips themselves—as opposed to just the border—in order to achieve an all-around plumper look. Lip flips, on the other hand, have a different way of making your mouth look poutier. “Lip flips relax the muscle to flip the lip out, giving it the appearance of more volume, since more of the pink part of your lip is showing,” says Dr. Finney. “Filler purely involves adding a hyaluronic acid solution to the lips to make them look fuller.”
As for which one is better, well, that totally depends on your lips and the specific look you’re going for. “Filler is typically a better option for patients with thinner lips or a gummy smile, both of which can actually be made worse by a lip flip,” says Dr. Garshick. “Lip flip treatments also tend to cost less than lip filler, so it can be great for someone looking for a more wallet-friendly procedure that offers similar benefits.” The exact price depends on your provider and where you're located, but lip flips typically range from $80 to $200 (compared to around $1,500 for filler).
Another thing to keep in mind when deciding between the two treatments? Lip flips dissolve way faster than filler—you can expect your results to last around three-ish months, whereas filler lasts closer to nine. TL;DR: If you're on the fence about doing anything to your lips and you're an ideal candidate (more on that in a sec), lip flips are kinda a genius entryway before you try something more permanent (and, uh, more expensive).
Who is an ideal candidate for a lip flip?
As Dr. Garshick and Dr. Finney explain, lip flips aren't exactly for everyone (as is the case with pretty much every cosmetic procedure). “An ideal candidate for a lip flip would be someone who has a thin-appearing upper lip and is interested in increasing the appearance of it,” says Dr. Garshick. She adds that it can also be helpful for someone who’s bothered by their lip curling under when they smile. On top of that, the injection points used for a lip flip can aid in temporarily reducing the vertical fine lines and wrinkles that form around the mouth as we age, so if that’s something you’re concerned about, definitely talk to your dermatologist about it.
What happens during a lip flip appointment?
Before the procedure itself, Dr. Garshick says your dermatologist will clean the skin and ask you to animate your lips by smiling and pursing your lips together. “This helps us to best understand the dynamics of your lips,” she explains. From there, your doctor will create two to four precise injections along the upper border of the lip. “At five to ten minutes per appointment, a lip flip is considered to be a very quick procedure with little pokes that feel like a pinprick,” adds Dr. Garshick. While the pokes can sting a little, the pain typically subsides after a few seconds since it happens so fast. For reference, Dr. Finney points out that filler usually takes 20 to 30 minutes per session in order to do it right.
Is there any downtime after a lip flip appointment?
Nope, not really. Most people can go about their daily lives right after getting a lip flip, which is definitely a plus. “There’s very little to no downtime after getting this procedure,” says Dr. Garshick. “As with any injection, there’s a small risk of potential bruising immediately after, but it shouldn’t last long, especially if you ice it.”
Dr. Finney emphasizes that while swelling and bruising often occurs with filler, it's very rare with lip flips due to the different nature of the procedure. That said, both derms agree you should avoid taking any blood thinners, like alcohol or certain medications, before getting a lip flip—and any procedure for that matter—as they can increase bleeding.
So, how long does it take to see the results of your lip flip? Typically, people start to see a noticeable difference after one week, but Dr. Garshick says the effects can begin to kick in after just a couple of days. “Results should be in full effect after two weeks,” she adds.
Are lip flips safe?
While Botox is definitely safe, that’s not to say it’s completely risk-free. “As with neurotoxin injections elsewhere, if too much is placed or it’s injected into the wrong area or depth, the toxin can relax other muscles that you didn’t intend to,” says Dr. Finney. “In turn, this can flatten the lip.” The easiest way to avoid this? Always see a board-certified dermatologist—even though that discounted treatment might sound like a good deal, it's best to book an appointment with a trained doctor (it is your face, after all).
One potential side effect to keep in mind: When Botox weakens the muscle of the upper lip, it can sometimes feel a little difficult to drink through a straw. The good news? It's not permanent, so if you decide it's not for you, the effects will wear off in around three or four months. And, as always, if you're worried about any side effects or discomfort, chat with your dermatologist before you do anything.
The final word
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to deciding if a lip flip is right for you, but if it sounds like you’re an ideal candidate and you want to give it a go, just be sure to make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for the best results possible. And if you’re still feeling unsure about your decision, you can always schedule a consultation with a doctor who can walk you through the procedure and exactly what to expect.
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