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Lip Lines: Here’s What You Can Do!

Lip lines; those fine creases that seem to draw lipstick off the lips and into tiny crevices. We sometimes refer to them as smoker’s lines or lipstick lines. By any name, these vertical wrinkles around the upper and lower lips are a problem. They may cause you to feel uncomfortable wearing color on your lips. They may distract you from the attractive features your face portrays. Sometimes, lip lines cause people to feel less confident than they’d like. Here, we discuss why lip lines develop, how you might slow their progression, and what we could do to correct the appearance of this cosmetic concern.

What Causes Lip Lines

  • Lip lines are not unlike other wrinkles and creases that we get. They are by and large caused by the natural aging process. With age, the skin has less and less collagen to keep it firm. There is also less elastin in the skin, so it becomes thin and loose. Without sufficient collagen and elastin, the skin on and around the lips is even more susceptible to changes caused by other factors. These include:
  • Lip movements. The mouth is a very moveable area. The lips move when we smile, chew, laugh, sing, speak, and pucker for those sweet kisses. Over time, this area doesn’t recover as well from these movements.
  • Sun damage doesn’t just occur when we get a sunburn. Exposure to the UV rays in sunshine accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
  • Environmental pollutants cause the body to produce free radicals, atoms that steal energy from cells. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which often shows up in the skin.
  • Volume loss. The lips can deflate with age. Again, this is because there is insufficient collagen to keep the skin plump.

Can Lip Lines be Prevented?

Because lip lines are related to biological aging, and that is not something we can stop, it may not be possible to prevent these wrinkles. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! To slow the progression of lip lines, we suggest:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t drink through a straw.
  • Wear lip balm with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Gently exfoliate the lips once a week. This can be done with a lip product or by carefully rubbing the lips with sugar.
  • Hydrate the lips daily with lip creams that contain hyaluronic acid.

Treating Lip Lines

If you’re already seeing lip lines or you’d like to postpone their arrival, contact our office for a consultation. There are several options for promoting healthy tissue rejuvenation in the lips and surrounding skin, including:

  • Preventive Botox injections to minimize the intensity of movement around the mouth.
  • Laser resurfacing treatments to strengthen cellular turnover and collagen production.
  • Microneedling treatments to stimulate increased collagen production.
  • Corrective Botox injections can smooth muscle movements that are causing dynamic wrinkles.
  • Dermal filler injections to restore fullness and erase lines.
  • Fat injections. These work like dermal filler injections but achieve longer-lasting results.

We love helping our patients feel amazing. To schedule a consultation in our Seattle or Renton office or arrange a telemedicine appointment, call 206-859-5777.

What You Need to Know about Lip Enhancement

Lip Enhancement Seattle and Renton WABeauty trends are fascinating to observe. In the seventies, the ideal body type was one that had very few curves. Today, it’s all about the booty. A feature that seems to have always been in style is full, voluptuous lips. Just a few years ago, our admiration for the lips remained well within the box of authenticity. More recently, however, celebs like Kylie Jenner and numerous famous Housewives have created a craze for fullness that is nearly over-the-top. Here, we want to discuss this new trend and how you can make the most of your treatment.

Lip injections don’t have to transform the lips into an unnatural state of fullness. Many patients treated with dermal fillers are more interested in achieving goals like creating a more prominent appearance for a barely-there upper lip. Lip enhancement is also beneficial for individuals whose lips have deflated somewhat with age. Whatever your goal, our team can help you achieve it.

Here’s what we’d like you to know:

  • Lip augmentation with dermal fillers is unique to the injector. There are several soft-tissue fillers on the market today, which means you have choices – and so does your injector. Every doctor or nurse who performs lip enhancement has their preference based on their knowledge of what a product can do. Before your treatment, we’re happy to speak with you about our preferences and why we like them.
  • Your treatment is based on you. There is a common idea that lip enhancement can begin with a picture of a celebrity with “the look.” This can be a starting point but should not be the endpoint. When performing lip augmentation, we look at your face and use our years of experience to predict how fuller lips will complement the whole.
  • Long-term commitment isn’t necessary with hyaluronic acid fillers. Most of the fillers used today contain hyaluronic acid. One of the benefits of this chemical is that it can be broken down faster with a particular enzyme. If for whatever reason your lip enhancement doesn’t look the way you had imagined, your hyaluronic acid filler, such as Juvederm, can be dissolved.

Do you have more questions about lip augmentation with dermal fillers? Contact our Renton or Seattle office for personal assistance or to schedule your consultation and treatment.

Lip augmentation

Hi Dr. Reichel,

I am interested in lip augmentation. Is this something you can do?


I love doing lip augmentation. I would be happy to see you for this. I usually use either Restylane, or Juvederm (fillers) to plump the lips. It is one of my favorite procedures to do. There is also a brand new ultrasound device called Jenu, that can be used at home to maintain plumped lips. You have to wait one week after having  fillers to use it, but it is great.

Please call 206-859-5777 to set up an appointment for a consultation. Mention RealSelf and the consult is free. Also, we can do your treatment on the same day if you would like. You will have about 2-3 days of very puffy lips, so be sure that you don?t have any big events in the days right after treatment. Other possible reactions include bruising. This is uncommon, but can happen. The fillers usually last about 6 months the first treatment, and then can last even 18 months with a second treatment.

I look forward to seeing you.

Dr Reichel

Jennifer Reichel MD
Director, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center
11011 Meridian Avenue N Suite 102
Seattle WA 98133
phone: 206-859-5777
fax: 206-859-5776

Lip fillers & Rosacea with Dr. Reichel

I am interested in trying filler for the first time in my lips and possibly other areas of my face. I also have rosacea and would like to discuss treatments.


Dear S,

I would love to see you for filler for your lips (and possibly other places). For lips, the best fillers to use are either Juvederm Ultra, or Restylane. They are fairly comparable. I think Juvederm is a bit more pliable/supple, but I find that Restylane may last a bit longer. We can decide which is best for you when you come in. I am always amazed at how wonderful and natural it makes your lips look. I recommend that we do local nerve blocks and topical numbing cream to make you comfortable. People tolerate it really well. We currently charge $575 per syringe. We do run specials and one later this month on Juvederm. Check it out here

Many people worry that it is going to give them big big lips. This isn't the case with just one treatment. You should expect to see about 3-4 days of temporary swelling so don't plan any big events for that time. Other possible side effects include bruising (usually mild, about 5% of patients have more significant bruising that can last 5-10 days). Bruising can usually be covered well with make-up. Having an allergic reaction to fillers is almost unheard of.

Results usually last 6 months the first time and then, the more you do fillers, the longer the results last. We can do a cosmetic consultation to see if any other treatments would be right for you.

For your rosacea, we can talk about it at the same time. Treatments include topical medications, such as metro-cream and oral medications, such as oral antibiotics that are also used for acne. For some patients with rosacea, they may need treatment with lasers such as the V-Beam, the Aura KTP, or even just Intense Pulse Light. We can look at you and see what is best. Most insurance companies will cover the cost of an office visit, and the oral and topical medications for rosacea. Most do not cover laser treatments (sad).

I'm excited to see you.
Dr Reichel

Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center

Seattle, WA


Read My Lips, It's All About Hyaluronic Acid

Credit: Thinkstock
Many women want to get their lips enhanced, but also want to avoid the dreaded overfilled "duck lips," and thanks to the ever-increasing art and science of lip augmentation, they now can. Dermatologists and plastic surgeons can use a number of treatments to help the lips look fuller, however, using injectable hyaluronic acid fillers to plump the lips and reduce fine lines around the mouth for a sexier pout is quickly becoming the gold standard.

"For [fuller] lips, the best are hyaluronic materials. The other types of fillers can cause nodules in the lips. I use Juvéderm for lips the most," says Seattle dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Reichel.

Used off-label for years to plump lips, hyaluronic acid filler was given FDA-approval in October for that exact purpose and now doctors swear by it for natural-looking lips. But even though it is possible to have lips look completely natural with filler, there still has to be a delicate touch when it comes to augmenting the lips. "It is extremely important for patients to find a qualified, board-certified dermatologist with considerable experience in the procedure. There is a great deal of artistry involved in lip augmentation, as the results should look good but not overdone," says Dr. Reichel.

Most skilled dermatologists are conservative with the amount of filler used in the first injection and therefore in some cases, a second injection may be needed for the best results. Also, lip augmentation should be approached cautiously in patients who have a large space between the base of the nostrils and the red part of the lips, as fuller lips could create an unflattering appearance similar to a duck’s bill, says the doctor.

It's also important to remember that patients with very thin lips will not get dramatic improvement in the fullness of their lips from lip augmentation, as the lips need to be proportionate to other facial features.

Call Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center to schedule your consultation, 206.859.5777, as well as view some of our Best Lip-Enhancement before and afters in our treatment books.

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Thank you for choosing Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, we look forward to providing you with the very best skin care.