Lip Wrinkles & Juvederm

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With age, many people develop fine lines that radiate outward from the lip contour. Excessive sun exposure and smoking can increase the severity of these wrinkles, which can be difficult to conceal with cosmetics. Many dermatologists use the dermal filler Juvederm to soften the appearance of wrinkles around the lips. The FDA has approved Juvederm for the treatment of other facial folds and wrinkles. However, the use of Juvederm to enhance the lips, though common, is considered "off-label."

Lip Wrinkles

In 2009, a team of researchers from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, Netherlands found that as women age, they develop more pronounced lip wrinkles than men do. The team, led by Dr. Emma C. Paes, used 3-D digital imaging to analyze the severity of wrinkling in lip tissue of male and female cadavers. They determined that the females had a greater number of wrinkles in the lip area, and that their wrinkles were also deeper than those of the males. They also found the the lip tissue of the males had a higher count of sweat and oil glands than those of the females. The greater number of oil glands, the researchers concluded, may help keep the males' lips protected from the onset of wrinkles. The study was published in the November-December 2009 issue of the "Aesthetic Surgery Journal." As of November 2013, no new studies have disputed the information found in this lip wrinkle research.

Juvederm Dermal Filler

Juvederm is a transparent gel that is injected into the mid or deep dermis to plump wrinkles around the lips. Hyaluronic acid serves as the filler's base, and this natural complex sugar also occurs in human skin. This makes it nontoxic and biocompatible. Juvederm injection recipients experience minimal discomfort during the procedure, which takes approximately 15 minutes. Some doctors administer a topical anesthesia prior to the injection to ease patient discomfort. Most recipients can resume daily activities immediately after the procedure.

Side Effects

Common side effects following Juvederm injections include redness, itching or tenderness of the injection site and mild to moderate swelling of the lips. Bruising and bleeding can also occur; however, these can be lessened by avoiding aspirin and ibuprofen for a week prior to treatment and for two days after. If you have facial herpes simplex, dermal filler injections could induce an outbreak. Also, pregnant or nursing women should not have Juvederm injections, as the filler has not been tested for safety in people with these conditions.

After Care

For the first 24 hours following treatment, avoid strenuous exercise, alcoholic beverages and excessive sun or heat exposure. Also, do not take vitamin E, St. John's Wort, aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs for two to three days after treatment. If you experience pain or tenderness, apply an ice pack to the treatment area. If redness, swelling or other adverse effects last longer than a few days, notify your doctor.

Cost and Duration

Juvederm dermal filler is priced by the syringe. As of 2013, the cost of one syringe is relatively expensive. Generally, one to two syringes sufficiently treats lip wrinkles, and your initial treatment can last up to six months. Dr. Brandith Irwin from the Madison Skin and Laser Center in Seattle recommends touch-up treatments one to four times per year. Insurance providers do not cover the cost of Juvederm injections, as they are elective cosmetic procedures. However, some dermatologists may offer payment plans.