Charles Runels, MD
(All photos in this article are of women that I know. All before and after photos are of women I have treated)
The next time you speak to someone, notice where you look while you're talking. Most of the time, you'll be looking either at their eyes or their lips. Augmenting the lips can do amazing things to change the look and the youthfulness of someone's face.
Some people say that the eyes are the window to the soul. I think that the mouth is the window. From the mouth comes the words that reveal thought and emotion and promises and songs. Imagine a beautiful woman with an unattractive mouth; it's difficult to do. Now imagine an average appearing woman with a very attractive mouth and with beautiful speech revealing beautiful thoughts; automatically she becomes more beautiful. Look at this mouth (for a closer view, double click the picture):
No matter what the rest of this woman looks like, you're just naturally going to find her attractive because her mouth is attractive.
I know this woman and know that she's kind, a good mother-to-be, educated, and working to help people in her community. I know that she brings peace and happiness to those around her with the words that come from this mouth. For privacy reasons, I won't tell you who she is or what she actually does for a living, but can you imagine her being anything but attractive with a mouth like this?
Here's the same mouth in a relaxed posture
with no makeup, no lip liner, nothing but her hanging out by the pool making people feel good with words and smiles.
So what makes a mouth beautiful?
Artists and scientist have tried to define beauty for centuries. Einstein was fascinated by harmony and played the violin and studied Mozart in an effort to define beauty. Leonardo da Vinci wrote mathematical formulas in his notebooks in an effort to define beauty. We know it when we see it but we don't really know all the variables that define it. Here are a few qualities of a beautiful mouth:
The upper lip is either the same thickness of the lower lip or 1/2 the thickness of the lower lip. Notice that the lips pictured above have equal top-to-bottom widths when comparing the upper and lower lips. If you look at Brad Pitt's mouth, he has a bottom lip that's twice the thickness of his upper lip. Usually, a mouth where the upper lips is thicker than the lower lip is not as attractive.
There is shape to the lips (a variation of thickness across the lip); no sausage lips (the appearance when augmentation results in the same width from one side to the other).
The teeth are in good repair (and give support to the lips). Without good teeth support, the lips do not take the proper shape.
Of course, every mouth is more attractive when it produces articulate speech expressing loving thoughts; but, that's not something that I can do much to augment.
Notice the clean vermillion border and a crisp cupid's bow (the little dip in the middle on the upper lip).
This business lady was in a seat across the isle from me on the plane. I thought her mouth was hypnotic. Notice the slight up-turn of the vermillion border and the tiny opening at the center of her mouth. Color and shape are also dramatic.
Here's another beautiful mouth: Notice that in the perfectly relaxed state there is a tiny space between the upper and lower lip. There's good volume and well-defined vermillion border with a beautiful cupids bow. This woman is a lovely teacher and mother and I think her mouth (soft and beautiful) matches her personality.
Here's another beautiful set of lips in a young woman who was teased as a child for her "big lips." Obviously, the same school mates who once teased her probably envy her now. Notice that when not smiling, her upper lip and bottom lip are about the same width. When she smiles, then the upper lip is about 1/2 the width of the lower lip. Also, notice the crisp cupid's bow, the well defined vermillion border (the edge of the lips) and that the corners point horizontal (not downward) when relaxed. You can also see that when she smiles, the top of her lip just touches the edge of the upper part of her teeth, revealing the gum between the teeth but not above the upper edge of the teeth (no "gum show").
Mouth Story #1: A three year old girl bites an electrical cord
Mouth Story #2: From duck back into woman.
Many kindhearted, beautiful women simply don't have a mouth to match the rest of their body and soul. But, using modern "fillers," the woman's mouth can be augmented to enhance her personality and to augment her beauty rather than distract from her beauty. Fillers can be used almost like a paint brush to add lip volume where there was no lip before augmentation.
Where I add volume is the art of lip augmentation. Anyone can make your lips bigger, but making them more attractive means augmenting exactly the right amount in the right places.
For best results, I need to look at the women's face and nose from every angle. I listen and get a feel for her personality. I look to see what parts of the lip are perfect already and which parts should be augmented. Then I change the shape of the lip or make it fuller based upon what will make the mouth more in sync with what the woman is about and with the rest of her face Not everyone needs big, luscious, sex-queen lips. Some people just need to erase the smoker's lines and give the lip back the fullness it had when the woman was younger.
As I mentioned already, the most attractive look is usually for the upper lip to be 1/2 the top-to-bottom thickness as the lower lip or for the upper lip and the lower lip to be the same size. Usually, having the upper lip larger than the lower lip is not an attractive look.
To accomplish this I usually prefer Juvaderm Ultra Plus or Hydrelle. Both are flexible and soft and smooth. They are a deeper agent that works well to add volume to the lip and face.
The vermillion border is the edge between the red part of the lip and the normally colored skin of the face. I'll frequently use Restylane to fill in the tunnel that goes along the edge of the vermillion border and this will frequently erase any smoker's lines and give the lip and younger appearance.
Also the teeth must be factored into the equation since the extra volume will rest against the teeth giving the lip it's resting shape.
I also like to look at the mouth in several positions: resting, smiling, angry, sad. I look for "gum show" with smiling (usually not attractive).
For example, here's photos of a woman that I recently treated. She had had collagen placed earlier (by another physician) but had an unsatisfactory result. Look at this "before" photo taken when she first came to my office:
Here she is not smiling... Notice that there's just not much upper lip to look at. This is not a lip that's very attractive because you just plain have trouble seeing it. Here's the same mouth "after" Juvaderm augmentation...not smiling... Which mouth looks more friendly? Which mouth looks younger? Which mouth looks sexier? Which mouth looks healthier? I think most people would agree that the after picture wins in every category.
Here's a "before picture" of the same woman smiling... Notice the space between the teeth and the upper lip: this is called "gum show." Even before treatment, this was a very attractive woman with a pretty smile but the gum show makes her smile not as pretty as it could be. Notice how her upper lip nearly goes away when she smiles. The lower lip is much more than twice the thickness of the upper lip.
Here's an "after" picture of the same woman smiling (after I used Juvaderm to augment the upper lip)... Notice that now you can still see her upper lip even when she's smiling. Her smile's just a little juicier, a little healthier, and softer, and younger. There's no gum show and her lower lip is about twice the thickness of the upper lip.
Here's another woman before treatment Here's the same woman immediately after treatment by me using a combination of Juvaderm Ultra Plus and Restylane:
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This woman runs a very successful retail store near the beach near my home. Here are the before pictures:
Before with make up... and without make up
After two syringes of Juvaderm to augment the lips, here are the after pictures: with make up and without make up
To augment the lips, will cost between $600 and $800 depending on the amount of material I need to use. The augmentation will last from 9 to 12 months for most people. After repeated use, there is evidence that the effects can become more permanent and less material will be need and it will be needed less often.
This beautiful woman was involved in a car accident that left a scar on the lower lip. She also had loss of volume from smoking and aging.
I wanted to add more volume to the lower lip to bring it up to match the upper lip and wanted to decrease vertical lines. Also wanted to bring the upper lip up to it's previous more youthful volume (but didn't think that the upper lip needed as much additional volume as the lower lip. Here's before and after two syringes of Juvaderm Ultra Plus:
For questions about your own mouth, you can also email a photo to DrRunels@Runels.com
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Peace & Health,
Charles Runels, MD