Not every woman who visits my office wants lip enhancement. Sometimes, it's the men. But many women do, and are simply afraid of what it might involve. Usually, after discussing all the available options, they realize that a simple, 15-minute procedure in the office can augment the appearance of their lips. But in order to fully understand the options available, I always try to paint a complete picture.

What does that entail? First of all, listening. Once my patients have had the opportunity to tell me just what bothers them about their lips, I provide options and a recommendation. I try to explain what they can do at home, what nonsurgical options I have available, as well as what surgery can accomplish. Most of the time, those who visit me are interested in what I can provide, but for those of you doing research on the topic, you should have the opportunity to know what you can do at home, too.

So what can you do on your own to get that pretty pout? The short answer is a lip plumper. What are these? Generally, these are lip gloss cosmetics which contain skin irritants that cause the lip to swell. Many of the newer versions also have ingredients designed to promote collagen growth, though I rarely see a product make this claim and then detail which type of collagen (there are multiple) growth is promoted. After all, who wants to have more collagen if it's the sort found in scar tissue rather than the young, elastic, and vibrant collagen commonly found in teenagers?

The irritants in these products included everything from pepper parts (Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens) to cinnamon oil to newer versions that also have palmotoyl-oligopeptide to promote collagen synthesis. Because they are irritants, many cause a tingling or burning sensation when applied to the lips. Always beware of allergic reactions when using these products! Consult a physician if you have any concerns about allergies.

Lips2Many of the products claim to increase the size of the lips significantly – a 3mm increase in thickness, for example. Of course, these are temporary increases, lasting up to 2 days at a time according to the companies that produce them. Consistent use of the plumping lip gloss is important to maintaining fuller lips. Application of these products should be done carefully; occasionally, application outside of the vermillion (the red portion of the lip) can cause swelling and color changes to the skin.

Here are a few examples of lip plumper products (please note that this is a random sampling – I do not endorse any of these products):

Given the sheer number of products available, there is clearly a huge demand for fuller, beautiful lips. I certainly see evidence of that demand in my office! Plumping lip glosses provide a simple solution you can try at home. In my next two entries, I will discuss more advanced, longer-lasting answers for lip enhancement. Everyone who has an interest in fuller lips should know their options, even the simple ones that your facial plastic surgeon may not offer! Having this information available allows you to make the most informed decision possible. Knowing what to expect can go a long way in helping you find the best answer for you. This, as always, is why I love what I do.