Spots, wrinkles and loss of volume are just a few of the ways your face starts to show its age. While you might be aware that volume loss can occur in the cheeks as you get older, you might not realize that another prominent facial feature can also lose volume, making you look older: your lips.

Some people start out with plump lips, but lose volume as they age. Others have thin lips to begin with, making the loss of volume that much worse. Whether you were always thin-lipped or have noticed a significant reduction in volume lately, you have a few options for plumping up your lips, from over-the-counter, temporary picks to more long-lasting, surgical options.

Lip Plumpers

Lip plumpers, often available at cosmetic counters or your local drugstore, don’t offer a miraculous way to volumize your lips. They work by irritating the lips slightly, so that the increased blood flow to the area makes them look and feel bigger.

Not all lip plumpers work as well as they should and usually, the effects of even the best over-the-counter products only last for a few hours. You might have to experiment with a few different products to find one that works for you.

Instead of purchasing a plumping lip gloss, you have  two other options when it comes to adding some volume to the lips at home. One is to use a scrub on the lips, such as a sugar scrub. Exfoliating the area not only removes flaky, dead skin. It also inflames and irritates the lips, helping them look more voluminous.

Another at-home option that you should approach with care is to put a small amount of cinnamon on the lips. The cinnamon stings the lips, irritating them. Since you can do some damage using this method, it’s not recommended unless you’ve discussed it with a doctor first.


Injectable fillers, such as Restylane, offer a slightly more reliable way to volumize the lip area. Fillers have a number of advantages over at-home lip plumpers. For one thing, they actually work. For another, you can choose how much to have injected into the lips, based on how full you want your lips to be. Your surgeon is usually also able to shape the lips somewhat, by choosing where the injection goes carefully.

There is the chance that your lips will end up overfilled after the injection, but that can be avoided by choosing a surgeon with plenty of experience performing lip enhancement using fillers. Depending on the material used in the injection, it is also possible for the surgeon to reverse the treatment.

Injectable fillers aren’t permanent and the results will fade in time, usually after six months to a year, depending on the type used. You then have the option of repeating the treatment, leaving your lips as they are or getting a more permanent treatment.


Several surgical options for enhancing the lips are available. One option is to place implants in the lip to add more volume. Another lip augmentation surgery is the V-Y lip advancement. The V-Y surgery involves adjusting the position of the lips so that the portion that was once inside the mount is visible outside, making the lips look larger without adding a filler or implant.

The goal of the surgery is not only to volumize the lips but also to help lift any droopy corners and make the face look more balanced. The V-Y plasty not only adds volume, it also lowers the lip slightly, so that more of the teeth are visible even when a person is relaxed and not smiling.

Surgery isn’t for everyone, even though the results are the most long lasting. Usually, you’ll need to take a week or two off from work while you recover from the procedure. Bruising and swelling in the area are common. In many cases, the swelling diminishes completely by the end of the second week.

A facial plastic surgeon in Virginia Beach, Dr. Kyle Choe offers both surgical options for thin lips and fillers. If you are ready to explore a more long lasting way of volumizing your lips, which doesn’t mean constantly reapplying lipstick or lipgloss, Dr. Choe can help you choose the best option for your lifestyle and wants. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Choe, call 757.389.5850 today.