A Brief History of Lip Augmentation
October 1, 2018, Charleston, WV
© 2018 by Stewart & Thaxton Plastic Surgery
Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Lip Enhancement in Ancient Times:

Lip enhancement is not a new phenomenon.  Lip enhancement in the form of lip coloring dates back to Ancient times.  Ancient Sumerians already wanted their lips to stand out. Mesopotamians used red ochre, which is a clay earth pigment containing iron oxide, to color and enhance their lips. Cleopatra used bugs! (She used red beetles & ants.) As you can see, women wanting to have their lips enhanced has a long history.

Lip Augmentation Moves into the 20th Century:

In the early 1900’s, Suffragettes wore bright red lipstick in their marches. In fact, Elizabeth Arden handed it out to them in the streets in 1912. The lipstick “push up” tube was invented in 1915 by Maurice Levy, and the modern swivel up tube that we use today came a few years later. “Flappers” famously donned the bright red stuff.

Lip Injections’ Beginnings:

The idea of making lips bigger and fuller came along at approximately this same time in history.  Lip augmentation actually started in the early 1900’s when plastic surgeons experimented with paraffin to make lips larger.  This was wrought with problems, however, such as drifting of material and infections, and paraffin was abandoned as a lip augmentation material.

Lip Augmentation in the Cool 60’s:

In the 1960’s, silicone became popular as a lip augmentation injection material. Questions arose as to the safety of silicone, and this was stopped.  Ultimately, however, silicone was deemed safe.  Even so, silicone is not a great modern lip augmentation option. Silicone lip augmentations are often what we see when we google things like, “lip augmentation disasters.” So be wary of a practitioner offering this as an option for your lip augmentation.

Collagen fillers began being used to augment lips.  Collagen lip augmentation has fallen out of favor, however.  Better options have come along.

Modern Lip Augmentation Materials:

Nowadays, lip augmentation is performed using “Hyaluronic acid” (HA) fillers such as Juvederm®.  Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body.  Juvederm® / Hyaluronic Acid can be reversed if desired with a reversal medication. This fact eases some patients’ minds if they want to try lip augmentation but fear they will not like it.  While reversing Hyaluronic Acid lip augmentations is an option, few of our patients have ever chosen to do this. This is a rare case in our office.  What we find is that once they have had lip augmentation, most of our patients are satisfied with the results.

Fat Transfer Lip Augmentation:

Another modern option for lip augmentation is fat transfer. Our doctors can take some of your fat from elsewhere and inject it into your own lips for a longer lasting lip augmentation. As with any cosmetic procedure, it is important to choose a trusted board certified plastic surgeon to perform your procedures.  One example of this is because fat transfer lip augmentation is a plastic surgery skill.

Lip Augmentation Booms in Popularity:

Today, lip augmentation is widely popular.  This might be in part to the pretty mouths of glamourous A-list beauties like Angelina Jolie & Scarlett Johansson, & of course the social media icon Kylie Jenner.  Kylie Jenner is well- known for her social media selfies, and her full lips take center stage.  She is often considered the lip augmentation poster child.

Lips are a very expressive body part.  They can invite, speak, eat, whisper, pout, kiss, smile. Lips have been a beauty main stay for ages— from Cleopatra to Kylie Jenner. It is only natural to want to look & feel your best, and we are glad to say we can and do help our patients with this. Our patients love having lip augmentation.  And as seen by this long history of lip enhancement, this is nothing new.