The history of lip augmentation and the London Lip
The beauty of the London Lip

Plump, youthful and perfectly in proportion, the London Lip is how all lip augmentations would look if they were done by a principled practitioner with the relevant skillset and a sane understanding of aesthetics.

However, to truly appreciate how we got it so right, we need to take a look at how others got it so wrong.

So, this week, we will deep dive into the, sometimes murky, waters of lip augmentation.

Starting today with a potted history of lip enhancement, we will turn the spotlight on the fab and mad trends that distorted lips around the world on Wednesday. Finally, on Friday, we will show how best practise coupled with best products and best skillsets led to The London Lip, a timeless classic from The Prager Clinic.

So, sit back and pucker up for the ride…

The Lowdown on Lip Augmentation

Lip augmentation is a procedure designed to enhance the size, shape, and fullness of lips. Common methods of lip augmentation include:

  • Injectable fillers, which are the most popular and minimally invasive method of lip augmentation around today with results lasting between several months and a year, depending on the product used;
  • Fat transfer, which involves fat harvested from other parts of the body, typically through liposuction, and injected into the lips. This procedure can yield longer-lasting results compared to fillers, mainly because the transferred fat cells can become a permanent part of the lips;
  • Lip implants, whereby synthetic material – typically silicone or other biocompatible materials – is surgically inserted into the lips providing a permanent solution;
  • Lip lifts, which is another surgical procedure involving the removal of excess skin from the upper lip to lift and enhance its appearance;
  • And the lip flip in which Botox, or another neurotoxin, is injected into the muscles around the lips to relax them, causing the upper lip to roll slightly outward, giving the appearance of fuller lips.

How it All Started

The quest for beautiful lips is as old as time itself, or at least as old as ancient Egypt.

Archaeological findings show that both men and women in the land of the Pharaohs used red ochre, henna, and carmine to colour lips. Similar ‘cosmetics’ are also said to have been widely used in ancient Mesopotamia.

Elsewhere, indigenous tribes around the world have practiced various forms of lip enhancement such as the Mursi people of Ethiopia who are perhaps best known for the distinctive lip plates worn by women. Similarly, the Kayan Lahwi tribe, also called the ‘Long Neck tribe’ because of the brass coils the women wear around their necks, have used brass rings around their lips to give the illusion of elongated and stretched lips.

And during the Tang Dynasty in ancient China, women would reach for a mixture of beeswax, gum Arabic, and plant-based dyes to plump their lips.

Then, as the years and centuries rolled by, things got a little weirder.

Vanity Insanity

In the early 1900s, paraffin injections became the go-to-choice for lip augmentation.

A type of wax derived from petroleum, paraffin was injected into the lips to increase their volume and alter their shape. It was a fairly cheap and popular procedure at a time when other options were limited.

Once in the lips, the paraffin would solidify, providing a semi-permanent or long-lasting augmentation effect.  Unfortunately, there were also significant risks and complications involved such as painful, swollen and disfigured lips, infections, problematic migration into other areas of the lip and skin tissue, chronic inflammation, and immune reactions.

Due to these risks, the use of paraffin injections quickly fell out of favour as safer and more effective techniques emerged.

Then, in the mid-20th century, silicone injections arrived, but while they provided longer-lasting results than paraffin, they also carried risks of migration and foreign body reactions.

A Filler Thriller

Completely revolutionising lip augmentation, dermal fillers appeared on the scene in the mid-20th century when collagen-based fillers were first introduced.

Collagen is a protein found in human and animal tissues, and early collagen fillers were primarily sourced from bovine collagen. Today, dermal fillers are mainly derived from synthetic or non-animal sources, particularly hyaluronic acid (HA), which has become the filler of choice among the discerning.

Synthetic hyaluronic acid offers several advantages over animal-derived collagen-based fillers, such as:

  • Consistency – HA fillers can be produced with a high degree of purity and consistency, ensuring uniform results while minimising the risk of allergic reactions or adverse effects;
  • Biocompatibility – meaning it is well-tolerated by the body and less likely to elicit an immune response or cause inflammation compared to animal-derived collagen;
  • Longevity – HA fillers tend to last longer than collagen-based fillers;
  • Versatility – their formulation, viscosity, and cross-linking, allows practitioners to tailor treatments to each patient’s specific needs.

Overall, synthetic hyaluronic acid fillers have become the preferred choice for lip augmentation due to their safety, effectiveness, and natural-looking results.

It’s also good news for the vegans who walk among us.

In recent years, advancements in technology and techniques, such as improved filler formulations, more precise injection methods, and the use of cannulas, have enhanced the safety and efficacy of lip augmentation procedures. This is how we have arrived at The London Lip.

But, as ever, your lips will only look as good as your doctor is capable of making them look, that’s why the London Lip is a Prager Clinic special.

For some modern-day horror stories, do drop by this Wednesday when we will look at the good and the very bad of lip fads.