As much as many people wish they could “freeze time” to preserve a youthful look, the face is constantly changing over time. Almost as soon as the structures and their related proportions settle after changes throughout puberty, components in the skin itself begin to break down, leading to new cosmetic changes. The specific changes that inspire some people to seek out a lip lift have a lot to do with collagen, which is a protein found throughout the skin. In the lips, collagen provides volume and structure, as well as a framework for supporting water-loving hyaluronic acid molecules.
Though the body maintains relatively stable collagen levels in the skin throughout youth, that balance begins to shift toward a deficit. Collagen molecules break down as part of natural cycles, but are replaced at an equal pace until a person reaches their 20s. At that point, the cycle starts to slow down. Eventually more collagen is lost than is created. By the time someone reaches their 30s and 40s, collagen levels in the skin can drop.
This collagen loss leads to thinner skin, which can cause creases to appear and contours to shift. In the lips especially, reduced collagen levels can negatively impact fullness. As the upper lip shrinks, it can appear to recede, “pulling away” from the nose and increasing the distance between the two.
Since collagen is also valuable as structural support, its loss in the face leads to more sagging. So in addition to growing thinner, the upper lip can also droop—creating more distance from the nose.
Since the distance between the nose and upper lip increases over time, thinning the upper lip and causing it to roll inward, the ideal cupid’s bow shape grows less distinct, deepening upper lip lines. These changes can add 10 to 15 years to a person’s appearance. Dr. Jacobs strongly believes using fillers or fat injections to try to treat this problem—as opposed to a surgical lip lift—is a mistake, since the added weight causes the lip to sag even more!
An upper lip lift from the San Francisco Bay Area’s Dr. Stanley Jacobs provides a natural-looking fix that can last for years. Dr. Jacobs gives patients a local anesthetic, and the upper lip lift surgery itself takes about 45 minutes, with little bruising and some swelling in the following week.
A concealed incision is made under the nose, following the contour of the nose, and skin is removed. The upper lip is then lifted and—voila: a youthful lip. Some patients may want to continue to use lip fillers, but generally these will not be needed after the lip lift is performed properly.
Since the changes that precede a lip lift tend to cause contour issues elsewhere on the face, lip lift patients may also consider other procedures at The Jacobs Center for Cosmetic Surgery. Facelift surgery specifically addresses sagging that creates jowls and hollow cheeks.
Given that a lip lift involves the relationship between the upper lip and nose, some patients may be interested in a rhinoplasty to alter a drooping tip or similar issue. Nose surgery—as with all facial surgeries—is about maintaining natural-looking proportions while providing the cosmetic results desired by the patient. Dr. Stanley Jacobs will explain the ideal relationship between various facial features for each patient as an individual. What looks best on one person may not be ideal for another, which is why Dr. Jacobs works with individuals as just that: individuals.