My Lips Started Thinning at 40, so I Tried Keyhole Lip Filler—Here's My Review

Welcome to I Tried It Month, where every day in January we publish a new fashion, beauty or wellness article that includes a first person report about shaking up an old habit, stepping out of a comfort zone, or simply to try something New. Follow storytelling for 31 days, from 40 days without a cell phone to the polarizing trend of low-top pants.
I turned 40 last year, and while I have no concerns about aging, I miss the collagen of my 20s. It is this general exhaustion and age-related bone loss that made me think about injectables. First it was fillers under the eyes, and then when I was 39 I had a liquid facial. (This involves microinjections of filler and botox into specific areas of my face to ensure a natural look that still had movement and didn't look stiff or overdone - I highly recommend it.)
While I take a close look at my health and well-being, there are some things that you cannot control through diet and exercise alone, and collagen deficiency is one of them. Our genetics, environmental stressors, and the natural aging process can all contribute to collagen loss. Trust me. I've tried correcting all of the collagens ingested as well (I prefer herbal options like Moon Juice and The Beauty Chef) but nothing can restore depleted collagen, bone loss, or fat like filler. And it doesn't take you much to tell a significant difference!
Outside of my eyes, my lips were the only place it was most noticeable, and this year on my 40th birthday, they just looked thinner than usual. (This is because collagen and hyaluronic acid production slows down in the late 20s and 30s.) Well, I've tried lip fillers before, but it was always very subtle, and this time I was ready for something with a little more volume, something which could also restore some definition as your lip pigment also starts to fade as you age. (I am seriously thinking about seeing the famous Brow Jelly to improve the color.)
I was first introduced to the keyhole lip filler when I was browsing Bell Yoo's, MSN, FNP-C, Instagram.
The Registered Nurse at Facile Dermatology + Boutique in West Hollywood is a renowned master of lip fillers and I knew as soon as I saw this picture that I wanted to try it out for myself. But as with many vibrant medical trends, I wasn't sure if this keyhole look would suit me or if my lips would be suitable for the treatment.
Facile has strict COVID-19 rules that are followed as recommended by the government. So I felt comfortable booking an appointment with Yoo to talk about the procedure. As a side note, if you are currently sticking to home treatments, I would recommend this DIY facial that provides professional results.
It turns out the keyhole lip filler is not suitable for my lip anatomy (more on that later), but thanks to their unique lip filler technique, we were able to achieve a very similar result. Read on to learn more about my lip filler experience, what keyhole lip filler is, what filler is used, how much it costs, and what to expect during and after treatment, including recovery time. Feel free to DM me @skinlexicon if you have any questions!
What are keyhole lips?
The keyhole lip injection technique involves strategically placing the filler to create a small gap between the upper and lower lips so that it resembles an actual keyhole. Yoo believes this vibrant look is on trend because it gives the lower lip a fuller and pouty look while still staying natural.
Who is a Good Candidate for Lip Fillers and Keyhole Lip Fillers?
The lip filler is intended for everyone who wants more volume, moisture, symmetry and / or definition in their lips. However, if you prefer keyhole lips, Yoo cautions that it can be more difficult for certain lips to get the exact keyhole shape because each person's natural anatomy is different. “Everyone has a different lip shape, so your result may not look like someone else's,” she informs me.
This was the case for my lips. I wasn't a candidate for the keyhole look, but as you can see in my photos, Yoo was able to achieve a very full but natural pout that gave the impression of a keyhole that I actually prefer. "As long as the patient goes into the procedure with reasonable expectations, most are very satisfied with the result and immediately feel more confident," says Yoo. "Getting lip injections isn't painless, but everyone always says it was worth it when I give them the mirror afterwards." Well, I can totally agree.
How do lip fillers work?
The lip filler is made from an injectable hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in our body that restores volume and hydrates. There is also some lidocaine mixed in the syringe to reduce discomfort.
Are Lip Fillers Injections Painful?
I would be lying if I said it didn't hurt, and on a scale of one to ten, I'd say it's about five to six. I have a pretty high pain threshold, but the lips are also at the top of the list of sensitive body parts, with around a million nerve endings, so you will definitely feel the needle clamp. Fortunately, I was numbed everywhere before the needle got anywhere near my face, but that doesn't mean it's completely painless.
Yoo's technology is also very unique. She is very deliberate with strategic microinjections that focus on the outer lip lines. This means more injections overall, but the end result is a smoother, fuller, and defined pout that is definitely preferred and not worth discomfort. I had never experienced this style before and asked Yoo to explain her lip filler approach: “I like to use a combination of techniques depending on the lip tissue and the patient's goals. For example, if I want a vertical height I use a "tent technique" where I enter the needle from the vermilion border. When I want more projection or volume, I use a side threading technique. Every patient is unique, so it is important to customize treatment. Most importantly, I respect the natural lip anatomy in volume so that the patient doesn't end up with "duck lips". "
For me, the pain during the process was not as severe as it was a few hours after the procedure. My lips were very tender and swollen (which Yoo had warned me about), and I reached out for pain relief to help with inflammation and discomfort. I'd say my lips were pretty tender at least a week later, but it certainly didn't stop me from doing my normal activities - eating, drinking, talking - I just did them with a little extra care!
What is the keyhole lip injection technique?
Some people have a natural keyhole pout that is more easily noticeable with filler injections. For those without a natural keyhole pout, Yoo may place a floss string or stick in the center of the lip during the injection, deliberately leaving a gap to try to change the lip shape.
How long does lip augmentation take?
The good news is that lip injections only take around 40 to 45 minutes. This includes 10 to 15 minutes for topical anesthesia and then about 30 minutes for the injection. So it's over pretty quickly. Yoo admits, however, that she likes to take her time when spraying because “I get my attention on the smallest details,” and when it comes to lip fillers you definitely want someone who pays special attention to every little detail. I appreciated how much Yoo respected my lips and treated them like a work of art.
What kind of filler is used for lip injections?
There are so many different brands and types, but according to Yoo, the restylane and juvéderm fillers are the most common. Restylane Kysse is the newest FDA-cleared lip filler. Yoo says this is the best lip filler because it's the "perfect combination that allows for both volume and definition. Patients are very happy with the results and find that they last longer. “This was my first time with the Restylane Kysse and I definitely noticed more fullness and definition in my lips than with previous lip injections.
What is the downtime?
You can usually expect the swelling and bruising to be worst for at least the first three to five days after treatment. Then this will gradually decrease to the two week mark. I have definitely experienced swollen and tender lips for this long. For this reason, Yoo advises her patients to allow at least two weeks of downtime when planning a lip filler.
When do you expect results?
The results are immediately visible. However, your lips will be swollen immediately after the treatment. However, like my lips, it takes about two weeks for the fully healed results to be visible. It's been two months since I had the first treatment and my lips are really soft with no lumps or tenderness - no one would ever know. In fact, nobody noticed, which was great because the ultimate goal was to have full, natural lips without it being noticeable.
Should you expect bruising from lip fillers?
Yes! Yoo warned me that everyone would bruise after the lip filler, but personally I have never gotten bruises and I have had lip filler injections about four times now.
How long does it take?
Ask a practitioner and they will say the filler will last between six and 12 months. As Yoo reminds me, longevity varies depending on the individual patient's metabolism and the volume of filler injected. Because the mouth is a "very mobile area" - we use it constantly to talk, eat, and drink all day - the filler may not stay in the lips as long. The more syringes you use, the longer it will last. Now, two months later, and after the swelling has completely subsided, I can say that the volume has decreased but it is not visually noticeable. It has settled into a beautiful, natural and full shape.
If, like me, you get to this point and are missing that extra fullness, Yoo suggests a lip flip, which involves doing botox injections into your upper lip to relax the muscles and "twist" your lip upward. I will return to this procedure soon.
Fillers like Restylane Kysse (I had that) or Restylane Defyne may hold the keyhole lip shape better than other softer fillers like Restylane Refyne or Juvéderm.
Do I need a follow-up appointment?
This is usually not necessary. However, if you feel that some fixes need to be made, Yoo recommends asking for two weeks. Since much of my swelling was gone by this point, I saw Yoo after two weeks and got a little more filler on my lower lip to even out the fullness of my upper lip.
What questions should I ask before getting lip fillers?
1: Do I have important events ahead of me in the next two weeks? If so, postpone the appointment. Wait at least two weeks for downtime - swelling, bruising, etc.
2: Have I had cold sores in the past? If so, we recommend taking a preventive antiviral drug that may be prescribed for you prior to treatment.
How do you find a good supplier that won't clutter your lips and that will give you a natural look?
Look for a provider with consistent before and after photos. Yoo also recommends looking at the provider's face. If the vendor's face seems crowded and unnatural to you, you may not be on the same page when it comes to aesthetic goals. She adds, “Ask the provider how often they inject lips. Everyone has a different lip shape and lip tissue. More experience with a variety of different lips gives the provider a better understanding of how best to achieve your lip goals. "
What Can Go Wrong With Lip Fillers?
Common side effects include swelling, bruising, tenderness, and lumps in the first two weeks. I have experienced all of these symptoms, but it is very normal and expected with any filler treatment, and they are temporary. According to Yoo, you can reduce the risk of severe bruising and swelling by avoiding blood thinners like alcohol, fish oil, advil, and aspirin a week before your appointment.
According to Yoo, a very rare side effect is vascular occlusion, where "a filler closes a vessel and blocks the blood supply to the lip tissue." She adds, “This can lead to necrosis (tissue death) if not treated immediately. It's rare, but possible, so it's important to speak to your provider about it. A good provider knows how to prevent this through safer injection techniques and how to recognize warning signs and how to handle a vascular occlusion quickly so that no permanent damage occurs. "
What does lip filler cost?
The lip filler ranges from $ 650 to $ 900 depending on the product type and amount of filler.
What are the main lip filler myths out there and what is the truth?
Myth 1: if I get lip fillers, I get duck lips.
Fact: A skilled injector can build volume while taking into account the natural lip anatomy so your lips look like yours - but a more hydrated, plump version.
Myth 2: One syringe is too much and makes me huge lips.
Fact: A syringe only contains 1 ml, which is equivalent to a fifth of a teaspoon. Most of what you initially see after treatment will swell up from injections. Most virgin lips require at least one or two injections to achieve a noticeable result.
Finally…
Although I couldn't achieve the keyhole lip filler look, I am very happy with my fuller lips and will definitely be back to do it again. I can only recommend Yoo's technique, although it is a little more painful thanks to more microinjections. I can really vouch for their layering technique as the smaller, strategic injections create a clearer and more voluminous lip line and pout. So if you are interested in lip fillers, do the research, find a practitioner you can trust, and go for it! Oh, and try the Restylane Kysse too. It's definitely the softest filler I've had in my lips.
Buy my favorite lip products:
Dr. Dans Cortibalm lip balm ($ 7)
If you have severely dry lips (which I did after a recent trip to 32 ° Santa Fe) my dermatologist Nancy Samolitis, MD FAAD (also from Facile) recommends this balm. She tells me that its secret ingredient, Hydrocortisone 1%, helps heal chapped lips quickly and in a pinch you can usually pick it up at your local pharmacy.
Cosmedix Enhance Lip-Plumping Mask ($ 29)
I always have one on my desk and in my pocket. This is my favorite lip treatment because I love the cooling feel of the applicator and the ingredients, which include powerful peptides that really help prevent dryness and cracking, which is a long-term problem for me.
IS Clinical Youth Lip Elixir ($ 58)
Shea butter, cocoa butter, hyaluronic acid ... do I have to continue? This is full of moisture and it works.
Emilie Heathe lip R&R exfoliating lip balm ($ 42)
If, like me, you have consistently dry lips then this is a must see. I can't tell you how groundbreaking this was for my chapped lips. First, twist the end to release the balm, then rub it in with the applicator's unique scrubbing tip to remove dead skin and replenish it at the same time. It really is the best. You have to trust me in this case.
Summer Friday lip butter balm ($ 22)
This is a dreamy, buttery lip balm with a delicious vanilla flavor. Honestly, everything this brand does, from the packaging to the ingredients, is so beautiful.
Aquaphor Lip Repair Ointment ($ 3)
Nothing is better than the original (and some might say the best!). Nourishing vitamins, shea butter and chamomile essence bind moisture and prevent cracking or dryness.
Lucas Papaw ointment ($ 15)
As an Australian, I couldn't put together a lip balm summary without including one of the classics from Down Under. This is proven. I grew up with my mom and have used this on all skin problems, from rashes to chapped lips.
Laneige lip sleep mask ($ 22)
When I recently asked for dry lip recommendations on my @ skinlexicon account, this product was recommended multiple times. And not just for sleeping. This buttery lip mask can be used overnight or anytime your lips need adequate hydration thanks to Moisture Wrap technology with hyaluronic acid.
Doctor Rogers Skin Solutions Restore Healing Balm ($ 30)
If your lips are cracked, Dr. Heather Rogers said lip scrubs and bulging serums can cause irritation. So she doesn't recommend plucking or scrubbing them, as you'll not only peel off dead skin, but you'll also peel off some of the living skin and cause further damage that will prolong the healing process. Instead, coat your lips with an AHA-based facial for five minutes, wash them gently, and then apply a generous layer of your Restore Healing Balm - it really works!
Iris & Romeo Power Peptide Lip Balm ($ 26)
I can't stop raving about this little balm that packs a powerful punch. Made with clinical amounts of collagen boosting triple biomimetic peptides, this balm not only increases lip volume and firmness, but also deeply hydrates. It also adds a touch of color to my pale lips. It also doesn't dry out and will later leave pigmentation on your lips (Pet Peeve!). Highly recommended.
Kosas Cosmetics Kosasport LipFuel Hyaluronic Lip Balm ($ 18)
We went on a road trip to Arizona and drove through the petrified forest on the way home. It was 32 ° and the cold wind tore my lips open immediately. When we got home, I grabbed my Kosasport lip balm first because it contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the lips and konjac root, which is like an environmental barrier. With frequent use, my flaky skin disappeared within 48 hours and my lips returned to normal. I love this stuff!
Check out more from Sacha next: I tried 5 buzzy skin care treatments before my 40th birthday
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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