The Secret to a Beautiful Lip

Having fuller lips, like that of Angelina Jolie, have been considered a desirable trait.   A study has shown that female models who are selected in the fashion industry, in general, have fuller lips (upper and lower) than ordinary women.  Several studies have also shown that men prefer women with thick and prominent lips.  Over the past several years, there have been an increasing number of women seeking lip augmentation to achieve that sought after voluptuous lip.    



Angelina Jolie's Beautiful Lips (Image from



Features that Decrease the Perceived Age in Women 

  • Big eyes

  • Short nose

  • Small chin

  • Thick lips

  • Thin eyebrows

  • With aging, the upper lip undergoes several changes which range from atrophy of the fatty tissue of the lips to thinning and a less pronounced vermilion border.  Thus, augmentation of the lip may decrease the perceived age in women desiring a sensual and youthful lip. 



Photograph Courtesy of

Common Changes in the Aging Upper Lip


  • Fatty tissue atrophy of the upper lip

  • Thinning and less pronounced vermilion border

  • Flattening of the philtrum

  • Widening of the Cupid's bow

  • Loss of the natural "pout" of the lip


Ideal Lip (Photograph by Rachael Ashe; Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)


So what is the secret of a beautiful lip?  Nearly every fashion model has full and plump lips.  Does having a lip augmentation of one's upper lip sufficient to have that sought after voluptuous lip? Studies have shown that the ideal lip has an upper to lower lip ratio of 1.0 : 1.6.  If this ratio is altered, as found in women with excessive augmentation of only the upper lip, the lip may look unnatural. This would not be as attractive as the natural upper lip.  The upper lip may predominate the discourse in aged lip, but the lower lip may need augmentation as well due to the development of lip ptosis with aging.  Moreover, lower lip augmentation may be needed to maintain the upper to lower lip ratio in order to achieve "natural" and beautiful lips.



Lips of a famous actress after lip augmentation.  Overcorrection of the upper lip augmentation resulted in a deviation from the ideal upper to lower lip ratio.  Thus, the lips look unnatural.


Reasons Some Women Desire a Lip Augmentation


  • Desire to have more fullness of the lips

  • Those with genetically thin lips

  • Those with poor definition of the vermillion border

  • Atrophic lips due to advancing age

  • Non-Surgical & Surgical Options for Lip Augmentation

  • Implant material, such as Goretex, Alloderm, PTFE, Silicone

  • Fat grafts 

  • Dermal-fat grafts from patient's own tissue, especially after a facelift procedure

  • Dermal filler lip injections 


Before & After Photos of Lip Augmentation using Dermal Fat Graft by  Emmanuel De La Cruz, MD, PLLC


In most cultures, having a full lip is associated with female beauty and youthfulness. Young women may want to achieve sensual lips like that of Angelina Jolie or Jessica Alba. The older and refined woman may want to look younger with fuller and sensual lips. Whatever their reason maybe to obtain the ideal lip, one needs to be aware of the secret of the beautiful lip before one undergoes plastic surgery. 




Kara Dioguardi was included in  PEOPLE's Most Beautiful List (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)


So is there a secret to a beautiful face?   
Stay tuned....

Emmanuel De La Cruz M.D. 
Houston Plastic Surgeon



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Bisson M, Grobbelaar A. The esthetic properties of lips: a comparison of models and nonmodels. Angle Orthod 2004;74:162-166. 
Giddon, D. Orthodontic applications of psychological and perceptual studies of facial esthetics.  Semin. Orthod. 1995. (1)82-93 
Koscinki, K.  Facial attractiveness: General patterns of facial preferences.Anthropological Review. 2007. (70):45-79
Lemperle, et al.  An Index for Quantitative Assessment of Lip Augmentation. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2010. May. 30(3) 301–31
Narsete, et al. Lip Augmentation in Conjunction With Facelift: Preliminary Experience With A New Permanent Implant.  Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2009. September, 29: 5: 356-359
Rohrich, et al. The anatomy and clinical implications of of perioral submuscular fat.  Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 2009;124:266-271.


Scott, et al. Influence of lips on the perception of malocclusion,
Am. J. Orthod. Dentofacial Orthop. 2006. (130)152-162

Turkkahraman, et al. Facial profile preferences among various layers of Turkish population. Angle Orthod. 2004. (74)640-647



Posted by Emmanuel De La Cruz, M.D., PLLC at 8:38 AM 

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