Heard about the BOTOX® lip flip? Here are the pros & cons.

Heard about the BOTOX® lip flip? Here are the pros & cons.

You may have heard about the BOTOX® lip flip, a hot topic in non-surgical lip enhancement. This novel use of Botox can be a low-cost, effective treatment to define your upper lip and improve a gummy smile, but it may also have disruptive side effects if performed incorrectly (as well as wear off faster than you would like). This blog will explain how the lip flip works and detail the pros and cons you should consider before undergoing this procedure.

What is the Botox lip flip?

Botox is a neuromodulator that stops nerve signals to the muscle where it is injected, relaxing the muscle. While Botox is FDA-approved to treat wrinkles in the forehead, crow’s feet, and frown lines, Botox is also used for other “off-label” treatments, such as the lip flip.

The Botox lip flip involves injecting 4-6 units of Botox above the upper lip at the center (near the cupid’s bow) and near the corners of the mouth. The primary effect of the lip flip is to relax the muscles (orbicularis oris) that connect to the upper lip, allowing the lip to relax and curl outward, thereby appearing larger and more defined in shape.

Unlike lip filler, the lip flip will not add volume—but the lip flip can accentuate the results of your lip filler.

To treat a gummy smile, this may also involve injections to relax the lip elevator muscles (levator labii superioris alaeque nasi), which extend from the sides of the nose to the upper lips. Injectors typically use somewhere between 2 and 8 units of Botox for this injection, a number that is determined in proportion with the amount of gum visible while smiling.

The lip flip will not add volume, as lip filler does, but the lip flip can be used to accentuate the results of your lip filler, either in a combined procedure or as a touch-up.

Pros: How you may benefit from the Botox lip flip

1. The lip flip subtly defines your upper lip

The primary benefit of the Botox lip flip is the subtle enhancement to your upper lip. Your lip will gain a sloped, ski jump-like aesthetic that defines your existing vermillion border (the edge of the lip). This creates the illusion that your lips are more plump.

2. Stops vertical lip lines that form above the upper lip

The lip flip can also have a wrinkle-reducing effect on your upper lip, smoothing vertical lip lines.

2. The lip flip can stop your gums from showing when you smile

If you have a “gummy smile,” or your gums show when you smile, specialized injections may relax your lip elevator muscles so that less of your gums show when you smile.

3. The lip flip allows more of your lip to show when you smile

Your muscles normally pull your upper lip tight when you grin, but a lip flip allows more of your lip to show when you are smiling.

4. The lip flip is more affordable than lip filler

While a full syringe of lip filler costs between $500 and $1000, the Botox lip flip typically requires only 4-6 units of Botox, which cost between $10 and $15 each. While Botox to treat an area of facial wrinkles may require as many as 50 units of Botox, a Botox lip flip will likely cost less than $100.

5. Requires zero downtime

After your Botox injections, you can immediately return to your normal activities.

6. The lip flip is temporary, lasting about 3-4 months

If you are experimenting with lip enhancement, the lip flip allows you a low-stakes treatment, as the results will wear off in 3-4 months.

Cons: Reasons you may not want the Botox lip flip

1. The results may be too subtle

The lip flip enhances the existing shape of your upper lip, letting the vermillion border roll outward very slightly. This result is subtle — especially when you are not smiling — and may be disappointing if you are hoping for a noticeable change in your lip shape or size.

2. You may have trouble spitting, whistling, and pronouncing certain words

Because Botox stops the muscle from moving normally, you may have difficulty doing some or all of the following as the Botox takes effect:

  • Spitting, i.e. after brushing your teeth
  • Whistling
  • Eating with a spoon
  • Drinking through a straw
  • Rubbing your lips together, i.e. after applying lip balm
  • Pronouncing certain words

If you sing, teach, talk, or lecture for a living, carefully weigh the risk of having temporarily impaired lip function against the benefit of a defined lip. And if you do decide to undergo a lip flip, make finding an experienced injector your number one priority.

If you sing, teach, talk, or lecture for a living, carefully weigh the risks of the Botox lip flip.

3. After your injection, it takes about a week for you to see results

You will have to wait about a week to see results from the Botox lip flip. This also means that your injector cannot gauge your outcome in real time during your treatment, as they can with filler, which develops results immediately.

4. The lip flip effect wears off in about 3-4 months

The effects of Botox last about 3-4 months. By comparison, lip filler may last up to a year or longer, and surgery can give you lasting results.

The key to a good result is a highly-trained, experienced cosmetic surgeon

To decide on the lip procedure for you, consult with a specialist who has a passion for facial aesthetics and the expertise to help you look as beautiful as you feel. Board-certified facial cosmetic surgeons have the training, experience, and artistic eye to give you customized and gorgeous results. To find a facial cosmetic surgeon near you, browse our directory of facial cosmetic surgeons

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