We know beautiful lips when we see them. They are often full and pouty, but is that all that is necessary to qualify them into the ranks of sexy? This article will briefly discuss some of the components we routinely find in aesthetically ideal puckers.
- Size: Bigger lips are often regarded as more attractive. This is likely because full lips parallel youth. In puberty, the lips are generally the fullest they will ever be. In women, lip fullness parallels the estrogen curve. Thus, big lips serve as a marker to the primordial male brain as “fertile”. As we age, the lip loses volume.
- Shape of the upper lip: The upper lip and lower lip look very different. Their shapes and their proportions must be evaluated to understand how they “work together” to create a sexy pout. The upper lip tapers up to what is called a cupid’s bow. It is called cupid’s for what should be obvious reasons (hint: it’s shaped like a bow). The bow has parallel columns that run up toward the nose, and between these columns are what is called the philtral dimple. The red part of the lip is called the mucosa, and where it meets the skin, it’s called the vermillion border. The center of the red part of the upper lip, at least in youth, has a bulge, called a tubercle. With age, or lips that aren’t classically “beautiful”, some of these components are less obvious.
- Shape of the lower lip: The beautiful lower lip is marked by two pouty “cheeks”. That is, the volume of the lower lip isn’t distributed smoothly from corner to corner. These cheeks are lost with age.
- Proportions: The bottom lip should typically be 50% larger (fuller) than the upper lip.
- Incisor show at rest: This is often not recognized as an important feature of beautiful lips simply because many don’t see it even though it’s on every billboard and magazine cover. In youth when the mouth is parted, one can see a few millimeters of the upper teeth while the lower teeth remain hidden by the lips. The exact opposite is true with advanced age where the upper lips are hidden and the lower teeth become visible.
Next time you’re surfing the web or reading your favorite magazine, take a look! How many of these features do you find? And, enjoy your young lips while you have them! Juvederm, restylane, perlane, and prevelle can all plump lips, but to get incisor show may require a lip lift. There are even permanent options using silicone implants. But make no mistake, pouty is sexy, too. So even if you don’t have a Sunset Boulevard 2 millimeters of incisor show at repose, you can still have beautiful lips!
For more on how to create beautiful lips click here. For the gallery of lip augmentation, click here.
Dr. Tim Neavin is a board-certified plastic surgeon located in Beverly Hills, California.