- Lip augmentation treatments and procedures are increasingly popular among men.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) lip injections and the “Macho Mouth” approach are two of the most common options.
- Men can also choose from permanent lip implants and temporary at-home treatments.
Inspired by female celebrities like Bella Thorne and Kylie Jenner — not to mention the prevalence of selfie culture — lip enhancement is one of the most popular beauty procedures among women.
And according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, an increasing number of men are also seeking out procedures to achieve plumper, more attractive lips.
Augmentation choices for thin-lipped males depend on whether they’re interested in undergoing a permanent or non-permanent procedure, with several in-office and at-home choices available.
Here’s an overview of those options.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) lip injections
Synthetic dermal fillers remain an affordable, accessible, and popular augmentation solution for both sexes. A series of customized injections can gradually create fuller lips over time.
Control over the process helps patients achieve the results they desire — an important feature for men who do not want their lips to appear too feminine. Injections are non-permanent, relatively safe, and administered by plastic surgeons and dermatologists.
According to double board-certified plastic surgeon Orna Fisher, MD, fillers like Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane are ideal for men.
“This method respects men’s aesthetics and preferences, as well as the unique male anatomy,” she says. “Injectable fillers also provide a predictable and natural looking fullness.”
The treatments use hyaluronic acid (HA), a chemical already present in body tissues like skin and cartilage. This reduces the risk of allergic reaction. Injections are also relatively inexpensive when compared to other procedures.
After your body metabolizes the HA, you will need to return for more injections. Most patients can expect results to last for three to four months.
The Macho Mouth procedure
If you’ve ever wished you had Channing Tatum’s or Brad Pitt’s smirky pout, you’re not alone.
In response to requests for this unforgettable look, Miami and New York based plastic surgeon Dr. Rian Maercks developed the Macho Mouth procedure. This professional and minimally invasive treatment is most popular among millennial men, but it’s appropriate for all ages.
Instead of using HA fillers in the lips only, Maerks performs injections in several key areas to produce more balanced and aesthetically pleasing results.
“The ‘Macho Mouth’ procedure is a part of what I call ‘Aesthetic Facial Balancing,’ a method of evaluating and treating the face with volume to naturally bring out an individual’s inherent beauty,” says Maercks.
Strategically placed injections from the base of the nose to the chin give men a fuller, more supple lower lip, without the more dramatic fullness that’s typical of lip augmentation procedures for women.
“Macho Mouth incorporates a balancing and blending of features to create an extremely natural appearance that’s crafted to the individual face I am working on,” Maercks explains. This allows subtle enhancements, instead of the “duck lip” look that most patients wish to avoid.
First, the dermatologist or plastic surgeon injects the filler below the nostrils to create a more attractive, symmetrical balance between the nose and the top lip.
Next, injections are performed in the lower lip to “overpower” the upper lip. A fullness begins to develop immediately after treatment, with complete results emerging after approximately three days.
While these “manjections” will make men with thin lips more confident, they can be more expensive than what you would pay for a standard dermal filler treatment, especially since several sessions are usually required for best results.
Risks and side effects
Swelling and bruising may occur following lip injections, although these side effects should only last a few days. You may also experience bleeding, redness, or the re-activation of cold sores.
Maercks says working with a qualified physician will help minimize risk. Referring to his Macho Mouth patients, he says, “Complications, including bruising, are exceedingly rare with proper technique.”
Dr. Fisher recommends avoiding medications and supplements that increase the potential for complications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, and fish oil.
“I also recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for two days after undergoing injectable filler treatments,” she says. “In addition, if a patient’s work schedule is a consideration, an appointment prior to the weekend may be preferable.”
A less common but potentially serious side effect of facial fillers is asymmetry. It’s also possible to end up with an infection, scarring, or stiffening of the upper lip.
Synthetic lip implants
Implants are more costly than dermal fillers, but they provide a permanent lip augmentation solution.
If you are not interested in visiting the plastic surgeon or dermatologist for routine applications of HA, investing in soft, silicone implants may give you the look you want. Popular brands include Softform and GORE-TEX®.
Many of today’s advanced implants, like Permalip, are made of solid, pliable silicone. This prevents leaking and rupturing. They also come in several different sizes to accommodate both men and women. Patients and doctors alike recommend them because they look and feel real.
Lip implants also come with more serious considerations. Small incisions are made inside the mouth and under the lip, so while you will not be in pain during the procedure, you can expect some swelling for about a week afterwards.
Your total recovery time will be about a month, and you may need to stop taking certain medications beforehand. After the recovery period, your lips will take their final, permanent shape.
The risks and side effects connected to lip implants are relatively minimal. Still, it’s possible for your lips to become infected after the procedure. Your surgeon may prescribe antibiotics to reduce this risk. Rejection of the implant as well as implant migration and scarring are also possible.
Lip advancement surgery
Vermilion or lip advancement surgery is another form of permanent lip augmentation for men. The process involves making an incision along the colored border of the lips to remove a predetermined amount of skin.
Next, the vermilion is pulled outward and upward. Once stitched into place, the surgeon can create the desired lip shape and size. This outpatient procedure places a very fine line scar along the border of the lip.
Plastic surgeon Dr. Barry Eppley of Eppley Plastic Surgery in Carmel, IN, considers this treatment ideal for men.
“Most men do not embrace the need for repeated injectable treatments,” he says. “Lip advancements are permanent and irreversible but provide the fullness that most men are looking for.”
Another alternative to artificial fillers and implants is using your own tissue for lip augmentation. Plastic surgeons refer to this same-day procedure as autologous lip augmentation. It’s achieved through a process called fat transfer. By using your own tissue, your body is less likely to reject the implant.
This treatment is performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia. After fat is harvested from your abdomen, it’s purified and transferred to the lips. The full procedure takes from 60 to 90 minutes to perform. Like permanent implants, autologous lip augmentation is more expensive than non-permanent options.
You can expect your lips to stay full and supple for five years or more, which makes this procedure perfect for men who prefer low-maintenance results.
DIY procedures and at-home treatments
Some men prefer to avoid the doctor and the needle, and instead choose to plump their lips at home.
A variety of lip maximizing serums have been created just for men. These formulas provide a fuller, plumper, and smoother look and may contain synthetic or natural ingredients. They’re also clear and natural looking, without color.
While infusing your lips with volume, these plumpers also hydrate the lips and restore natural collagen. A combination of ingredients can help improve the natural contour of the lips and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Suctioning or “lip cupping” is another treatment often performed at home. While touted as natural and non-invasive, most patients will sustain dark, bruise-like marks after performing the first few treatments. Cupping can also result in injury or permanent lip damage.
How do I get started?
Dr. Fisher says the most basic way to create and maintain full lips is to stay hydrated. “This will help keep tissues full. Using a product morning and night is recommended,” she says.
If you’d like to achieve more noticeable and long-lasting results, there’s bound to be a lip augmentation treatment that’s right for you. Lip injections and comparable procedures can help you achieve that supple, sexy pout.
» To find out which lip augmentation procedure is best suited to your needs, ask a cosmetic doctor for advice and schedule an appointment using Zwivel’s free online consultation tool.