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Volbella, a newly-approved injectable filler, promises full, smooth, kissable lips – all in a single comfortable treatment.

Let’s face it: our society is obsessed with full, bee-stung lips à la Kylie Jenner and Jennifer Lawrence. In fact, in 2015 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) conducted a national survey asking more than 1,000 women which celebrity’s lips they would most like to have. Jennifer Lawrence came in first place, followed by Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Garner, Angelina Jolie, Kylie Jenner, and Beyonce.

“We live in the age of the selfie, and because we see images of ourselves almost constantly on social media, we’re much more aware of how our lips look,” says David H. Song, MD, former president of the ASPS. “The good thing about lip procedures is that you have several options. You can change the shape of your lips as subtly as you want.”

Women seem to like fuller, plumper lips where the border of the lip is accentuated, with a defined cupid bow because it makes them look younger.

Don’t blame the celebrities though for this quest for youth (well maybe for the #KylieJennerChallenge, where people harmed themselves by using suction cups to duplicate her luscious lips).

Actually, researchers credit the pressure for a popping pout to evolutionary biology. They found that full lips (plus big eyes) indicate higher estrogen levels in women, theoretically making them more attractive to men because it implies fertility.

An interesting theory. Still, it seems nobody wants to settle for either thick thighs or thin lips. Though our thighs don’t become thinner as we age (we wish), our lips certainly do, as over the years we produce less collagen, the protein that makes lips look full and plump.

But luckily for most women, thin lips are easy to correct. In fact, according to ASPS a record number of Americans underwent lip augmentation procedures—including implants— in 2015. This makes it the second ­fastest growing facial procedure in the United States since 2000—dermabrasion procedures were number one. And it’s not just the women. About 1,200 male lip procedures were performed in 2015, a 400 percent increase since 2000.

That’s why Juvéderm Volbella XC, a recently FDA-approved injectable filler to sculpt full, natural-looking lips and to soften fine lines around the mouth has gotten such a warm welcome from plastic surgeons, cosmetic dermatologists and the patients they treat.

Volbella is formulated with Vycross, a propriety filler technology from Allergan that blends different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid. The versatile filler is proven to last for one year—significantly longer than other products currently available.

Although Volbella was approved by the FDA in June, many plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists first started using it in the fall when the product became widely available.

We went to Dr. Jason Wendel, a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgery and advance laser procedures at Dr. J.J. Wendel Plastic Surgery, in Nashville, TN to get his thoughts on why Volbella is leading the rest of the beauty pack when it comes to the most fulfilling filler.

“Volbella can be used to enhance the lip shape and to replace volume loss without looking done or fake,” says Dr. Wendel, who started using the filler in his patients in early October. “This is how it works: it’s injected into the lips, the border of the lips or into the lip lines with a tiny needle.”

“Volbella is perfect to treat lines around the mouth and to augment lips for patients who want a very natural, smooth, hydrated lip with a soft, youthful look,” says Dr. Wendel. “There’s no duck-lip look with this product! In addition, I have yet to have a patient bruise with Volbella, and the swelling is minimal to none at all. We also use this product in some non-label ways: for treating tear-trough/under eye grooves, fine lines in the crow’s feet areas, neck lines, and earlobe rejuvenation. All work beautifully.”

When I asked what separates Volbella from other available lip fillers on the market, Dr. Wendel had a ready answer.

“If you compare Volbella to Restylane Silk or Boletero, it has a different, lower concentration of hyaluronic acid (HA) so it pulls less water to itself, which equals less swelling after the injection.”

“Volbella is like other injectables but with a very special “effect” adds Dr. Wendel. “We like to call it the Magic Eraser, or Airbrushing with Filler.”

Before and immediately after Volbella injections. Photos courtesy of Dr. J. J. Wendel Plastic Surgery
Before (top) and immediately after Volbella injections. Photos courtesy of Dr. J. J. Wendel Plastic Surgery.

So what about the recovery time? Normally, applying injectable fillers to the skin results in bruising. “As I mentioned, I haven’t seen those effects,” says Dr. Wendel. “You can get it done, apply ice to reduce swelling, put on a little cover up and off you go.”

Dr. Wendel already is hearing his patients rave about the filler. For example, his 47 year-old patient Mindi is a fan.

“I’m 47-years-old and I’m so glad I decided to get Volbella to fill in the fine lines around my lips. I never smoked but looked as if I did. After getting Volbella, I felt 10 years younger. It really gave me the boost in self-confidence that every woman needs,” Mindi says. “To be honest, I was a little nervous before the procedure, but the office staff was so comforting and personable that it helped me to feel more excited than scared. The pain was minimal especially with the numbing cream. I had zero bruising and very minimal swelling. I encourage anyone out there to give it a whirl!”

As Dr. Song says, “Even if you’re not born with a perfect pucker, working with your plastic surgeon, you can change your lips subtly.”

So if you’re searching for the perfect pout, Volbella is worth looking into. And that’s not just lip service.

About The Author

Articles by

Estelle Erasmus is a contributing beauty writer for Zwivel. She is also a writing coach, blogger, award-winning journalist, and former beauty editor who has been published in The Washington PostSalonVox,, and The New York Times.

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