Do Lip Plumpers Work?

Caitlin Kenney

Plastic surgery is becoming more and more popular and acquiring more sumptuous lips seem to be high on the list of patients visiting the surgeon. Not everyone wants to spend top dollar or suffer through painful injections, though, so many cosmetic companies have come out with lip glosses and lipstick said to "plump lips." The question is, do any of these cosmetics or injections really work?

A woman applying lipstick.
A woman applying lipstick.

Cosmetic companies try to plump lips in various different ways. Lip glosses containing cinnamon are said to irritate the lips, causing them to slightly swell. Moisturizing ingredients like cocoa butter and sunflower oil can help to smooth lines and creases to give a younger, fuller look. Some products contain alpha-hydroxy acids or retinol that are supposed to increase collagen production to give fuller lips over a period of time. Studies have shown that most lip plumpers will give the appearance of fuller lips, but the effect is only short-term.

Cinnamon is often included in lip plumping products.
Cinnamon is often included in lip plumping products.

A more long-term and costly approach to getting fuller lips are injections. Injecting fat taken from the belly or thighs into the lips is a popular and successful way to fatten lips. It can take 2-3 injections to achieve desired results, but the results will be permanent. Other permanent lip plumpers are implants made of ePTFE (Gore-Tex®) or solid silicone implants. Silicon injections are also available but cannot be corrected once done.

Products containing Vitamin B12 have been proven to have positive effects on lips by revitalizing the skin which gives a fuller appearance. Vitamin E increases blood flow and when applied to the lips, the resulting swelling makes the lips appear fuller. It is important to look at the ingredients in products before purchasing them to achieve the best results. They should contain a moisturizer, vitamins, and a stinging agent like cinnamon or ginger for a quick, plump look.

It is possible to make your own lip plumpers at home as well by simply mixing the ingredients mentioned above together. Vitamin E can be purchased at any health food store. Cinnamon, ginger, or wintergreen can be purchased at the grocery store along with a base such as Vaseline or cocoa butter. Mix the active ingredients with the base to create relatively cheap home-made lip plumpers. This, of course, will only provide a short-term effect, but will save the cost and risk of injections.

In conclusion, lip plumpers do work, but it depends on whether the user wants her lips plumped up for just an evening or for the morning after as well. Some products have better results than others. It is best to do a little research to see which products and brands have the best success rates before heading to the pharmacy.

Lip injections are a costly approach to achieving plump lips.
Lip injections are a costly approach to achieving plump lips.

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