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A Brief History of Lip Injections

From Angelina Jolie to Kylie Jenner, plump lips have long been the focal point of magazine cover photos, and they continue to inspire woman to put their aesthetic attention where their mouth is. While there are plenty of tips available for people who want to accentuate their poutiest feature with makeup, lip injections at St. Louis’ West County Plastic Surgeons of Washington University continue to be a popular approach, too.

In fact, this look has been around long enough to see the treatment change from lip injections made from a waxy liquid known as paraffin in the early 1900s to the lip injections formulated from hyaluronic acid of today.

Between then and now came other attempts. Silicone, that versatile gel used frequently in breast implants, was used for lip injections in the 1960s, but the cosmetic community moved on to bovine collagen in the 1980s.

Collagen is a protein that provides structure and keeps lips (and skin in general) round and plump. We make it in our bodies, but it breaks down over time—and some people simply have more of it where they want it. Using collagen derived from an animal worked to add volume, but these lip injections came with allergy tests that added weeks to the process.

Hyaluronic acid, a carbohydrate that plays well with collagen and holds moisture, took over after collagen and remains the popular choice for women seeking lip augmentations today. It’s a naturally occurring compound, but not taken from cows or any other animal, making allergy testing unnecessary. Results can last for months, until the body safely absorbs the injectable. Then it can be repeated.

With Cosmo’s late-July broadcast of lip injections via Facebook live, interest in this treatment is obviously still very high, indicating that its long history is just going to get longer. Contact the team at West County Plastic Surgeons to learn more.