Do Lip Plumpers Really Work?

By Shannon R., SELF magazine

Not all of us are lucky enough to have been born with full, pouty lips. There are products and procedures out there promising to plump our pucker but do they really work? Lets take a look at the technology behind the various lip plumping options.

How do temporary lip plumpers work?
Temporary lip plumpers usually come in the form of a gloss or lipstick. They work by temporarily irritating lips, causing them to swell slightly. That tingly feeling is not your imagination, it's your lips reacting to a chemical like caffeine, mint, cinnamon or menthol that most plumpers use.

See more: The Healthiest Cities for Women

Pros: Inexpensive, temporary way to get a slight plumping effect.
Cons: Irritating and continued use could lead to excessive irritation and potential lip damage. Also, some people do experience allergic reactions to the "plumping" chemicals (particularly menthol or cinnamon).

Are there permanent plumping solutions?
Lip augmentation is a cosmetic procedure that provides longer-term results, which can last anywhere from a few weeks to potential permanence. Lip augmentation involves either an injection or an implant. Injections can include a variety of materials such as collagen, fat or hyaluronic acid. Some materials last only a few weeks while others can have more permanent results, all of which have pros and cons. It's up to you and your doctor to decide what injection you're best suited for. Implants involve the insertion of either a synthetic or natural implant to help create fuller lips. Implants are more invasive than injections since the surgeon will need to create an incision in order to insert the implant.

See more: Foods That Fight Cellulite

Pros: Longer-lasting results with several options to choose from.
Cons: Expensive and as with any surgical procedure there can be risks and side effects such as allergic reactions, infection and swelling.

Related: 21 Good-For-You Snacks

Bottom Line
Lip plumping is a big business and there are many options to consider. Temporary lip plumpers offer a fun, temporary way to get slighter fuller lips but be careful to use only occasionally since these products are designed to be irritating. Cosmetic procedures are effective but it is important to talk to your doctor to understand the benefits and risks before moving forward.

More from SELF:

20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
Yoga Moves for Flat Abs
38 Antiaging Foods
Gwyneth Paltrow's Arm and Ab Workout