Beauty fans will know that big, full lips have been on-trend for the last few years and, thanks to celebs like Kylie Jenner, ‘tweakments’ like non-surgical lip fillers have massively increased in popularity. But lip fillers may be on the way out, as a controversial new treatment claims to offer more authentic and longer-lasting results than dermal injections.
Dubbed ‘lip threading’, the temporary treatment costs upwards of AED 1,500 and is gaining popularity in America, where it is now FDA-approved. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with hair removal. So does it hurt? Is it reversible? And most importantly, is it safe? We spoke to cosmetic surgery experts to find out.
What Is Lip Threading?
“Lip threading, essentially, is passing threads through your skin to make your lips appear more defined,” explains Dr. Ross Perry, aesthetic expert and medical director of CosmedicsUK. According to him, lip enhancement – compared to fillers – is more subtle, particularly around the Cupid’s bow area.
“The threads are made up of poly-L-lactic acid, or PLLA, a biocompatible [non-toxic to living tissue] synthetic substance,” says Perry. They’re placed into the lip to help stimulate collagen production, which changes both the shape and size of the lip. “It does add some volume, but is more about redefining the natural lip line. Hyaluronic acid is generally used as an injectable to plump the lips, while ‘threading’ involves dissolvable threads being threaded into the outline of the lips for a more contoured, natural look,” he adds.
Does It Hurt?
“If you’re having both the top and bottom lip done, it would mean at least four separate threads – two on both,” explains Perry. “Like all cosmetic procedures, there are potential risks and even though it’s FDA-approved, this does not mean side effects cannot happen.”
“Downtime from bruising can be up to two weeks,” he says, adding that he’s unsure of the major benefit of this treatment over the tried-and-tested hyaluronic acid fillers.
Is It Safe?
“The procedure is not pain-free, though it is tolerable,” says Dr. Sabika Karim of Revere Clinics. “A small injection of local anaesthesia to the injection-entry site may help to reduce the discomfort.”
Parry warns the procedure is more invasive than fillers, and harder to reverse if you have an allergic reaction or end up with a botched result. “The threads break down naturally in the lips [over time], which means it’s made for those who are looking for lasting results,” he adds. “Unfortunately, if it causes any side effects, such as granulomas [lumps in the skin, usually produced by the body in response to inflammation or a foreign substance] or allergic reactions, treating them would be very difficult since the poly-L-lactic acid is not dissolvable or [easily] reversible. You’d need to wait one to two years for it to dissolve naturally.”
Lip threading is “safe, as long as it is carried out by an experienced medical practitioner,” says Dr. Karim. “However, if you are not happy with the result or are unlucky enough to have a complication, such as infection, it is very difficult to remove the thread, unlike hyaluronic acid fillers that are dissolvable.”
If you are planning on having a cosmetic procedure of any kind, it is always advisable to use a qualified aesthetician and seek medical advice.