8D Lip Design: the aesthetic analysis of the lips
What do the words volume, projection, proportion, details, definition, angles, symmetry, and distractions all have in common? They form the eight components of beauty that you need to explore when aesthetically analysing your patients’ lips to create a bespoke treatment plan.
In this blog, Dr Tim Pearce will share some expert tips on how to appropriately perform an aesthetic analysis of lips so you can create a holistic 8D lip treatment design. This educational piece is based on content from the world’s first online lip training with interactive 3D anatomy and injection animation – introducing the 8D Lip Design training course.
Why is aesthetic analysis of the lips important?
The aesthetic analysis is one of the most powerful parts of the consultation you will have with your patient about a lip treatment.
This is the point at which you can help your patient to understand and visualise the many details and facets that make up overall beauty, particularly lip beauty. It is a core skill to develop as an aesthetic clinician and is much more than our innate understanding of what is beautiful. Once you understand the principles, you can pass that education on to your patients, whose opinions on beauty may be misaligned or malformed. With your expertise, you can then work collaboratively towards a goal of a beautiful result.
However, there is no room for complacency or skipping this step. When you become more well-known and your patients begin to trust you, they may not expect you to carry out the aesthetic analysis, during subsequent consultations, because they trust you to ‘do the right thing’, but, not all patients can build real trust due to dominating fears over poor aesthetic outcomes.
It is true that in time, you will develop an instinct for how to ‘do the right thing’ and create beauty without consciously analysing to the same degree; nevertheless, you cannot bypass this step because your patient may feel uncertain or anxious if you just ‘get cracking’ with your injections without communicating the aesthetic analysis and treatment goals before commencing, much like if a hairdressers starts snipping with the scissors without checking if you ‘want the usual’ first.
Why not get your FREE download of Dr Tim’s 8D lip consultation question check list.
What is the aesthetic analysis of the lips for an 8D lip design treatment?
Before you embark on an aesthetic analysis of your patient, it is worth putting them at ease about the process and the rationale for this step. Start with an introduction to the key concepts of beauty, ask their permission to perform your analysis – they will feel more in control and open to your expert eye and conclusions, explain why this step is helpful to them – they will feel empowered and understand the principles behind the proposed treatment, and always start with positives before the things which may benefit from correction.
What are the components of beauty that we should analyse in the lips?
Remember at the start of the blog, when we mentioned volume, projection, proportion, details, definition, angles, symmetry, and distractions. These are the components that can be controlled; there is one more, contrast and colour but that is beyond the long-term control of injectable treatments.
Let’s look at each one briefly, and how we analyse each individual patient. You can get the full breakdown in Dr Tim’s 8D Lip Design training course.
Lip volume is about the three-dimensional shape of the lips, more than the proportion. Examine your patient’s lips from both the front and side looking for curves, contours, and bulges, alongside deflation or flattened areas which can come with ageing.
Projection is the extent that the lips dominate other structures within the profile. Lip projection must be analysed with relation to the facial plane, the chin and nose, and each lip relative to the other. Remember that commonly used definitions of the ideal lip projection may not consider different ethnicities, sticking more to a Westernised ideal, and this is something Dr Tim is keen to discuss when educating aesthetic clinicians. The most useful clinical guide when evaluating lip projection is the line between the menton and the subnasion, increased lip projection can then be calculated based on this angle to include top lip dominance.
The size of the lips when compared to other facial structures is a significant component of beauty. The proportion of Caucasian lips is often smaller compared to other features, but this varies with other ethnicities. As aesthetic clinicians, we can design holistic treatments to alter proportions including the width, height, or the lateral to medial proportion, adjusting the top and bottom lips independently. Ensure you do your homework on the golden ratios of top to bottom lip, lip height to chin height, position of the mouth relative to the nose and the chin, width of the mouth to the nose, intercanthal distance and the chin, and width of the mouth to the masseter muscle. Consider how your proposed treatment(s) will alter these ratios.
Volume and proportion are the most obvious considerations, but Dr Tim believes that spotting details in the lip will help you stand out as an advanced aesthetic clinician. Lips are complex, including many features and details, much of which can be destroyed with careless over treatment with dermal fillers. However, the nature of repeat lip filler treatment and the properties of hyaluronic acid, even in the best hands, can impact on lip detail over time, understanding that is critical says Dr Tim.
Boundaries are important when navigating our visual world, lips have a three-dimensional structure and shape with a boundary that defines them as a separate facial feature, although this boundary is not the dominant feature of the lips. Learning how to create this definition between the structures without affecting dominance is a skill.
The angles of the mouth are essential to beauty; these include the angle of the oral commissures, the angle of the lower lip in relation to the philtrum and the chin, and the angle of the upper lip where it meets the philtrum. These angles are adjustable with cosmetic injectables.
Symmetry is another key concept of beauty with asymmetry often warranting correction. Compare the lips from each side, considering the supporting structures. Although common, lip asymmetry is often complex because the teeth, muscles, bone, fat, and lifestyle habits all factor into lip symmetry and the cause of an asymmetry. Be realistic about what you can achieve.
Some details interrupt the harmony of the face and become distractions. Typically, these are scars, lines, creases which we see as a blight on beauty, but can be difficult to address.
Aesthetic analysis of the lips in practice
With practice, aesthetic analysis of a patient’s lips is not a time-consuming part of the consultation.
It is a learning curve for all aesthetic clinicians, honing your understanding of beauty in the lips across men, women, and differing ethnicities, and developing your practical and explanatory skills. Before too long, you will be able to analyse and succinctly summarise the components of your patients’ aesthetic and your treatment plans for improvement, explaining them to your patient with ease. It just takes practice.
8D Lip Design
With all the conflicting advice out there about lip filler treatments – vertical or horizontal? needle or cannula? – it can be difficult to know how to inject to create the lips your patient desires.
If you are suffering from technique overwhelm, worrying about causing a vascular occlusion (VO), or panicking about injecting thin lips, then Dr Tim Pearce’s brand-new ultimate lip course is going to teach you the different techniques, anatomy, and skills you need to create medically beautiful lips.
Dr Tim Pearce eLearning
Dr Tim Pearce MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCGP founded his eLearning concept in 2016 in order to provide readily accessible BOTOX® and dermal filler online courses for fellow Medical Aesthetics practitioners. His objective was to raise standards within the industry – a principle which remains just as relevant today.
Thousands of delegates have benefited from the courses and we’re highly rated on Trustpilot. For more information or to discuss which course is right for you, please get in touch with our friendly team.