I am a proponent of voluminous lips, and I have gone to various lengths to achieve them. My most recent experiment involves needles — specifically, hundreds of them covering the tip of a microneedling tool. You may have heard of microneedling in the context of plumping up fine lines — but this might just be the first time you’ve considered using it over your mouth. Below, I got the scoop on the relatively unconventional usage of a buzzy beauty tool.
First, it’s important to note what microneedling actually is: a skincare treatment which relies on teeny-tiny needles to poke microscopic holes in the skin. These perforations allow products to sink more deeply into the skin and work more effectively. Additionally, they are purported to trigger the body’s inflammatory response and inadvertently create more collagen. The ultimate goal is plumper skin in the treatment area. (For a deep dive on microneedling, click here.)
[Editor’s note: Talk to your doctor before starting or stopping any new treatment.]
Generally, professional microneedling treatments and DIY microneedling tools alike have been advertised for use on the face (around the eyes, cheeks, etc.). So when I saw the GloPRO® “Lip Edition” Microneedling Tool ($249) — a device made with the specific intent to plump up your pout — I was intrigued.
Is it safe?
According to NYC-based dermatologist, Dr. Whitney Valins Tan, it is OK to microneedle the lips with a designated device — though it’s important to note that there are limitations to how dramatic of a result you can expect. Similar to how facial microneedling works, the lip device uses the same pinprick principles to boost lip fullness over time — so you should not bank on immediate results.
It’s also important to note that you should never share any at-home microneedling device, especially when it comes to lip-treating tools. Sharing with a friend can spread bacteria — and even reactivate the herpes virus to flare up in some people. “The lips have a thinner stratum corneum, the outermost layer of skin, and are more delicate, composed of many nerve endings and blood vessels,” Valins Tans explains. As soon as harmful bacteria is introduced into the area, you could be more susceptible to infection, as the nerve endings and blood vessels are close to the surface.
For that same reason, the super-thin skin on the lips makes it a difficult place for professional microneedling treatments. “[Pro microneedling on the lips] can be quite painful, and lead to inflammation and swelling,” explains Valins Tan. “In fact, much of the plumping that may be reported after microneedling the lips is due to this inflammation and is short-lived.”
As for my handy GloPro Lip Edition, the needles are truly so miniscule that they are hardly capable of causing injury. While the process doesn’t leave my lips looking like Angelina Jolie’s, the tiny punctures do allow my ultra-nourishing balms to sink in and do their best work (and aren’t soft, supple lips the most important thing with all of this cold weather coming up?).
If you’re not ready to microneedle over your lips themselves, feel free to microneedle — DIY or otherwise — around your lips. “Using microneedling to stimulate collagen remodeling and soften lines in this area can be a more appropriate treatment,” Valins Tan says. (Bye, lip lines.)
The GloPRO® “Lip Edition” Microneedling Tool was gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.
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