This interview with Dr. Dennis was reposted from lifestyle site The Cusp. Casey Beros is an established health journalist, producer, TV presenter and wellbeing glutton/expert from Sydney. 
You might recall a year or so ago when the KK (Kardashian Kamp) assured the world that a 17 year old Kylie Jenner’s newly plumped lips were the result of her drawing them on with lipliner. The result was the #kyliejennerchallenge – millions of teens sucking their lips through the opening of a cup, jar or shot glass to draw blood to the area and create swelling in a bid to emulate the star’s new look.

Those of us who weren’t complete fools knew better – the only thing plumping those suckers was a skilled surgeon, and the KK were doing their best to divert negative attention from their young product. I mean, protégé.

These days everywhere I look, I see puffy pouts.

You might have noticed it too, but us Aussies aren’t typically the full-lipped type. Certainly not like our South American and Mediterranean counterparts who are well known for having curves in all the right places, faces included. I know the telltale signs of newly pricked pouts – tiny needle marks, slight bruising and even asymmetry as the lips settle down. I see the good, the bad and the ugly – and I know because I’ve had all of those on my very own face.

Disclaimer: I’ve fallen prey to the trend several (many) times.

It started BK (before Kardashian), however I’ll admit the influx of images of them looking better and better awoke my vacuous little booking finger and I made another appointment quick smart. While I’m a little ashamed to admit their influence, in my entirely non-professional opinion, I think what it represented to me was change, improvement, and hope. That’s right – HOPE, people. I won’t judge you if you’re thinking I’ve entirely lost my mind, but bear with me…

Someone who ‘gets it’ is Dr Dennis, lead clinician and founder of Utopian Cosmetics. I asked him why we’re so attracted to full lips in the first place.

“Lips are an extremely sensual part of the body,” Dennis explains. “They’re involved in intimate acts and have a rich nerve supply, making them sensitive. Lips and brows are the two major highlights on a face, so optimising these features can balance the face and create sensual, flowing lines and symmetry.

“If done by a skilled professional, people can derive cosmetic benefit from Botox and fillers,” he adds. “Seeing obviously plumped lips may be a sign of bad work. Our treatment goal is to look as good as you can but still look natural so no-one knows you’ve had treatment, other than that you look better.”

For those who aren’t au fait with the procedure and are imagining having your lips injected with goo by someone with a needle – pass go and collect $200, because you’re bang on. But Dr Dennis says there’s a consultation piece that anyone considering getting the procedure needs to be aware of (and demand).

“First we perform a full medical assessment,” he says. “We take ‘before’ photos, assess the face and ensure the patient has realistic expectations. We offer suggestions to optimise results, and educate them about treatment options and products based on their goals and our recommendations, then we provide a quote and ensure there is informed financial consent before performing any procedure.”

Bang for your plump

While cosmetic procedures like Botox and fillers might seem comparatively cheap compared to say, a facelift, nose job or breast implants, $600+ is a big chunk of change for something that in my experience only last six months, if you’re lucky. However, there’s a whole lot of people signing up (and cashing in) – the cosmetic industry is worth $1 Billion annually in Australia alone, and fillers are one of the five most common treatments.

“Good lip fillers should last 12 months and compared to the annual cost of haircuts or other beauty treatments, I actually think that’s really good value,” Dennis reasons. “In life you really get what you pay for and lips are no different. Our doctors are highly specialised professionals with more than 15 years of training to be qualified to perform these treatments.”

While the industry has attempted to crack down in Australia in recent years, it’s important to note that the only people who should be injecting fillers are doctors or nurses acting under the supervision and instruction of a doctor. You can read the statement from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons here.

Craving a revamped kisser?

Dr Dennis says side effects are rare, however swelling, pain and bruising are the most common. Not going OTT is your next challenge…

“People get addicted and always want more,” says Dennis. “It’s the doctors responsibility to tell the patient when to stop and avoid overdoing it. I ensure all my staff ‘take their ethics to work’ and don’t perform unnecessary treatments, ever!”