By Madeleine H. Burry
When it comes to lips, beauty standards tend to dictate that bigger is better.
A big part of it is likely a cultural desire to look youthful — for people assigned female at birth, fuller lips (along with a lack of wrinkles and gray hairs) makes them more likely to be perceived as younger, according to an older December 2009 study in PLOS One.
Or, as a more recent February 2018 article in Acta Otorhinolaryngol Italica states, “Robust, pouty lips are considered to be sexually attractive by both males and females.”
Plumper lips can be achieved through many tactics, from injections to deftly applied cosmetics. Scroll around social media, and you may find another, non-surgical method mentioned as a path to a perfect pout: face yoga, or exercises to help train the muscles around your mouth.
The big question: Do these exercises work?
Can Facial Yoga Exercises Make Your Lips Bigger?
When it comes to the merits of face yoga for lips, Alexander Zuriarrain, MD, a quadruple board-certified plastic surgeon with Zuri Plastic Surgery, has a definitive response: “There are no lip exercises that are done to make lips bigger,” he says.
“I have not come across any research on physical exercises to increase lip size,” he adds.
There’s “no real research to support ‘lip exercise,”’ Azza Halim, MD, of Azza MD, who focuses on aesthetic medicine, says. Dr. Halim compares these exercises to another trend she’s observed, using lip suction cups to enlarge lips, “which do nothing but cause trauma and swelling.”
There are a few factors that influence the size of lips, including:
- Getting older: With age, lips can decrease in size, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Lips may get longer and thinner, and overall lose volume, per a February 2019 retrospective analysis in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
- Ethnicity: Black and Hispanic people tend to have fuller lips, Dr. Zuriarrain says.
- Genetics: Dr. Zuriarrain adds that along with age, lip size is also associated with genetics.