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Over-the-Counter Lip Enhancers Fail to Deliver on Promises E-mail
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Over the counter products to make the lips appear fuller are popular with consumers, but research at the University of Washington shows these "cosmeceuticals" don't enhance the lips of their purchasers.

Products sold over the counter to consumers as lip enhancers with the promise of fuller lips, don't live up to their claims, according to a new study conducted at the UW Medical Center's Cosmetic Surgery Center and published in the May/June issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

"Many manufacturers have attempted to parlay the public's desire for quick and painless methods for cosmetic enhancement, with the promise of results similar to time-tested surgical and non-surgical methods," said Dr. Sam Most, assistant professor of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery in the UW School of Medicine. "In many cases, these products are sold at the cosmetic counter or on the Internet as effective without scientific study, and consumers should be wary of them."

In the case of one such product, Most and his co-author, Dr. Samson Lee, demonstrated that no lip enhancement was detected in a small study of female patients.

"It should be noted that these patients were all quite motivated to try this product," Most said. "While no adverse effects were noted, only 14 percent said they would use the product again."

The study found that no statistically significant change in lip size was detected in patients who used the product. The duration of treatment ranged from one to four months. Digital before-and-after photographs were used to quantify the lip measurements.

There are a number of proven methods of lip augmentation, including filler injections and surgery, Most said.

"In an age of every-increasing demand for facial enhancements, many such devices or "cosmeceuticals" can be expected to be sold over the counter," Most said. "Facial plastic surgeons have a responsibility to determine the efficacy of such products to provide unbiased, evidence-based advice to our patients. More studies such as this will likely be needed for such products as they come to market," Most said.

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