What is the butterfly lip trend and why is it problematic?

Butterfly lips are the latest lip trend to become popular on social media, but as with a lot of aesthetic trends that emerge online, the treatment should be approached with caution.

The trend involves lifting the lips with Steri-Strips and then providing a significant plumping effect using dermal filler to over-emphasise the Cupid’s bow. It’s called ‘butterfly lips’ as the resulting effect is a volumised, slight separation of the top lip, mirroring the appearance of a butterfly’s wing.

Butterfly lips have been trending on both Instagram and TikTok, with reality television personalities Lauren Goodger and Katie Price both posting pictures on social media having had the uber-plumping procedure.

As such, it's predicted to be a popular aesthetic treatment request in the coming months, especially for individuals who look to television stars for their beauty inspiration.

However, there are significant concerns that the procedure could be unsafe. In particular, the technique’s use of Steri-Strips and over-plumping of the top lip has caused concerns.

In an interview with OK.co.uk – a website where many women go to seek celebrity-influenced beauty ideas - the registered nurse and founder of Emma Wedgwood Aesthetics, Emma Wedgwood explained:

“Butterfly lips is the latest lip filler trend being shared all over social media as an effective method for plumping up the top lip. This is usually done by taping the lips and injecting dermal fillers and neurotoxins (such as Botox) to give a more prominent Cupid’s bow.”
“I wouldn’t recommend this treatment to my patients as it is very unsafe and can carry a high risk of infection from the tape itself. It’s also important to note that taping your lips will not change their natural anatomy. Other side effects include prolonged downtime and lip filler migration caused by too many injections being administered too close together.”
The trend is also increasingly getting mixed reviews online. Some users on Tiktok, identified by Ok.co.uk, for example, were concerned about how good ‘butterfly lips’ would look in real life, not just on camera. There were discussions about lip evenness and swelling from the procedure too.

For that reason, if someone does come into clinic requesting the trending treatment, it’s best to discuss these complications and suggest further options with them for providing safe and realistic lip-plumping results.