Like so many people, I love big, pouty, pillowy lips—I'm just not blessed with them naturally. My fear of needles has historically prevented me from going down the injectable fillers route for the sake of the cause, which is why I was thrilled to discover another, less-invasive option that offers similar plumping results.
Enter: Droplette, a micro-infusion device that uses the same technology as a humidifier to deliver skin-care ingredients 20 times deeper into the skin than topical application. While traditional skin-care actives are often too large to penetrate the skin without needles or invasive methods, Droplette's microdroplets are specifically designed to penetrate the skin's natural barrier and deliver ingredients deep into the dermis. The device can be used to deliver a whole host of ingredients to the skin (like glycolic acid, retinol, and collagen), but using it to infuse hyaluronic acid into the lips results in more-effective, longer-lasting plumpness than topical formulas ever could.
Could this buzzy device actually be the needle-free solution to filler I'd been looking for? Keep reading to find out.
What is Droplette?
The Droplette 17-volt lip plumper set, “delivers ingredients such as hyaluronic acid deep into the skin and soft tissue, resulting in increased water retention in the treated area and a more plump appearance,” says Quynh-Giao Sartor, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. Other ingredients in the lip-plumping formula include collagen, Argireline, and peppermint.
Collagen is a protein in the body that provides support and firmness to various tissues. In lips, collagen plays a significant role in tissue strength and structure. The Droplette contains collagen that not only increases the natural collagen in the lips but also serves as a carrier for delivering essential agents like hyaluronic acid transdermally. Acetyl hexapeptide-8, known as argireline, “has a mechanism similar to Botox when delivered transdermally, where it can relax the muscles of the lip, resulting in the reduction of surface lines and irregularities,” explains Sartor. Additionally, peppermint promotes blood circulation to the lips as well as provides a cooling, tingling sensation.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the Droplette skin repair technology with the support of advisors from Harvard Medical School, and it received funding from NASA. To ensure its effectiveness, the technology underwent rigorous testing, including four clinical trials and studies conducted at renowned institutions such as Walter Reed Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and MIT.
Sartor assures us that the technology is well-studied and safe. “Droplette micro-mist technology has been developed and patented by Droplette Inc., and it has been tested extensively in vitro, in vivo, and human studies,” he says. However, he warns that the lip plumper formula contains collagen and peppermint, so “patients with allergies to certain collagens or peppermint derivatives should heed caution.”
How does Droplette compare to lip injections?
The pursuit of plumper lips has typically required turning to injectable fillers, but Droplette’s whole M.O. is that it provides another option. But how does it stack up?
“Dermatologists often use fillers like hyaluronic acid to restore or add volume and definition to the lips,” says Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology. “Treatments involve carefully placed filler [which is tailored to a patient’s preferences] to restore lost volume and reduce the appearance of lines around the mouth.” Those seeking fuller, more voluminous lips can receive more product, strategically injected to maintain their current lip shape while achieving plumpness. Some patients may also request filler placement along the lips to lengthen the smile or restore symmetry lost due to dental and jawline changes. The filler typically lasts for six to nine months before gradually dissolving, offering a reversible yet long-lasting effect.
On the other hand, Droplette works by enhancing the topical absorption of lip-plumping ingredients without needles or injections. It allows for transdermal penetration of these ingredients, making it a great alternative for those apprehensive of needles or seeking a painless, non-bruising, and non-bleeding option for lip augmentation. As Sartor notes, “lip injections can lead to pain, bleeding, bruising, and occasionally vascular occlusion, which may require urgent medical attention.” Droplette's effects last up to 24 hours, so you'll need to use it regularly to see the same sort of long-term results that injections deliver.
How to use Droplette
The Droplette lip plumper is incredibly easy to use. Simply place the plumping capsule into the device, attach it to your lips, turn it on, and you're done in one minute. The device is self-explanatory, but there are tutorials available on the app if you need help. It is portable, rechargeable, and comes in a chic and compact design, making it the perfect addition to your makeup bag.
The Droplette can fit into your skin-care routine after cleansing and toning and before moisturizing. After using the device, it's important to follow up with a moisturizer to lock in the ingredients and provide hydration to the skin. Additionally, it's recommended to use sunscreen (even on your lips) to protect the skin from UV damage.
What happened when I tried Droplette
Typically, I reserve the Droplette’s use for special occasions or on weekends when I make a little extra effort with my appearance. The results may last for a few hours or up to a day, but it really just depends. The process takes less than a minute, so time and laziness are not barriers to using this device. There are too many skincare devices rotting under my bed because I simply cannot make the time for them, and this is not one of them. After each use, my lips feel so much softer and hydrated—as if I used a super-strength lip balm (do they make those yet?).
At $338 for the starter kit and $60 for a month's worth of refills, the Droplette is admittedly a lofty investment. But compared to the cost of bi-annual lip injections (which can run you $500 to $1,000 a session), it's the slightly more affordable option (plus, it comes with the added bonus of being usable elsewhere in your routine, you'll just have to add some of the other ingredient refills to your cart). And as someone who prefers temporary results and dislikes needles, the Droplette is the perfect solution for me.
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