How You Can Have Full, Healthy Lips
Things change as you hit your 40’s and 50’s, and one of these things can be your lips. Thinning of the lips and a loss of shape, structure and color are normal concerns as you get older. But not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Read-on for things that you can do to improve and protect your lips.
- Why are lips naturally red? Lips have the same layers as your facial skin, but do not have melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin). The outer layer of skin on lips is extremely thin; and between the lack of melanin and the thin outer layer, there is nothing to mask the red color of the blood vessels under the surface.
- The curve of the upper lip is known as “the cupid’s bow”.
- Lips don’t have sweat or oil glands to add moisture to the skin. So their only source of moisture is saliva, which is why your lips dry out easily.
- Lips get cancer too, and sun exposure is the main culprit.
- Just as with your skin, collagen and elastin are vital to the structure and shape of lips.
What Causes Lips to Thin and Lose Structure and Color Over Time?
Similarly to your facial skin, lips are impacted by your genetics; so you can look to your parents for an indicator of how your lips will change over time. As you age, your body produces less collagen, which means lips loose volume and structure, and the area around the lips can develop wrinkles and creases.
While genetics and a reduction of collagen are natural processes that affect the lips, there are some other environmental and lifestyle factors affecting them also:
- Exposure to UV Light – Lips have little-to-no melanin so they are susceptible to sun damage, making SPF protection critical.
- Exposure to Extreme Temperatures - Cold weather, licking your lips, or hot showers can zap the moisture out of your lips. Add to the fact that as you go through the years, your skin (and lips) can become drier, this leads to chapping, peeling and shrinking of the lips.
- Smoking (or continued puckering of the lips from things like drinking in a straw or chewing on lips) - Can create what is known as “smoker’s lines,” small vertical lines and creases all around your mouth.
- Teeth Degeneration – Your teeth are a critical part to the structure of your lips and surrounding skin. Your teeth can wear down over time, causing lips to sink inward.
Easy Ways to Get Full Healthy Lips:
- Wear a Lip Balm with SPF Everyday – It works as a base under your lipstick or alone, and is a great way to protect and moisturize.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink water and use lip balm. Lips absorb moisture very well and will “plump up” when hydrated, but letting them get too dry will cause them to shrink and chap.
- Eat a Diet High in Vitamin C – According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin C can help build collagen.
- Exfoliate Your Lips – At least once a week, using a light natural exfoliator.
- Apply Topical Lip Treatments – Look for treatments to use on the lip, or on the skin around the lip area, that are formulated with peptides or retinol to strengthen and tighten the skin.
- Maximize What You Have – Switch to a brighter or deeper lipstick color to emphasize your lips; apply lipstick or liner right to the edge of your lips to maximize volume.
- Use a Topical Plumper – These temporarily increase the volume of your lips, and can work right before that “special event”.
If you are interested in permanent and immediate improvements, talk to your dermatologist about injectable fillers. Some have been improved, making lips look softer and more natural.
Whatever you choose, take care of your lips; they’re an important part of your skincare regimen.