Besides your eyes, your lips are the main attraction of your face. It’s what people focus on when you’re talking, and it’s what you use to express emotion and communicate what’s on your mind. So, it’s no surprise that you’ve become self-conscious when the natural process of aging starts to take its toll on your face with new wrinkles, sagging skin and thinning lips. Don’t lose heart though. There are a variety of things you can do to help plump up your lips, from using healthy habits to nonsurgical and surgical cosmetic treatments.
The main structural protein in your body is collagen. It is responsible for the elasticity of your skin, giving it strength and volume. As you age, your body’s production of collagen starts to slow down, which leads to sagging and reduction of volume in areas of your face, like your cheeks and your lips. Hyaluronic acid production also slows down. Hyaluronic acid helps maintain moisture in the skin and is another component in the volume of your facial features. The diminishment of collagen and hyaluronic acid production starts in your late 20’s. So, if you already have thinner lips, you might start noticing a loss of volume in your late 20’s and early 30’s.
It should come as no surprise that dry and wrinkled skin on your lips makes them look thinner. One simple way to plump up your lips is to hydrate -- think about your entire body as well as targeting your lips. Make sure you are drinking enough throughout the day, drinking before you feel thirsty and eating moisture-rich foods. Exposure to the sun and to cold, dry weather can dry out your lips. So, help preserve the moisture in your lips by wearing protective lip balm with an SPF. Lip ointments and oils tend to work better than waxy stick balms to hydrate the surface of the skin. Look for lip moisturizing products with hyaluronic acid and collagen, which can help temporarily replenish what your body has been losing. Also, apply lip moisturizers to your lips at night so you wake up with well-hydrated lips. You can also exfoliate your lips with a product like a sugar scrub to remove dead skin and leave smoother, fresher skin.
Lines and wrinkles around your lips can make them look smaller and older. The less you pucker your mouth, the less likely it is to develop lines around your lips. Stay away from straws, cigarettes, and things that cause anxiety. Stress can cause you to pucker your mouth, bite the inside of your mouth, or pick at the skin around your mouth, leading to more wrinkles and lines.
There are some make-up tricks you can use to help your lips look fuller. Some lip products contain ingredients (such as menthol or cinnamon oil) that slightly irritate the lips, bringing greater blood flow to plump the lips. These products create a mild stinging sensation that signals they are doing their appointed job. You can also use a lip liner to outline your natural lip edges and then fill in your lips. Then, apply a matte lipstick over the lip liner, with a darker lipstick on the outer parts of your lips and a lighter shade on the inner lips. Finish with a gloss in the middle of your bottom lip for a fuller, finished look.
Dermal fillers have become a popular way to boost volume, erase fine lines and wrinkles and smooth out skin. These lip injections are a non-invasive way to replace the collagen and fat that your face loses as you age. Most fillers are now hyaluronic acid fillers that work by binding themselves to water molecules in the skin. While they won’t last forever, fillers can effectively replace lost volume for 6-18 months before your body naturally absorbs them. They can also be thinned or thickened depending on the look you are hoping to achieve. Juvederm and Restylane are among the most popular hyaluronic dermal fillers, with Vollure and Volbella also recommended for volumizing lips. Your dermatologist can discuss other types of fillers with you, such as those that use Poly-L-lactic acid or fat from your own body.
If you aren’t getting the results you want from lip therapies, lip products or dermal fillers, you can consider surgery. A lip lift helps bring up the top part of your upper lip toward your nose, making your lip look fuller. There are different types of lift lips, each of which involves small incisions at various parts of the face, such as the nostrils or the corners of the mouth. Your surgeon can discuss whether you’re a good candidate for lip surgery and which type of lip lift will give you the look you desire.
Call Vanguard Dermatology today to schedule an appointment with one of the board-certified dermatologists. Located in the greater New York City area, Vanguard offers a broad range of dermatological treatments including care for skin issues like acne and skin cancer as well as a variety of cosmetic dermatology services.