Lips are strange things, they’re unlike any other skin on your body and can decide to crack, split, bleed and peel on their own accord. Lips require constant care and attention. For this guide, we’ve enlisted the experts to tell us the best ways to keep them in tip-top condition.
A few days ago, I was watching a documentary on the TV, and I am sure I heard them say that the average person is estimated to take 25,000 selfies in their lifetime! I find that hard to believe, my own husband was paid to strut his stuff on Europe’s catwalks and he’s probably taken less than ten in the past couple of years! Surely, they must’ve been referring to us women!
Nonetheless, if you are taking a lot of selfies, you’ll need to ensure your lips look as good as possible. Imagine pouting away with dry, cracked lips! Then again, from what I understand, pouting isn’t something you should be doing anyway.
This and drinking through a straw can apparently add years to your lip age! There are actually quite a few things that can artificially age your lips, and we’ll be highlighting some of them a little later in this guide.
Our lips are one of the first places to show signs of ageing and while we’re frequently treating ourselves to the latest in high-end skincare products, more often than not forget about the lips. To help all you people out there licking their lips to keep them moist and picking away at dry skin; we’ve gotten some of the UK’s leading cosmetic doctors and skincare experts to share their top tips on how to take years off your lip age.
Dehydration, inflammation, exposure to environmental stressors such as UV rays and pollution, constant stress and strain on the lip area from chewing, smiling, talking, puckering, whistling and of course, smoking all contribute to ageing of the lips.
But ultimately, your lips begin to thin for the same reason your skin begins to sag with time: a natural decline in collagen.
“Younger lips are full because young skin contains plenty of collagen and natural-occurring hyaluronic acid. This keeps your lips moist and plump from the inside out,” cosmetic doctor, Dr Rekha Tailor explains.
But there’s another shocking reason which can give a dramatic change to the age of your lips. “Younger people actually have larger teeth,” she says. “This helps to support the lips.”
Genetics too play a huge role in determining the size and plumpness of a person’s lips. If your lips are naturally smaller, you may notice a change in their size as your own natural collagen production starts to slow down in your late twenties.
Lifestyle factors too can be to blame for what seems like “premature” lip thinning.
“Smoker’s lines can actually appear even if you’ve never smoked – due to pouting, chewing the inside of your lip and regularly drinking out of straws which in turn breaks down the natural collagen in the lips,” explains Dr Tailor.
Dehydration from too much caffeine and not enough water can also have a huge impact.
But while it seems there is an abundance of things that can add years on to our lips, there are also a plethora of treatments that have hundreds of patients puckering up for them.
A quick zap of a laser can help treat the fine lines and pigmentation around the lips that don’t seem to go away with topical treatments.
“Lasers can improve skin tone and texture and minimise the appearance of lines,” explains cosmetic doctor, Dr Rory Boud.
For deeper wrinkles like smokers lines, Dr Boud suggests Cool Laser from Novus Medical. “Laser skin resurfacing with Cool Laser helps to dramatically rejuvenate the skin and in turn radically improves aged, sun-damaged and scarred skin with a matrix of laser light.”
Dermapen creates tiny injuries to the skin around the lips and therefore stimulates collagen and elastin production. The benefit, says Dr Rekha Tailor, is that “there’s less downtime than a laser or a peel, and they’re not pigment sensitive.”
One piece of advice warns Dr Tailor: All practitioners of Ultherapy are not equal. “Don’t do Ultherapy on an Instagram ad deal,” Dr Tailor says. Ultherapy is the gold standard when it comes to non-invasive lifts, and other HiFu devices don’t have the DeepSee technology which allows the Therapist to see the varying layers of the skin.
“Without this visualisation tool, you do not know if you are hitting fat, bone or other delicate areas. If you hit fat with Ultrasound, you can destroy the fat leading to further volume loss, and if you do not use the applicator correctly, you can burn the patient.”
You must only see a verified Ultherapy doctor who can be found here.
If the skin around the lips is starting to sag and lose elasticity, this ‘resets the clock’ according to cosmetic surgeon Angelica Kavouni. “Treatments like Thermage FLX rely on radiofrequency to increase collagen in this area which in turn causes the skin to tighten, plump and lift itself back.”
COST: from £150
If you decide to go down the filler route, Dr Rekha Tailor says less is more. And not all lip fillers are done with the intention of creating bigger, Kylie Jenner-esque lips. “With age, the border of the lip loses its definition – which we often see when lipstick starts to bleed into the skin because of the loss of structure.
“This is best treated with a filler to restore volume and structure around the mouth. Over-treating the lip border can give you duck-lips, but subtle treatments go a long way to define the lip from the skin surrounding the mouth.
“Technique is especially important when I treat my younger patients in their 30s. Our goal should be to give you your 18-year-old lips back, not make you look like a trout.”
Dr Tailor advises patients to tread carefully when choosing a practitioner and ensure they only use FDA approved products as they are proven to be both safe and effective and tests are much more stringent than the normal CE mark used in the UK.
“There are a huge number of under-qualified practitioners offering lip injections at the moment, and this can come with a number of risks. Please do your research before choosing a practitioner as going to someone who isn’t fully trained as having lip injections from an under-qualified practitioner can result in skin necrosis and even blindness.”
COST: £400 per ml
And if the above sounds a little frightening, you can ask for an express Perk treatment. This is a great lip revitalising treatment that is great before a night out to leave you with smooth lips which are moisturised and ready to pout.
Lip Peptide Therapy
“The lips are such an important part of the face, and yet they often get forgotten when it comes to skincare,” says cosmetic doctor, Dr Paris Acharya. “For those wanting to enhance their natural lips, I often suggest using hyaluronic acid lip booster serum from PCA Skin. It contains advanced peptides, hyaluronic acid and hydrators, which instantly plump, soften and moisturise the lips while reducing the appearance of lip lines.”
If you’re smearing on sunscreen, get close to your lip line and use a chapstick or lipstick with at least an SPF 30. “Just as you would treat skin in other areas, the skin around the mouth should be protected every morning with sunscreen and topical antioxidants to prevent damage from daily UV light,” says Dr.Rekha Tailor.
“Exfoliating with a lip scrub can help to keep your lips soft and smooth and whilst applying a rich moisturising balm can help to rejuvenate them, it’s important to gently buff away dead skin cells which will help to improve their texture and appearance,” says Sue Buck, Founder of Live in the Light – a natural and organic lifestyle store.
“You can also use a soft toothbrush (kept specially for the purpose) to help apply your lip scrub, but ensure you’re using a product that also includes moisturising ingredients so that it does its job gently and avoid using anything other than a moisturising balm if your lips are dry and peeling, sunburned or cracked,” she adds.
Read more beauty guides and related articles in our dedicated section here.