Did you know that pouting could be adding years to your lip age? Our lips are one of the first places to show the signs of ageing and, while we’re often treating ourselves to the latest in skincare we often neglect our lips. ‘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, pouting, sipping through a straw, whistling and of course, smoking all contribute to ageing of the lips.’
What’s more, with our lips hidden behind a mask, we’re seeing even more problems than usual. ‘Masks are obviously vital at the moment but how we wear our masks and how we take care of our lips can help prevent problems such as dry lips and chapping from worsening and the development of certain complications such as fungal infections,” says Nina.
Ultimately, our 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,’ Nina 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 can 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 Nina. Dehydration from too much caffeine and not enough water can also have a huge impact.
6 TOP TIPS FOR ANTI-AGEING YOUR LIPS
Here are the top things you can do to take care of your lips and keep them looking younger:
INVEST IN A HYALURONIC ACID
“Hyaluronic acid is also known as hyaluronan. It is a clear substance that’s produced by your body, largely in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Unfortunately, as we get older levels tend to deplete which can lead to dullness and loss of elasticity along with fine lines and wrinkles appearing; especially on our face, neck and hands but also on our lips.
“You can apply hyaluronic acid to your skin in both the morning and evening. Use hyaluronic acid after cleansing and after your antioxidant serums in the morning – followed by an SPF – and then after cleansing and before a retinol in the evening. It’s important to not forget key areas too such as our lips. Applying hyaluronic acid to your lips can help them to look plumper and help reduce smoker’s lines around the mouth too.”
EXFOLIATE (MORE THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU SHOULD ALREADY)
Exfoliation isn’t just for every other part of your body. Lip-softening ingredients such as shea butter and natural oils leave lips looking smooth, and when paired with safe-for-lips exfoliators—sugar is a popular one—get to work even faster. ‘Unlike other parts of your body, your lips don’t produce oil to keep them moist which is why they sometimes get dry. Using a soft toothbrush to gently brush the lips can help to increase blood circulation and remove flakiness, making lips healthier and smoother. Make sure that you’re using a new and clean toothbrush though,’ warns Nina. ‘Avoid doing this if your lips are already cracked and be sure to do it very lightly and in a circular motion.
Nina warns that less is absolutely 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.’
Nina advises patients to tread carefully when choosing a practitioner though.
‘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.’
USE A BALM
‘The lips are such an important part of the face and yet they often get forgotten when it comes to skincare,’ ‘Use a balm with ultra hydrating ingredients like HA,’ says Nina. However, make sure that you read the ingredients carefully. ‘Certain lip balms only contain humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin—which draw water from the air. However, if there is no occlusive within your balm — like shea butter or squalene—the moisture will not be sealed in to protect the moisture barrier. As soon as the moisture evaporates, the lips will feel drier and appear dehydrated.”
TRY: Peptide Lip Therapy £24
DON’T FORGET SPF
When 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 Nina.
STAY OUT OF THE COLD
Extreme temperatures such as heat or cold can really damage lips. This isn’t surprising: the skin in this area is some of the thinnest on the body, and lips have few oil glands to keep them moisturised. Cold weather can provoke a local inflammatory response on the lips which promotes moisture loss and leads to cell damage. The result is lips that look scaly and chapped. ‘One of the best ways to prevent this is by creating a barrier between your lips and the elements – either an emollient topical cream designed for lips, or even a scarf or snood,’ says Nina.