As we get older, our bodies change – no surprises there! One of the most visible changes in our bodies over time is our skin, which can sag and lose suppleness. Along with the development of fine lines or perioral wrinkles around the mouth, our lips also lose their volume over time.
Too few people think of their lips when they think of skin care when, really, they are one and the same. Caring for your lips, like any part of your skin, will help them to remain healthier and plumper.
Why do our lips thin?
“The number one cause of skin ageing is the loss of collagen; our skin’s structural integrity declines and our overall volume diminishes. Essentially, our lips deflate with time,” medical practitioner Robert Rountree, M.D., told MindBodyGreen(MBG). “Collagen literally holds us together – it makes up 30 per cent of the body’s protein and 70 per cent of the skin’s protein,”
Our bodies begin to lose collagen at a rate of 1 per cent each year, starting in our twenties. When we are young, our bodies produce more collagen than gets broken down. But over time this balance tips as tissue regeneration decreases.
There are other factors that can quicken the ageing process of our skin.
- Smoking: smoking can cause your lips to appear thinner and can cause ‘smoker’s lines’, the fine lines that can appear around your mouth. Dermatologist Gary Goldenburg told MBG, “Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to tissues. Therefore, tissue cannot regenerate and is more likely to become damaged and die.”
- Inflammation: oxidative stress caused by inflammation can damage skin cells, causing us to lose collagen.
- UV light: we’ve long known that sun damage is harmful to our skin and can speed up the appearance of wrinkles. One study has found that exposing collagen to UV light causes a significant decrease in collagen structure.
How to maintain lip fullness
While the process of collagen degeneration and changes in the skin and lips are a normal part of ageing, some people may want to minimise this effect.
Avoiding the factors mentioned above can significantly slow the ageing process of the skin by preventing damage. If you don’t already, incorporate SPF protection into your morning routine. There are many gentle moisturisers on the market that provide SPF protection. Remember to top up every four hours or as recommended on the label. Many people apply sunscreen to their face but forget to apply it to their lips. It’s also important to remember that your lips are vulnerable to sun damage just like the rest of your skin. Try using a lip balm that provides SPF protection.
Reducing inflammation may be difficult, as it has a large number of causes. Reducing stress, eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help. Some vitamins have also been shown to reduce inflammation.
If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your skin.
While we aren’t holding our breath for an ‘ageing cure all’ pill, there is a supplement that can help with collagen loss. Hydrolysed collagen peptides can help to support your cells’ fibroblasts that create collagen and elastin. These supplements have been shown to support hydration, elasticity and collagen density in the skin.
It’s simple, drinking water helps to thicken your dermal layer, meaning healthier and plumper skin and lips.
For all the time and care we give to our face, far too little love is given to our lips. Lip-nourishing treatments including balms, oils and masks can help to boost the health and appearance of your lips. Investing in a good lip treatment and incorporating it into your daily skin care routine can help to preserve the plump appearance of your lips.
The beauty and cosmetics industries are booming like never before. While this has downsides like unrealistic beauty standards, hyper-consumerism and cash-grabbing products, it has inspired a steep learning curve in lip plumping technology. The race to get the ‘Kylie Jenner look’ of large, full lips has meant that there is now a wide range of effective and safe lip plumping products. Some are combined with lip glosses, while others are designed to sit below other lip products. Most promise results in just a few minutes.
Do you find that your lips are thinning with age? How have you managed your skin care as you’ve become older?
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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.