Lets Start From The Beginning…
Lips are great for smiling, kissing, talking and eating, plus so much more, but do we care for them enough? They are often an afterthought in our skin care regime. Realising why the skin on our lips is so special highlights why caring for them is so important. It is far easier to avoid lip damage than it is to heal them later in life, so make lip care a part of daily life. Lips age just like the rest of our body. As we age, they do; becoming thinner, less defined, more prone to dryness and forming “smokers’ lines” above them – even if we’ve never smoked!!
The skin on our lips is made up of three separate layers: the stratum corneum, the epidermis and the dermis. The top layer, the stratum corneum, protects the middle epidermis and lower dermis layers from the harsh environment around us. On our lips, this layer is very thin – when healthy, this can make them feel soft, just like we want them! Our lips also don’t have the sebaceous glands and hair follicles that provide the protective moisture to our skin and hair. This leaves our lips more easily damaged and more easily dehydrated by the environment with few ways to restore the moisture balance. Our natural tendency is to then lick our lips. Yet saliva contains digestive enzymes that feel moist while wet, but once dry, leave our skin more damaged than before – locking us into an ongoing cycle of dry lips, quickly becoming chapped and even more dry. We’ve all experienced that, haven’t we?
As we age naturally, our face changes. We know this, however it is all the other changes that cause our lips to take the downturn (making us always look unhappy), that make our lips thin and contribute to the yucky smoker’s lines. After menopause, our skin is drier and so are our lips.
How To Care For Our Lips
Use the best quality facial products you can to slow the rate your whole face is ageing and let the products cover your lips. Antioxidants and creams will help your lips as much as your face, neck and décolletage. Cleansers and exfoliants will help stimulate and lift dry, rough skin when you are chaffed. Here’s some more tips:
- Just like your face, your lips will experience seasonal dryness, so be prepared to change your products, including your lipstick type. Check out Meagan’s tips below.
- Apply nightly lip balms – after your kissing has finished! Balms based on Shea butter and nut butters are the most effective, such as Aspect Hydrating Lip Balm, PCA Skin Peptide Lip Therapy and CosMedix Rescue+ Balm. And if you are using an eye cream – whatever is left on your fingers after application, put on your lips!
- Always apply SPF to your lips. Just ensuring whichever SPF you apply to your face goes onto your lips is fine. Ideally though, use a lip-specific SPF, such as Colorescience Lip Shine with SPF 35 – simply apply over your lipstick.
- Keep hydrated and eat a colourful, healthy diet. Supplementing with superfoods will help to keep all of you young, not just your lips.
- Use the Wrinkles Schminkles Mouth Renewal Pack overnight
- Consider the added hydration a Dermafrac can provide to instantly plump the lips, without fillers or botox
- Discuss having fillers in your lips to give them more fullness and definition or Botox in your smokers lines to smooth them out. Having these two treatments together, performed by experienced hands, can give tremendous results. You will get the best results and the most long-lasting if you are also on a great home skin care regime.
- STOP SMOKING!
Lip Wrinkles – Looking at the Cause
Lines above our lips – lip wrinkles – occur slowly over time and are best treated early to avoid long term permanent damage to the lip area. While aptly named “smoker’s lines,” they are not just caused by smoking, although smokers are likely to see them sooner and have deeper wrinkles that are much harder to treat. Lip wrinkles are caused by the same action as other wrinkles in our skin: repetitive movements breaking collagen and elastin fibres. These movements weaken the skin’s ability to maintain its shape and results in wrinkles where we most commonly stretch our skin. Unfortunately, we need to use our lips constantly, so unless you smoke, are constantly kissing, pouting or drinking from straws there is not a lot you can do to stop them besides staying healthy and using great general skin care.
Pigmentation and Age Spots
Our lips don’t contain melanocytes to protect us from UV damage, thus we get ugly age spots and pigmentation later in life. So, including sun protection in our lip care is vital from early in life.
Lipstick Tips to Keep Lips Looking Younger!
Choosing the right type of lip products, moisturisers and even colours can make a great deal of difference to the overall look of your face and your age. Lip wrinkles and dry, chapped lips however, can make using lipsticks a trial. Consider the advice below from Meagan, our talented makeup artist!
- Always ensure your lips are hydrated with a lip balm and surrounding areas with a moisturiser. Our natural go-to is Aspect Hydrating Lip Balm of course and we recommend CosMedix Rescue+ for the skin around our lips when we are feeling really dry.
- Consider the colours you choose. Bright colours will make your lips stand out, which can be fun and quickly transform an outfit, but it can mean your lip wrinkles will stand out also. Consider using nude and soft, natural shades to enhance your own natural lip colour where possible; from nudes to rose and coral tones to give a more natural “glow.”
- Consider which types of lipstick you are using. Lipstick comes in matte, semi matte and shine with a sheer to full coverage. It is used to enhance our own lip colour, add vibrancy with a new, brighter colour or to lighten or deepen our lip pigment. Lipsticks almost always have added vitamin E, butters or oils to help nourish your lips. Remember – your lips are not naturally creating this moisture themselves!
- While matte lipsticks hold their colour well, the more matte your lipstick, the less moisture it has. Consider instead using a lip liner all over your lip first to create the lip shape and help your lipstick adhere longer. Lining the lip will also stop lipstick bleeding into fine lines and wrinkles and lip liner contains less moisture for better adhesion anyway. Use lip liner in a light shade if trying to achieve a lighter than natural colour. Adding concealer beforehand will only dry out the lips.
- Follow this up with a semi-gloss to gloss lipstick. Gloss in lipsticks varies from medium to high shine. They sometimes have ingredients like vitamin E, but are usually used to enhance shape, add volume, change colour or add vibrancy to lipstick. While they can have more of a sticky/tacky finish, they do have a higher moisture content, which our lips love in the long term.
- To create fuller lips, use a lip gloss on the centre of the lips only to make lips appear fuller (with or without lipstick). This is a great way to quickly revitalise the appearance of our lips and can be done in a neutral to clear shade as well as colour. The Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35 will both give you the appearance of fuller lips and provide sun protection.
Remember – keeping your lips hydrated is the key and you do this by caring for your body, your remaining skin and not forgetting what should be one of the most stunning parts of your face – your lips!
Still not sure?
If you need more help or would like personalised advice on what skincare products are best for you, book now for your consultation with a skin care advisor:
Or fill in the Online Skin Consultation and Gaye, our registered nurse, will happily help you to choose the right treatments and products for your skin type or concern.