Like your complexion, lips require maintenance to look their best. “Your mouth is constantly exposed to food, drinks, sunlight, makeup, and often drying oral-hygiene products,” says David H. McDaniel, a dermatologist in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “These elements, combined with your mouth’s thin skin, lack of oil glands, little to no melanin, plus frequent facial movement, can have an aging effect on the lips over time.” Here, how to treat the issues that can plague lips.
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Since they lack oil glands, lips are prone to dryness. To keep them hydrated, apply a balm containing a heavy-duty hydrator, like petrolatum, glycerin, or shea butter. Try Korres Natural Products Lip Butter in Guava. A little under lipstick makes color go on evenly.
If your lips get flaky, use a gentle exfoliator twice a week, says Francesca Fusco, a New York City dermatologist. Massage cinnamon-sugar-flavored The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ onto lips, then wipe off with a tissue.
Habits like drinking from bottles, pursing your lips, and smoking can blur lips’ edges and etch small vertical lines into the skin above and below them. “As these deepen, lipstick may bleed into the crevices,” says McDaniel. Combat this loss of definition by using a retinol-based product around your lips. And keep lip color in place by tracing your lips’ outline with Make Up For Ever Concealer Pencil before applying color. (It looks more modern than lip liner.)
As you get older, you lose the fat and natural proteins that keep lips full. “After age 40, the lips start to become increasingly thin and flat, especially in the middle,” says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, a dermatologist in Danville, California. Plumping products that contain moisture-attracting ingredients can temporarily make lips appear fuller. LipFusion XL gives temporary fullness with hyaluronic acid (and doesn’t sting like other plumpers).
The skin around the lips, called the perioral region, is the first to show signs of aging. Movement of muscles in the face when you talk, smile, and laugh weaken collagen, resulting in creases. To minimize this process, use a pea-size drop of retinol cream nightly on the area (don’t quit smiling and laughing). If your skin is sensitive, apply every other night. Try Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Smooth Upper Lip & Perioral Anti-Aging Treatment.