Lips are often left out of the anti-aging conversation. Yet it’s volume loss and lines around the mouth that are some of the earliest signs of aging. A number of key changes occur in lips with age. Most lips will lose their volume and definition over time, but lines and wrinkles are more commonly found in smokers, those with pale skin, and those with increased exposure to the sun.

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So if your current lip care routine just involves a swipe of lip balm whenever they’re feeling chapped, there’s definitely more you could be doing to make your lips look younger, fresher, and more plump.

Below, five characteristics of lips that may be showing their age, and the easy ways to help you turn back the clock.

Lips That Thin

A number of key changes occur in lips with age. Most prominently, lips will lose their volume and definition over time. As collagen production slows down, your once-voluminous lips can become thin and flat, which makes you look older and can throw off the natural balance of your face. Certain types of hyaluronic acid fillers can help you achieve more youthful-looking lips by providing precise shaping using small, smooth particles administered through a super-fine needle. The result? Naturally beautiful, plump lips that can seem more tailored to your facial proportions.

Not all lip fillers are done with the intention of creating bigger, Kylie Jenner-esque lips. With age, the border of the lip, the so-called white roll, loses its definition. It is common for lipstick to bleed from the red part of your lip onto your skin because you lost structure at the border. For these patients, all they need is to use a filler to restore the edge of the lip to recreate the volume and structure of this vermillion border. One word of warning: Over-treating the lip border can give you a duck-lips, but subtle treatments go a long way to define the lip from the skin surrounding the mouth.

The key is to find the right doctor who understands your concerns and communicate exactly what you want to achieve. If you are worried about getting lip fillers, my advice is to start with small amounts. You can always go back for a top up to get to your ideal shape and size.

Read More: Doctors Answer 8 Questions People Ask Before Lip Enhancement

The Unavoidable Lip Lines

Lip lines are one of the inevitable parts of aging, and sometimes they pop up even sooner than we expect thanks to daily activities like talking, smiling, eating and drinking. Those vertical wrinkles that form around our mouth not only give away our age, but they even make us look older than we are. To correct this, there are special fillers that can help to eliminate lip lines without adding volume to your lips. These hydration fillers are great for anyone who just wants lips that look smooth and hydrated. These fillers may not last as long as the fillers that shape or volumize the lips, but they will still give you good results for 4-6 months.

Another way to correct lines and wrinkles around your lips is to use a few drops of Botox to soften and relax the muscles around your mouth. There’s a small caveat though: You won’t be able to purse your lips as strongly and you may not be able to drink from a straw for a few months. So if you can’t quit your daily iced coffees, peels or lasers might be your better wrinkle-fighting option.

A quick zap of a laser or an in-office chemical peel can help treat fine lines and pigmentation around the lips that don’t seem to go away with topical treatments. The reason the lines develop is because muscles around the mouth constrict folding the overlying skin. In the office, lasers and peels can help improve skin tone and texture and minimize the appearance of lines. In addition to skin resurfacing lasers such as Fraxel, a chemical peel with alpha-hydroxy acids can also help correct the lines that surround your lips. A few sessions may yield optimum results.

Read More: Shapeshifting Is the New Anti-Aging Secret

 

Unwelcome Hair Growth

Changing hormones can also contribute to another telltale sign of aging: lip hair. Many women tend to see an increase in unwanted lip hair, particularly in the upper lip area around menopause. Luckily, there are a myriad of solutions to treat this, from depilatory creams to waxing. However from our experience, a more permanent solution using laser hair removal may give you better results in the long run.

Read More: How You May Be Sabotaging Your Own Skin

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Dryness and Flaking

Nothing screams youth like nourished, smooth lips, but weather conditions, from sun damage to the bitter cold, can cause them to dry, flake and crack. To avoid these environmental beauty blunders, moisturize your lips with products that feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, hydrating oils and antioxidants that hydrate. Finish with a lip balm that contains SPF, and for an added bonus, one with a colored tint for an extra pop.

Read More: Breast Milk May Whiten Skin

 

A Too-Dark Matte Lipstick

Something as simple as the wrong lipstick can add years to your face. A heavy, dark matte lip color emphasizes thinning lips and accentuates a lack of definition that is often associated with aging features. Instead, make your lips look more youthful by wearing a lighter, glossier hue that adds fullness and gives your lips a more naturally flattering finish.

Read More: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Facial

 

 

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