It’s an undeniable truth that lips change with age. This can manifest as a gradual shriveling, a disappearing lip line, or sagginess within a once-perky pout. Perhaps the most noticeable effect, though, are vertical lines (you know, the ones that give you that dry, cracked appearance).
If your pout seems to be getting less plump-looking and more line-laden over the years, you’re probably not imagining it. According to Medical Director of Contempo AestheticsTM, Dr. Rachel Reyes-Bergano, those crack-like lines on the lip are called rhytides, and they often come with age. Here’s how: “Our lips contain natural hyaluronic acid, a sugar molecule that gives smoothness and plumpness to skin and lips,” Reyes-Bergano says. “As we age, we progressively start to lose our own native hyaluronic acid from our lips.” This volume loss can rob lips of their plumpness, which ultimately causes those dreaded lip lines.
While you can’t prevent the years from passing, you can slow down lip volume loss in a few ways, says Reyes-Bergano. “Sun damage and smoking are two factors that can negatively impact the lines,” she says. “Lack of hydration also causes the lines to look prominent.” So: Slather on SPF-infused lip balm, skip the cigarettes, and keep tabs on your water bottle.
Whatever their cause, rhytides are a common concern among many of Reyes-Bergano’s patients. “People often say, ‘I swear my lips used to look fuller 10 years ago.’” For patients looking for a plumper pout, Reyes-Bergano will often recommend injectable lip filler — which can temporarily restore age-related volume loss. “Adding volume by using a filler in the lip body itself will [reduce the appearance of lines],” Reyes-Bergano explains. Click here to read about the 4 things you need to know about lip filler before you try it.)
[Editor’s note: Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a doctor to see if it’s right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists now. ]
Does not imply person featured in the photograph had lip filler.
Another, albeit less effective, option for making those fine lines look more plump lies in over-the-counter topical ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid lip serums (try SkinMedica® HA⁵® Smooth and Plump Lip System, $68). These types of formulas contain the water-rich molecules, and can soften the appearance of lip lines by temporarily imparting a plumping effect. As Dr. David Shafer previously told SpotlyteTM, “If you put hyaluronic acid superficially on the lips, you address the moisture and smoothness of the lips.”
Allergan® may receive commission for purchases made through links in this article.
Dr. Rachel Reyes-Bergano is a paid Allergan consultant.
SkinMedica® is an Allergan-owned skincare line.