10 25 2016
So, why do so many women and men rely on conventional lip balms that don’t address the issues of aging? This guide will help you understand the science behind aging lips and provide six smart tips to keep your lips looking young.
Unfortunately your lips are not immune to the woes of aging. Much of the science behind aging skin applies equally to your lips. As you age and continually expose your lips to the elements, like sun and wind, your lips suffer. (Read more about how sun exposure ages your skin). They get drier, thinner, and lose their contour.
So, why do so many women and men rely on conventional lip balms that don’t address the issues of aging? This guide will help you understand the science behind aging lips and provide smart tips to keep your lips looking young.
Treat Lips Differently
The reason is simple: Lip skin is different from the skin on the rest of your face. It’s thinner, contains fewer melanocytes (pigment producing cells), and no sebaceous glands to provide lubrication.
Lips Need Lubrication
Lips don’t produce the lubricant (sebum) that protects the rest of our face. Without any natural protection, they become dry and chapped, especially in cold weather. Treatments that help retain moisture will keep your lips soft and supple.
The skin of the lips contains the three layers of skin that appear in the rest of skin—stratum corneum, epidermis, and dermis (which contains collagen for plumpness). For starters, the stratum corneum is much thinner on the lips than elsewhere. Unfortunately, as you age, the upper lip gets even thinner, flattens, and appears to fold over the teeth. Some call this aging phenomenon “disappearing upper lip.” Decreased collagen production is one of the main culprits behind the upper lip’s vanishing act. To enhance lip plumpness and contour, look for lip treatments that boost collagen production and increase epidermal water content.
Lip Ingredients Safe Enough to Eat
By virtue of their proximity to the mouth and frequency of application, you should be extremely careful about what you put on your lips. This means all ingredients should be safe to swallow. Here are some ingredients to avoid because they’re neither safe to ingest nor safe for the skin:
- Artificial fragrances & colors
- Alcohol because it dries out the skin
- Aloe butter because it can irritate lips
- Vaseline because at core it’s made from petroleum
- Parabens and phenoxyethanol because these preservatives tend to bioaccumulate and end up being stored in fatty tissue like breasts
- Synthetic sunscreens, like oxybenzone, because it accumulates in the body and has been cited as a cause of endocrine disruption
Lip Protection is Essential
When selecting a lip treatment, look for some of these ingredients on the label:
- Moisture sealants, like beeswax or candellila wax, that seal in moisture without irritating the skin
- Butters, like shea and cocoa, that soften skin and moisturize
- Humectants, like hyaluronic acid, that increase water content, help prevent cracked skin, and reduce skin irritation
- Essential fatty acids to protect against sun damage without drying or irritating skin
- Oils like jojoba oil that moisturize and provide added sun protection
- Antioxidants to protect against DNA damage
Lip Treatment Plus Lipstick
Lipsticks are makeup, not skin care. While they’re great for color, they typically don’t provide the protective, restorative, and nutritive benefits your lips really need.