Why are your lips thinning with age? And how to reverse the changes
Your lips are a focal point of your face. Full, plump, voluptuous lips are associated with youth and beauty, whilst thin lips tend to detract from your appearance and can even affect the overall balance of the face. We’re all familiar with the common signs of skin ageing – lines, wrinkles, skin laxity and loss of volume in the cheeks and under-eyes. But many people may not realise that your lips are prone to ageing, too, losing youthful volume as a result. So, what causes this volume loss, and what can you do to prevent and treat it? This is everything you need to know about maintaining a full, youthful pout at every age.
What causes thinning lips?
Lips thin for the same reason our skin sags and forms lines and wrinkles: collagen loss. Collagen literally holds us together – it makes up 30% of the body’s protein and 70% of the skin’s protein. The most significant cause of skin ageing is the loss of collagen. As our collagen levels decline, our skin’s structural integrity decreases, and our overall volume diminishes. Essentially, our lips deflate with time.
Can you prevent volume loss?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to stop the ageing process, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re not accelerating the ageing process. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your skin, so consider stopping if you do smoke. Protecting your lips from the sun is just as important as protecting the rest of your face and body. We know that UV rays are responsible for up to 90% of visible skin ageing, so use a broad-spectrum sunscreen containing a minimum SPF 30 daily. Also, avoid internal inflammation by managing stress and eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
Why you don’t need to be scared of filler
The most effective way to restore volume to the lips is of course, with dermal fillers. Unnatural-looking lip filler is down to two reasons: either the patient themself is topping it up too frequently or the practitioner is injecting too much dermal filler or of too dense a consistency. Technique is crucial as the anatomy of the lips is complex and requires a high level of expertise to get right.
Lip fillers need to be injected just below the skin, so they must have a fine enough consistency to be able to pass through either a needle or a cannula (a kind of blunt needle). Once injected, the fillers sit where they are placed beneath the skin/lip mucosa. The fillers attract water, which helps them hold their shape. Over the following weeks, the fillers integrate with your skin’s tissues and become part of your face.
Lip fillers don’t need to be feared. In the right hands, the results can be subtle yet impactful, and you should still look like you! So do your research, ask plenty of questions, and ensure you see a medically qualified practitioner who has a lot of experience treating this area of the face.
Filler-free ways of restoring volume to the lips
If you’re adamant that you don’t want fillers, you could try another type of injectable – a skin booster, to restore hydration and subtle volume to the lips. Juvéderm’s Volite is a thin, hydrating solution that gives the subtlest volume boost. It acts more like a hydrating skin booster than a thicker gel filler, which smooths out lines and gives a dewy plumpness to lips from within, making them appear naturally fuller.
Another option is the Botox lip flip, but this isn’t suitable for everyone. It works by giving a fuller-looking lip by relaxing the muscles that cause puckering and allowing other lip muscles to subtly ‘flip’ the lip outward for a fuller look. The effect lasts for three to four months and can be done with tiny amounts of Botulinum Toxin.
Do lip plumping devices work?
These first gained popularity on social media a few years ago as a needle-free way to get plumper lips, but hyaluronic acid pens and suction devices actually accelerate collagen breakdown, can be dangerous and won’t give long-term results.
If you’re concerned about thinning lips and would like to discuss the options, click here to find out more or to book a consultation.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.