Kiss all those years away

A stunning smile, a sexy pout and sensual kisses all come from full, luscious lips. Think Marilyn Monroe, Goldie Hawn or Angelina Jolie. Soft, smooth and rosy lips can get anyone’s attention. So take good care of those beautiful lips or they may crack and “frown” earlier than you expect.


As with facial and body skin, time takes its toll on the lips. In fact, you may see signs of ageing on a person’s lips even sooner than on the skin of other parts of the body. Often unaware of this fact, we generously spend time and money on anti-ageing products for the face while totally ignoring one of the most important features of our faces _ our lips.

Do lips themselves age or is it deterioration of skin around the mouth that creates that impression?

Without a doubt, the area around the mouth is a dead giveaway, but our lips also get dull and dry with age. Even though they appear entirely different from the rest of the skin on our bodies their composition is actually quite similar. They are made up of three layers of skin: an outer covering called the stratum corneum, the epidermis, and the dermis. So, like the rest of our skin, the lips react in the same way to damage and they age at the same rate or, more often, even faster. The stratum corneum is thinner than regular facial skin so it’s got less protection against sunlight, stress, nicotine and unhealthy food. Nor do your lips have the advantage of inbuilt sebaceous glands to keep them moist. Their only source of moisture is your saliva and that’s why they can easily become dry and chapped.

I love the look of my pout and don’t want to lose it. How can I best prevent my lips ageing?

The trick is to keep them moisturised. One of the simplest, most effective and inexpensive anti-ageing products is lip balm. One with an SPF of 15 or more, applied several times a day, can slow the signs of ageing and also protect your lips from skin cancer. Rejuvenating home remedies such as honey and olive oil also work as lip nourishment. Applying lip balm before lipstick not only protects your lips from chemical damage but also helps them look full and “lipstick fresh” all day long. Remember never to use oxidant-rich lipsticks or other lip products or any products which have passed their expiry dates.

You can use a mild exfoliating agent to remove scaly, flaky areas on the lips and give them a smoother, more pink look, but this should only be done in moderation. If you overdo the exfoliation, you could irritate your lips and cause a reaction that’s not going to increase your attractiveness nor be good for kissing! Apart from avoiding the sun you should stay away from overcooked or deep-fried foods. Cut down on caffeine and nicotine and try to get more than six hours of sleep each night. You could also take herbal anti-ageing supplements.

What are the signs of ageing I should be watching out for?

Ageing of the lips and the skin around them probably has the greatest negative effect on one’s facial appearance because of the emotions the mouth conveys. While full lips can make a smile beautiful and a pout sensual, thin or wrinkled lips may convey entirely different messages.

Your lips need special attention when you begin to notice thinning, wrinkling and sagging in that area. The upper lip usually lengthens and sags, the corners droop and the Cupid’s bow _ that nice arc found in many people’s lips _ begins to flatten out. The lower lip undergoes a similar but less dramatic change; it loses its volume and your smile begins to resemble a frown.

When that happens, what cosmetic options could I consider?

Wrinkling in your lip area comes with age and dryness. It can be fixed by using a regular lip balm or by injecting fillers to moisturise the area. These fillers will help the lips look nice and plump but won’t enlarge them.

As we get older our lips naturally become thinner, sometimes so thin that one can barely see the pink part. This can be improved by injecting hyarulonic to increase the size and enhance the volume of lips.

Surgical methods include direct incisions and a lip lift. The former treatment involves precise cutting and removal of any extra tissue near the corners of the mouth to achieve tighter and firmer lips. In a lip lift, an ellipse of tissue is excised at the base of the nose to lift the central areas of the mouth.

Are there any safety issues I should be aware of?

The treatments I have mentioned above are relatively safe. The filling agents used in lip augmentation are naturally dissolved and absorbed by the body over time, so that is a reliable and satisfactory recourse to take. Allergic reactions may occur, but they are quite rare. Swelling may last a couple of days and any bruises should disappear within a few days.

Avoid permanent or semi-permanent lip fillers since the chance of lumps and bumps forming is relatively high. Also, for best results and to prevent unsightly “duck lips”, only seek treatment from qualified, experienced doctors.

If you’re a smoker, suffer from blood-clotting problems, are currently enduring an outbreak of cold sores, have lip scarring or diseases like diabetes and lupus, you should inform your doctor of the facts and discuss any possible complications with him or her before committing yourself to any procedure.