Lip lines, or lip wrinkles, are a natural part of the ageing process. Lip wrinkles, appearing as fine vertical lines, are infamous for being hard to conceal. In a conversation with the team of OnlyMyHealth, Dr Anupam Golash, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Calcutta Medical Research Institute, explained, “These lip lines are caused due to the hyperactivity of lip muscles. Several lifestyle factors can accelerate or initiate the process of fine lines forming on the lips.”
What Causes These Unwanted Lip Lines?
A study by Journal of epidemiology on ‘Lifestyle Factors and Visible Skin Aging’ proved that changes in modifiable lifestyle factors, such as smoking and sunscreen use can maintain good skin conditions. Dr Golash shed light on the following lifestyle factors which influence the formation of lip lines:
- Sun Exposure: The skin around the lips is thin and sensitive, making it particularly susceptible to sun damage. Prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays speeds up the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin around the lips.
- Smoking: Smoking causes premature ageing. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage collagen and elastin fibres, especially around the lips.
- Dehydration: Dehydrated lips can crack and cause wounds, and hence are more prone to developing lines and wrinkles,
- Poor Daily Routine: Poor diet, lack of sleep, and excessive alcohol consumption also contribute to skin ageing and the subsequent development of lip lines.
- Environmental Factors: Pollutants and toxins cause oxidative stress and contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin.
- Harsh Skincare Products: Harsh or drying skincare products can damage the skin's protective barrier and form lip lines.
Treatment for Lip Lines
Precaution is always better than cure. That is why preventive measures through a combination of skincare, lifestyle changes, and healthy habits must be practised to delay or minimise existing lip lines. However, since awareness of certain beauty specifications often sets in when it's too late, specific cosmetic and surgical procedures can also help diminish lip lines to give a more youthful appearance.
Lip wrinkles can not be prevented entirely. However, a diligent self-care routine that involves the following steps can add years of youth to your perfect smile:
- Hydration: Dehydration can accentuate fine lines on the lips. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Moisturise: Make sure your lips are moisturised throughout the day. Apply a hydrating lip balm or lip moisturiser that contains ingredients, such as shea butter, jojoba oil, or coconut oil.
- Sun Protection: Wear a lip balm with SPF when exposed to the sun.
- Avoid Overexposure to Harsh Weather: Extreme weather conditions, such as cold winds or dry air, can dry the lips and contribute to lip lines.
- Exfoliate Gently: Regularly exfoliate your lips gently, using a soft toothbrush or a lip scrub, to remove dead skin cells and promote fresh cell growth.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking is the worst thing you can do to your skin. If you smoke, consider seeking support to quit, as it can benefit both your skin and overall health.
- Be Gentle with Your Lips: Avoid excessive lip pursing or licking. Be gentle when removing makeup around the lip area, and choose a mild makeup remover.
Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures
Preventive measures can slow down the natural process of lip wrinkles only to a certain extent. The following methods can help you get a smoother smile that can not be achieved with a healthy lifestyle alone:
- Botox and Fillers: Dr Golash recommended that fillers administered through injections can smooth out lip lines. The other option he suggested was Botox injections. “Lip lines are caused due to hyperactivity of lip muscles. Botox can weaken these muscles, resulting in the disappearance of lip wrinkles.” However, Dr Golash elucidated that botox and fillers are temporary. He said, “Botox works for six months, and fillers work for about nine to twelve months.”
- Laser Resurfacing: Another method is laser leisure or laser resurfacing, informed Dr Golash. This method uses a laser ray to shrink the collagen in the lips, removing lip wrinkles.
Lifestyle measures are a lifelong commitment and might only be feasible for a few people. Options such as botox and fillers can offer a quick respite but are only temporary.
Dr Golash suggested that certain surgeries like derm abrasions or skin tightening surgeries can be availed for a comparatively long-term and quick solution. However, he advised that these surgeries should be discussed with a credible plastic surgeon, as a surgical route is always riskier and needs to be specialised per individual needs.
Get Rid of Lip Lines
While lip lines are a natural part of the ageing process, consistent preventative care can help minimise their appearance and keep your lips healthy and youthful. Remember, if you choose to opt for non-surgical or surgical cosmetic procedures, consult your healthcare provider first, as these procedures are expensive and can permanently damage your lips if not performed by a licensed expert.