No matter the size shape and color of your lips there ways to maximize their aesthetics to your advantage. No matter what curves you’ve got going on elsewhere in the body, lips heighten sensuality and make others a bit more interested in what you have to say! It is for this reason keeping lips healthy, youthful and plump, bring value to our longevity socially, professionally and romantically…I say this is a good reason to invest in them, don’t you?
Factors contributing to aging lips are much of the same which contribute to our skin aging, sun, genetics, smoking, irritant exposure to name a few.Unprotected exposure to cold, dry weather, wind, chronic licking of lips, cold sores and other injuries can also cause chronic dehydration and damage, contributing to distortions such as wrinkling and volume loss. As we age, the perioral area (area around lips) also developes deep vertical wrinkles because of repetitive movements most often encouraged by smoking, drinking out of a straw, coffee mug or water bottle spout. The cumulative factors contributing to aging most often leave our lips rough, wrinkled, less defined and a bit less capable of showing off our favorite lip stick.
What to do? I propose a month dedicated to lips…Why not let it be February? Its an ideal month where love thrives and the cold, dry weather starts to give us a break. Dedicate February to lip rejuvenation and some professional lip pampering. After that, lets move on to protecting and maintaining your spruced up pout!!
So first for the Rejuvenating Part………..
Below I offer a 4 week treatment plan which requires you to partner up with your Dermatologist or Medical Aesthetic Practitioner. This month-long protocol is for both restoring age-related issues and uncovering natural beautiful attributes which may have been neglected in during the cold months.
Week 1 Objectives: Restore smoothness, remove dry skin and relax wrinkles
@ Professional: Glycolyic Peel, +/- Botox Perioral wrinkles (this optional and only if needed)
- Glycolic peels can be used in various concentrations to help prevent or treat lip and perioral rhytides (wrinkles or lines). Low concentrations can be used gently exfoliate dead skin cells and promote healthy cellular turn over to prevent wrinkling and aging skin problems. These can usually done without any skin preparation, with little downtime and virtually no risk of side effects. Higher concentrations can be used in the periorbital area, most often above the upper lips to help reduce the appearance of wrinkling and discolorations. A more aggressive treatment may require some planning and preparation with your Aesthetic Practitioner.
- Botulinum toxin can help relax the muscles around the mouth, softening and smoothing the appearance of the dynamic lines in the perioral area. Dynamic wrinkling refers to the lines which form as we move the lips in such a way to make them more apparent. Botox can also prevent those static lines that tend to get deeper with age as we repeatedly pout, whistle, suck (sorry no better word for this) or even drink from spouts. This can be a very valuable procedure for those who are smokers, as they most often have deep lines formed from years of smoking. As valuable as a procedure Botox maybe , beware as this requires a skilled injector and conservative doses of Botulin A toxin. Inappropriate or excessive doses can cause temporary impairment of natrual mouth gestures and even change your smile!.
@Home: Start using an intense hydrating lip treatment.
- Top Savantess Pick: Eminence Citrus Lip Balm treatment. Its organic and includes sunflower seed oil, shea butter and lemon balm. Sunflower oil is a great source of vitamins A, D and E, lemon balm a great vitamin C source as well as natural calming property and shea butter is an optimal moisturizer. This balm also incorporates natural sources of peptides which are ideal for healing, collagen production and even swell the lips a bit for an added volume effect.
Week 2 Objectives: Remodel lip structure and define lip border. Aim to strengthen and thicken perioral skin.
@Professional: Laser Non Ablative Fractionated resurfacing.
- Fractional Resurfacing refers to the fact that we are using lasers in a way to treat only a percentage of the skin surface in comparison to traditional lasers which cause damage to the entire skin surface.. Fractional lasers cause micro injuries of a specific depth (depending on the laser and setting), surrounded by unaffected tissue. This gives Fractional lasers advantage over traditional lasers in that they offer faster recovery, predictable results and low incidence of side effects. For some, ablative fractional lasers are more effective for the treatment of wrinkles and are preferred because they have the additional benefit of tightening. Ablative laser can do this because they actually remove the outer layer and stimulate more aggressive healing processes. It is for the same reason they are advantageous that they are not ideal for many. They are more likely disrupt melanocyte activity(pigment controlling cells located in upper skin layers), require more caution, preparation and downtime. It is for this reason, for the purpose of our month-long lip protocol, I strongly recommend a fractional non ablative laser. Fractional non ablative lasers can go deep, creating collagen remodeling and production, smoothing wrinkles and textural problems without concern of most side effects and downtime of the ablative lasers. Talk to your doctor to find out which laser is right for you. Although there are cases where a non-ablative laser would be of little help, for most, they stimulate healthier, smoother, stronger tissue, with less discolorations, more definition, and softer lips.
- Top Savantess Pick for Periorbital-Non Ablative Laser Rejuvenation: I have a long-standing relationship with the Fraxel 1550 nm laser. I love it! I will write much more about its benefits in future posts. Feel free to check out other non ablative fractional devices….there are a few great companies out there which have produced amazing lasers, one example of a reputable example is Palomar Lux 1540nm.
- For those getting ahead of themselves and want more dramatic results and resurfacing, a few suggestions for Ablative Fractional Devices. I will personally vouch for both the Lumenis Active Fx CO2 laser and Scitons Profactional Erb:Yag laser. I have experience with both and when diagnosed for the correct candidate and appropriately administered, give incredible results! There is also a Fraxel CO2 Ablative device called the Repair which gives sublime results.
@Home: Focus on repair and hydration.
- Try Caudale Reparative Antioxidant Lip Care, Burts Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil (0.15oz.) or La Roche Posay Ceralip Repair Cream. Antioxidants, shea butter and beeswax are ideal to assure protection, optimal healing and hydration to sensitive and irritates lips. These are also perfect treatments to keep on hand during the winter months when lips tend to get the driest and chapped.
Week 3: Stimulate Cellular Turnover, remove residual dead skin cells resulting post peeling and laser procedures.
@Professional : Microdermabrasion
- Microdermabrasion is a fast, easy way to stimulate cellular turnover, remove dead skin cells, lighten discolorations, smooth and soften wrinkles. It uses either tiny aluminum oxide crystals or a diamond tip piece to mechanically scrape away only the most superficial skin layer. It leaves a fresh skin layer, which can better absorb active ingredients and promotes healthier skin function overall.
@Home: Great week to get back on the Eminence product mentioned above or nourishing treatment as the one described below.
- Try Lierac Paris’ Coherece Levres Lip Plumping Serum. It nourish, smooths, hydrates and promotes collagen. With ingredients such as Collagen III accelerating vectors (6%), plumping peptides, hyaluronic acid and shea butter, it was destined to be your star lip product.
Week 4: Continue Remodeling Tissue structure. Strengthen and define lip, +/- work on restoring volume loss or plumping wrinkles with filler.
@ Professional: Repeat Fractional Laser Resurfacing treatment .Collagen or Hyaluronic Acid filler should be injected as needed for additional volume or wrinkle smoothing.
- Most experts agree that for defining the lip line, Retylane is a superior product. For giving lips volume try Juvederm Ulta XC and for filling in lines around the perioral area try Juvederm Ulta Plus XC. These are all hyaluronic acid products which are cross linked and dispersed in different ways to give different consistencies. Restylane is stiffer and helps make a nice defied lip while Juvederm Ultra is thinner and less clumpy and gives the lip a nice smooth and soft pout. In comparison, Juvederm Ulta Plus is thicker and lasts a bit longer to plump up wrinkles around the mouth.
- Keep on the look out for a new collagen product for lip enhancement Evolence Breeze awaiting FDA approval in the US. It has advantages over older brands in that it is causes less allergies and lasts longer (6 months vs 2-3) and also over the above HA products in that it causes virtually no swelling. It will help create a new niche for those seeking a lunch hour remedy for plumping and softening lips!
@Home: Another great week to focus on repairing and soothing skin. See week 2 @ Home recommendations.
Now for some maintenance tips and recommendations!
- Use the Right Lip Balm daily.Products with SPF plus ingredients such as beeswax, petroleum, coconut oil, jojoba, vitamin E and paraffin are best. These help lips retain moisture and protect from outside aggressors such as sun, wind, toxins and even citric foods. These are a few of the best I found incorporating Antioxidants and SPF: try Coola LipLux Organic SPF Lip Balm, , Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, Supergoop SPF Lip Balms or for those who want a bit of color try Kaplan MD Sheer Lip Balm.
- Exfoliate daily: I like to do this before I go to bed. Once dead skin is removed, you can better hydrate and absorb other healing ingredients. Also exfoliating regularly stimulates healthy cellular turnover and prevents wrinkles. The Lip Scrubby Sarah Happ Cocoa– helps remove stubborn skin for smooth soft and plump lips. You can also use an old tooth-brush to gently scrub of dry skin or make a homemade scrub with some sugar, a touch of lemon and honey!
- Keep harsh acne or wrinkle treatments away from lips. Also ingredients such as menthol, camphor, fragrances and silicone can irritate or remove moisture from lips, causing cracks.
- For a natural remedy for irritated lips apply almond oil, olive oil or vaseline prior to going to sleep. For sunburned lips apply a aloe vera product. Aloe vera naturally relieves inflammation, hydrates and repairs.
- Avoid licking lips. The enzymes in saliva are harsh for the sensitive nature of the skin on our lips. If they are dry, keep your favorite lip balm close.
- Matte lipsticks tend to dehydrate lips. If you do choose to continue using them, apply a nourishing balm first or alternate their application with a reparative lip treatment. I love matte lipsticks because they tend to last longer but use them only at night-time and usually avoid in the winter when my lips tend to be the driest.
- To enhance superficial circulation to the lips and create transient plumping, apply a bit of peppermint oil to the lips every few hours. Capsaicin is another ingredient extracted from hot peppers that acts similarly to plump lips. These ingredients are commonly found in lip plumping glosses. Again they are great for temporary plumping but beware of the glosses as they often dehydrate lips! I say use the peppermint oil and complement with your favorite hydrating cream based lip color!
- As for over-the-counter cures for sun damage and wrinkling, look for anti-aging treatments containing peptides (for healing and collagen stimulation), retinoids (for promoting cellular turnover and smoothing skin), vitamin C (for `protects skin against oxidation and stimulates collagen) and hyaluronic acid (hydration and plumping). These products should be specifically formulated for the areas around the mouth.
I hope you find my lip make-over plan helpful! I know for many of you, lasers, Botox and fillers may seem too aggressive or premature but I hope to try to integrate a few key ideas. Everyone can benefit from a peel, microdermabrasion or even Clear and Brilliant lip treatment. These treatments are ideal to combine with the maintenance tips when aiming to prevent signs of premature aging and to keep lips at their most plump and youthful state! xx