When it comes to our lips, many women think fuller means better, especially if they aren’t blessed with naturally plump lips. Although genetics play a major role, more controllable factors like aging, smoking and sun exposure can have a huge impact on how much collagen remains in our lips as we age. If you wish your lips were more pronounced, there are now more ways than ever to get the look you’ve always wanted.
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If the problem is due to genetics, try an illuminating lip gloss.
“Genetics is what you start with as far as lip shape, size and contour,” explains Greenwich, CT dermatologist Mitchell Ross, MD. While many plumping lip glosses use ingredients like cinnamon, menthol or capsaicin (found in peppers) to temporarily swell the lips, the irritation can be bothersome, especially for those with sensitive skin. Instead of swiping on a gloss that stings, try a light-reflecting one like Clé de Peau Beauté Radiant Lip Gloss ($38), which helps boost volume with natural oils that create an illusion of fuller lips.
If the problem is the result of sun damage, use a hydrating serum.
“A large part of the reason for thinning lips is due to external elements we are exposed to, which can degrade collagen. For the lips, one important factor under your control is sun exposure,” says Dr. Ross. UV rays break down collagen in the lips, and prolonged exposure to the sun or extreme weather can leave them dry, thin and wrinkled. Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Fix ($23) lip serum stick is rich in peptides and sodium hyaluronate that nourish lips so they feel softer and look youthfully plump.
If the problem is lip lines, try a wrinkle-smoothing lip mask.
Smoking does nothing good for your body, and the damage it can cause to your lips is serious, too. Not only can it make them appear thinner, but smokers’ lines can also form. But even if you’ve never smoked a single cigarette, puckering your lips and drinking out of straws can also break down collagen, making your lips appear less defined. Treating them with a mask like Starskin Dreamkiss Plumping and Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Lip Mask ($10) can temporarily plump thin lips and smooth out lip lines on and around your mouth.
If the problem is due to aging, light therapy can help amp up your lips.
Aging inevitably affects your lips, and Miami dermatologist Dr. Janice Lima Maribona says it’s not just a loss of collagen that’s to blame. “Bone erosion that occurs with age can make the space above the center of the upper lip lengthen, causing the upper lip to fall and not look as perky.” To give your lips support, a three-minute daily session of reVive Light Therapy Lip Care ($99) works to stimulate natural collagen production via infrared LED lights that increase circulation to the skin around your lips for a more youthful look.
If the problem is a depletion of collagen, restore volume with fillers.
“The most popular treatment for achieving fuller lips is hyaluronic acid fillers,” says Dr. Maribona. Injecting thin lips not only instantaneously makes them larger, but also helps encourage collagen to be made, which helps keep skin supple. “Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that delivers nutrients to the skin, helping retain moisture and softness, and adding volume where needed,” adds Dr. Ross. “I used Juvéderm Volbella [pictured here] on this patient to add subtle volume to her lips and smooth out the look of vertical lines.”
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