As we get older, physical signs of having lived a good life (a.k.a. fine lines and wrinkles) can seem to pop up overnight—sneakily showing up in those curves surrounding your eyes, on the flat planes of your hands, in the grooves in your neck, and in those matching parentheses enclosing your mouth. In time, these areas will openly give our experiences away, highlighting blistering summers in the sun and revealing those (many) nights we went without moisturizer.
Lips, too, will expose years of bad habits and freewheeling ways, giving way to lines and wrinkles—even faster than their aforementioned counterparts. And when they do, it's time to explore antiaging lip treatments. "Because of its delicateness, lip skin shows signs of aging more quickly than other areas of skin," says dermatologist Jennifer Herrmann, MD.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Jennifer Herrmann is a board certified, fellowship-trained dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon as well as a lecturer with more than 20 peer-reviewed studies and book chapters.
Just as we attempt to control signs of aging by applying sunscreen, serum, and moisturizer to the rest of our bodies, it's time our lips get some love, too. First, Herrmann recommends developing and following a similar skincare regimen.
Proper Lip Care: A Game Plan
Antiaging lip treatments should be used often, Herrmann notes, although frequency depends on the product. "Those with reparative enzymes or SPF, for example, should be used once daily, or more, to help restore healthy DNA," she says. "Depending on the season, products with intense hydration may be needed multiple times throughout the day during winter but not at all in the summer," she adds. "Finally, products containing growth factors and antioxidants can be used once or twice daily, and those with mild retinol can be used up to three times per week."
Antiaging Lip Treatments and Lip Balms: Important Ingredients
According to Herrmann, the key ingredients in antiaging lip treatments are:
- Growth factors that stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis
- DNA repair enzymes that reverse DNA damage
- Retinoids that help turn over new skin cells
- Antioxidants that squelch damaging free radicals
- Hyaluronic acids that give maximum hydration
Find an antiaging lip balm or treatment that includes most, if not all, of these ingredients and incorporate it into your daily skincare plan. But when you first use it, "be patient," says Herrmann. "You should gradually see the texture and clarity of your pout improve." But if you've given topical lip treatments a good shot and still aren't seeing decent results, don't bite your lip at the thought of an in-office medical treatment, either.
When Topical Lip Treatments Don't Work
"While topical lip therapies are an essential part of good lip hygiene, in-office treatments can offer added benefits," she says. "Pigmentation, which often shows up on the upper lip, can be treated with light laser treatments, and fine lines can be targeted with fractionated resurfacing lasers. These induce collagen synthesis and can smooth vertical lip lines better than most injectable fillers."
While topical lip therapies are an essential part of good lip hygiene, in-office treatments can offer added benefits.
Until you're ready for that step, Herrmann shares the 9 best antiaging lip treatments she recommends for perfecting that pout. So, pucker up, buttercup!
Lip Serum With Retinol 8
Verso Skincare's Lip Serum contains Retinol 8, says Herrmann, which is "a stabilized vitamin-A complex that's gentler than most retinoids and helps boost collagen production while fading dark spots and fine lip lines."
Lip Balm With Hyaluronic Acid
While simple and inexpensive, Herrmann notes, CeraVe's Healing Lip Balm "hydrates lips with hyaluronic acid, protects from UV rays with SPF 30, guards against free-radical damage with vitamin E, and uses ceramides to help repair a cracked and chapped skin barrier."
Lip Protectant For Sensitive Skin
"This is another simple, protective option that includes a mineral-based SPF 30," she says. "It's ideal for those with sensitive skin."
Lip Serum With Exfoliating Sugar
"Dry or flaking skin makes lips look old," says Herrmann. "So using a product with sugar can help gently exfoliate lips and restore smoothness. This is a favorite because it's formulated with acmella flower extract, Kigelia africana fruit extract, and sugar, which each help smooth lips."
Lip Treatment With Phytoestrogen
"As we age, estrogen decreases and results in thinner skin," Herrmann says. "This balm has a unique phytoestrogen technology that works to counteract fine lines in, and aging of, a woman's lips."
Lipstick With SPF 30
"An awesome, natural choice to restore plumpness and add color," Herrmann says. "With built-in SPF 30, it protects but also soothes and softens lips."
Lip Therapy With Essential Oils and Peptides
"The antioxidants, essential oils, botanicals, and vitamins within this lip therapy help restore fullness and smoothness," adds Herrmann, "so it's perfect for dry winter lips."
Lip Repair With Antioxidants and Vitamin E
Counting the antioxidants vitamin E and silymarin among its active ingredients, "This product targets fine lines, sun damage, and dullness," Herrmann notes.
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Pinsky MA. Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-Aging Technology for the Treatment of Facial Wrinkles and Skin Moisturization. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017;10(12):27-35.