I got this article from a fellow Esthetician that she had posted from the International Dermal Institute. I don’t talk about the lips much so I thought this was interesting. It was written by Emma Hobson.
We often tend to neglect our lips when it comes to facial skin care, except of course for the occasional collagen injection for some. And yet our mouth and lips are so vitally important for an array of reasons, including the ability to make various facial expressions, speaking, and let’s not forget kissing!
Lips and the Aging Process
Without proper care, lips can age faster than other areas of our skin. Think of your lips as a sponge. “When exposed to moisture, they absorb water and plump up. When dehydrated, they dry out and shrink,” explains Bruce Bart, M.D., a dermatologist at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. Because our lips are always exposed, they’re prone to dehydration, particularly during the cold, dry, winter months.
A major culprit of premature aging around the mouth is smoking. Besides the damage caused by the toxins in the smoke itself, smokers are more likely to develop lines around the mouth because of the repeated use of the perioral muscles to hold the cigarette. Smoking increases the hits of aging free radicals by about a million per inhalation. Generally, heavy smokers age 10 years earlier than their non-smoking counterparts.
If that’s not enough, smoking decreases the secretion of oestrogen from the ovaries, and it also is thought to make the liver destroy oestrogen supplies (nicotine activates enzymes in the liver that metabolize sex hormones, speeding up the rate at which they are removed from the body), causing possible, early onset of menopause.
Our lips need more moisture and conditioning as we age. The cumulative damage to the lips and the skin resulting from years of overexposure to the sun, cold air and harsh weather pay their toll. The negative effects of the environment frequently result in the drying, chapping, and cracking of the mouth, and there’s increased risk of inflammation, infection and burning sensations. Greater care of your lips can reverse the signs of aging and trauma.
Is it Possible to Reduce the Effects of Environmental Damage and Aging on the Lips?
Using a lip care product with effective moisturizers and sunscreen (SPF 15+) can help reduce the effects of two of the main contributors to an aged appearance: sun damage and moisture loss. Since the lips have little or no melanin, they have little or no protection from the damaging effects of UV rays, which is why the lips can prematurely age as well as contract skin cancer.
Can you Exfoliate the Lips?
Yes, but be gentle and use mild exfoliants such as Rice Bran Powder. Never over-exfoliate – once per week max. Dr. Monte Meltzer, Chief of Dermatology at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore states “Some lip products contain salicylic acid, an ingredient of unproven safety when applied to lips. Lips are not hyperkeratotic skin, when salicylic acid is applied to the lips, it can erode through the outer stratum corneum to damage living skin layers beneath.”
How do Lip Plumpers/Primers Work?
There is an array of ingredients used for lip plumping; a common one is Red Chili. They work by causing localized skin irritation, whereby the lips become irritated and swell. But keep in mind that where there is inflammation, there is potential for accelerated aging.
Ingredients to look for:
- Vitamin E
- Cocoa Seed Butter
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Palmitoyl Oligopeptide
- Arginine/ Lysine Polypeptide
- Avocado Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
- Wheat Germ Oil
- Shea Butter
Ingredients to avoid:
- Artificial fragrance
- Isopropyl Esters (Myristate, Palmitate, Lanolate and Linoleate)
- Myristyl Lactate
- Sweet Almond Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Sesame Oil
- Lanolin Wax (Lanolin Acid)
- Red D&C Dyes
- Petrolem Jelly
- Baby Oil