Why looking after your lips is important…

Lips change as we age, especially during perimenopause and after menopause. This can feel distressing if you are coping with other physical and mental changes, but it is part of the natural ageing process.

Woman pouting lips

The ways lips change vary from one woman to another. It is caused by the decrease in oestrogen levels, along with long-term damage to the muscle and skin tissues.

People also lose collagen as they age, and this substance helps to keep your lips full and luscious. The muscles around your mouth and in your cheeks or jaw also become more lax, leading to drooping muscle tissue. You might also notice that dryness due to the loss of natural skin oils that occurs after you enter menopause.

How your lifestyle makes a difference

If you’ve ever had habits such as smoking or chronic frowning, then you’re more likely to experience changes. Smoking is especially bad because nicotine and other chemicals change the way your blood flows, along with constricting your body’s blood vessels.

Changes can also be genetic. If your parents have or had ageing lips in their 40s, then you’ll likely have the same problem. In addition, the sensitive skin on and around your mouth is frequently damaged from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, leading to a more aged appearance.

What do ageing lips look like?

You’ve probably already noticed some changes, like deeper lines and wrinkles around them. Other signs include age spots or discolouration, thinning, loss of colour, puckering appearance, fine lines in the tissue, and increased sun sensitivity. You may experience only some of these issues. These changes can happen abruptly but usually it’s a gradual progression that you just one day recognise.

How can you take care of your lips as you get older? 

The good news is that there are several things that you can do if it’s bothering you. Your mouth is a central feature of your face and you should feel confident and proud when you look in the mirror. Here are a few ideas for things to try.

Apply the right products.

Fortunately, there are a number of lipcare products so you can improve the way your face looks.

Make it a habit to exfoliate your lips once a week with an exfoliating product and a soft toothbrush. Make sure to use serums at night while you are sleeping. As lips are prone to sun sensitivity, be mindful about applying sunscreen to them before going outside.

When applying lipstick, stay away from heavy, oily types. While these thicker lipsticks work great on young lips, they have a habit of bleeding onto the skin when there are wrinkles and pucker lines. Opt for a non-drying lip stain instead, which will give you colour without accentuating lines.

To increase the volume of your lips you can also try collagen creams or lip masks which can plump up lips temporarily.

Try a cosmetic treatment.

Today, it is easier to have cosmetic treatments with fast procedures that often only require a few minutes to complete. Do your research and talk to your GP about your needs.

If you’re concerned about lip thinness, filler injections, where natural or synthetic material is injected into the lips plumping them up might be worth looking into. This procedure is popular as it is temporary (though can be maintained permanently) and can even be reversed immediately if you are unhappy with the results.

If thin lips are not your issue there are also treatments like lip peels for brightening or botox injections to get rid of fine lip lines and wrinkles.

Adopt some lifestyle changes.

In addition to beauty products and cosmetic treatments lifestyle changes can make a big difference in the appearance of your lips (and the rest of your body and life).

Stay out of the sun when you can and always wear sun protection on your lips. Avoid puckering as it is damaging to the tissue. Eat a nutritious and well-rounded diet. Include vitamins or dietary supplements if you find yourself needing a boost. Finally, watch our for frequent lip licking as it can dry out your lips greatly.

By using all of these techniques, you can feel more confident with younger-looking lips.

About Laura Chow

I'm a medical writer for Zwivel, an online resource for health, skincare and cosmetic surgery.