What are Lip Lines and How to Get Rid of Them?


You may have noticed some small vertical lines appearing around your lips that don’t seem to go away, these are lip lines. Also known as lip stick lines or smoker’s lines, these lines are often difficult to conceal however their severity can be reduced with some treatments.

What are Lip Lines?

Lip lines are vertical lines that form on both the upper and lower lips. They’re the result of muscle contraction and can stretch from one side of the mouth to the other. Lipstick and makeup settle in the lines making them appear darker and deeper than what they are.

What Causes Lip Lines?

From the age of 20 our body produces 1% less collagen every year and because of this skin becomes thinner, less elastic and lips more deflated. Lip lines are the direct result of collagen breakdown thus causing skin laxity. There are three main causes of lip lines, ageing, chronic sun damage and smoking.

As you age your skin produces less oil which can lead to dry skin and the lips are particularly prone to dryness due to their constant exposure to the elements.

Another major cause of lip lines is sun damage. Chronic sun exposure breaks down collagen and if your skin (including your lips) is unprotected the ultraviolet rays cause photoaging thus prematurely ageing your skin and puts you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.  

Smoking causes lip lines through the constant contraction and pursing of the lips. It also causes free radical damage which is a major contributor to premature ageing.

Can You Prevent Lip Lines?

Lip lines are inevitable to some degree and cannot be completely removed, however you can decrease their severity with the correct use of products and care of your lips. The number one way to reduce your chances of developing lip lines is to avoid sun exposure and wear a SPF whenever you go outside. If you’re a smoker, not only is smoking doing damage to your health but it’s also causing premature aging all over your face, especially around your lips.

Here are some ways you can reduce the severity of lip lines.

Keep Your Lips Moisturised: As you age your skin becomes drier so it’s important not only to moisturise your face but your lips as well. You can do this by using your day or night moisturiser to seal in moisture or by purchasing a lip nourishing product like a lip balm to relieve dryness.

Ultra moisturising Intensive Night Repair with retinol and almond oil

Use Retinol: Retinol is your collagen boosting friend and can be applied around the lip area to help reduce those pesky lines. However, don’t directly apply retinol to your skin, as retinol can be irritating, use a moisturiser than is enriched with retinol as this will be less irritating. With any new product, always conduct a patch test first.

Protect Your Lips with SPF: Most people forget to apply sunscreen to their lips but it’s one of the first places to show fine lines. If you don’t want to walk around with colourful zinc on your lips, apply a day cream with SPF directly to your lips. Also look for lip balms with SPF, that way you’re protecting your lips from UV and at the same time locking in moisture.

Exfoliate: You may not think it but exfoliating your lips is going to make them look plump and fuller in appearance. Using a lip scrub will naturally plump your lips, remove dead skin cells, and make your lips look brighter. Be gentle with the scrub and look for ingredients that are less irritating, so stay away from products that contain essential oils.  

Massage Your Lips: Use your hands to give yourself a daily lip massage. Massaging your lips can give your lips a temporary plump and help boost circulation. Using your ring fingers, start from the outmost part of your lips and gently massage in a circular motion. Continue massaging until your fingers meet in the middle of your lips, then repeat this on the bottom lip.  

Use Anti-Anting Products: Ingredients included in anti-aging products are going to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and make skin look fuller, which is exactly what you want for your lips. Look for moisturisers, eye creams or serums that contain retinol, hyaluronic acid, peptides or niacinamide. All these ingredients are known for their anti-aging properties.

If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to decrease some suborn lip lines, there are cosmetic procedures available too.

  • Derma Fillers
  • Chemical Peels
  • Laser Resurfacing
  • Dermabrasion
  • Micro needling
  • Botox

These procedures vary in cost and can require several sessions before you start to see results. Some of the most common side effects of these procedures include bruising and irritation so it’s important to seek advice before undergoing any cosmetic procedure to make sure it’s the right one for you.

Remember that lip lines are normal and inevitable with age but there are many options for treatments that decrease the severity and visibility of them.

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