Like it or not, all lips lose volume over time as a result of aging. Even the red pigment fades. Both of these are thanks to the degradation of collagen and elastin as well as the decrease in moisture levels. You can’t stop this process. But you can slow it and work around it. Here’s how.
There are two factors that accelerate this aging process that are completely within your control:
1. Avoid excessive sun exposure
Exposure to ultraviolet radiation breaks down elastin which reduces the skins ability to snap back into shape after stretching. This causes sagging and wrinkles.
In addition sunlight causes the accumulation of abnormal elastin which causes the body to produce large quantities of metalloproteinases. These are normally a good thing because they aid damaged skin by producing collagen. However when they are produced in such large quantities their effect is the opposite and they end up breaking down the collagen.
2. Don’t Smoke
As if we need more reasons to quit smoking. That said, more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the elastin and collagen fibers. Smoking has the hidden benefit of causing wrinkles in other areas like the inner arms. Enough said.
Now what are you to do if you’ve already lost or have started to lose the volume in your lips?
There several natural methods that people claim will provide fuller lips. We don’t subscribe to those since, for the most part, there is no science behind them. We are not saying that they won’t work for you. They might. We just prefer making recommendations that are grounded in medical science. That said, here’s what we tell our patients about.
Dermal Fillers – There are several fillers available on the market such as Restylane and Juvederm. Both of these feature Hyaluronic Acid which is a naturally occurring substance that helps increase lip volume and cheek volume among other things.
Lip implants – These offer a more permanent (and more invasive) solution.
Fat Injections – This taking fat from elsewhere on the body and injecting it into the lips.
In most cases we recommend fillers over the other two alternatives. Here’s why.
Fat injections are unpredictable. Lumping/clumping can occur. Of the three, fillers are the safest and have the fewest complications.
Consider that it’s hyaluronic acid which is essentially a sugar gel so there’s virtually no risk of allergic reaction. The fillers are temporary and if there happens to be a mistake, there’s a medication that can dissolve the filler material.
Of course, your first best course of action is to discuss your particular situation with a physician. They will advise you as to the benefits and disadvantages of each method and help you with your decision. Make sure that you select a physician who has ample experience. This is no place to try out a rookie.