When my kids were little, we were wayyyy into Veggie Tales. Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber were helpful in teaching my kids about virtues like kindness, honesty, and forgiveness. One of our favorite features was “Silly Songs with Larry,” when Larry the cucumber would sing, well, a silly song. Our family favorite was I Love My Lips. (Followed closely by the classic Where is My Hairbrush?)
Like the neck and the backs of our hands, the lips and the area right around the lips can be one of the first places to show signs of aging. This is really frustrating! Unlike crow’s feet, which sweetly show that you’ve loved and laughed, drying, thinning, and wrinkled lips can make you look kind of mean and tired. (Bob says I may be reading just a little too much into lips, but that’s how it seems to me!😂) So what causes aging lips, and what can we do about them?
Aging Lips: Why Lips Age
1. Thin Skin
Did you know that the skin on your lips is thinner than the rest of the skin on your body? Lip skin only consists of three to five cellular layers instead of up to sixteen layers elsewhere. In fact, it’s this thinner skin that accounts for the pinkish color we see. (It’s simply easier to see the blood vessels underneath!)
2. Genetics & Heredity
The shape, size, and to some extent the plumpness of the lips you were born with is determined by heredity.
3. Lifestyle Choices
Things like smoking, drinking out of straws (guilty!🙋♀️), and even chewing on our lips out of nervousness or anxiety (also guilty!🙋♀️) can greatly accelerate the aging process.
Women’s lips reach their maximum thickness at age 14? After that, they naturally begin the thinning process.
5. UV Rays
Even if you’re diligent about applying sunscreen to your face and body, you may have neglected your lips! Sun exposure plays a big part in aging lips. Try a natural, zinc oxide-based sunscreen like EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad‐Spectrum SPF 36 or Supergoop Lipscreen SPF 40, which is a clear, non-sticky gloss you can add on top of any lipstick! 🙌
I like that one, but I prefer a tinted lip balm, so I usually use COOLA Mineral Liplux® Organic Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen SPF 30. It comes in six pretty, sheer shades that you will love! My favorite shade is Summer Crush.
Aging Lips: How Lips Age
1. Loss of Moisture
Lips don’t have sebaceous (sweat) glands. Since sweat glands also help keep the skin moisturized, this means that lips tend to dry out faster than other parts of the body. They don’t produce sebum that moisturizes the rest of our skin.
2. Thinning & Loss of Volume
As a normal part of aging, the upper lip thins, flattens, and can appear to fold over the teeth, leading to the appearance that the upper lip is kind of disappearing! Lips get their shape in part from collagen, and as we age, we produce less of this collagen, and the lips start to lose their plumpness. The other culprit? A loss of hyaluronic acid, which keeps lips moist and plump from the inside out.
Aging Lips: What You Can Do
Staying hydrated is one simple thing you can do to maximize your lip’s fullness. Remember that by the time you feel actual thirst, it’s possible that your body has already lost 1-2% of its water content! When your body is short on fluids, it pulls available liquids away from non-essential areas like your lips and shifts it to important organs like your heart and brain. The result? Flaky lips.
2. Take Care of Your Overall Health
To keep your lips healthy, work on whole-body health. A high-protein diet that is rich in Vitamin C can aid in collagen production.
3. Take Care of Your Teeth
You may already know this, but teeth get smaller as we age. Younger people have larger teeth, which help support the lips and keeps them perky. As teeth wear down over time, lips can sink in somewhat. As you age, you want to use good toothpaste, but beware of ones containing peroxide, which is the active ingredient in some whitening toothpaste. It can make your pout prune right up! Good alternative choices? Try Burt’s Bees Extra WhiteToothpaste with Fluoride or Tom’s of Maine Simply White Natural Toothpaste.
Nothing’s worse than when your lips get so dry they’re visibly flaky! Exfoliating your lips is an easy and effective way to keep your lips looking younger. Try Sarah Happ The Lip Scrub. It comes in four yummy flavors! (I love vanilla!) Looking for a clean beauty alternative? Try Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator to gently buff and exfoliate.
Juvederm and Restylane are the dermal fillers that cosmetic injectors typically use to add volume to the lips. They’re made from hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that decreases as we age, resulting in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and volume loss. HA fillers immediately add volume and fill in lines and wrinkles as they bind to water molecules.
The benefit of using dermal fillers made from HA is that they are not permanent. They typically last 6-12 months. (Studies have shown that Juvederm lasts slightly longer than Restylane.) To read more about dermal fillers, click HERE.
Light therapy is being used to treat many beauty issues, from acne to wrinkles and fine lines to dark spots. So, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone harnessed light therapy to make lips look younger and plumper! According to the company’s website, Conair’s True Glow™ Light Therapy Solution – Anti-Aging Lip Care & Plumper works from the inside out to increase firmness, stimulate natural collagen and elastin, and improve circulation. Dermatologist tested and clinically proven, the three-minute daily treatment can be performed at home and reduces the appearance of vertical lip lines, lip creases, smile lines, and fine lines and wrinkles on and around the lips. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m intrigued! (And at just $40, it might be worth a try!)
Beyond clinically proven light therapy, you could try a plumping device like JuvaLips Automatic Lip Plumping Device. It temporarily plumps up your lips by using suction to increase blood flow to the area.
7. Topical Products
To enhance lip plumpness, look for lip treatments that boost collagen production and increase epidermal water content. Also, look for humectants like hyaluronic acid that increase water content, moisturize to prevent cracked skin, and reduce skin irritation. Stick balms tend to be waxy and can dry out your lips, so it’s better to opt for natural moisturizers that are oil-based.
What I’ve Been Using
With a small face and a small mouth (Fun fact—and possible TMI!—I was born without wisdom teeth and one of my molars, so I actually have fewer teeth than the average person.), this issue is very real for me. I feel like I’ve tried every lip plumper on the market and never really seen results!
For a few years now, I’ve been using a product that one of my friends told me about several years ago by City Beauty. When City Beauty reached out and asked me to try their City Lips products, I remembered my friend’s recommendation! After reading the science behind their products—along with the testimonials—on their website, I agreed to try them. I’ve been loyal to the brand ever since!
City Lips‘ Ingredients
Hyaluronic acid molecules are too large to penetrate the skin’s surface. But scientists have found a way to lower the molecular weight of hyaluronic acid, so it can now be used in topical products. Hyaluronic acid permeates the skin’s top layers, using its own natural moisture to plump up wrinkles from the inside out. It temporarily hydrates, plumps, lifts, and firms skin. (BTW, this makes adequate hydration even more critical because the hyaluronic acid can only bind with the moisture that is already in your body.)
Oligopeptides are natural amino acids that support and fuel the body’s collagen production. One study showed that oligopeptides decreased lip wrinkles by 29% and increased lip volume by up to 40% in 28 days.
Oils form a barrier. They lock moisture in, soothe and rejuvenate, and protect lips from the elements. City Lips uses ylang-ylang flower oil and jojoba oil in their lip products.
City Beauty has won lots of beauty awards, been featured in numerous magazines, and been worn by multiple celebrities, which you can read all about on the “PRESS” page of their website. The testimonial that meant the most to me was the one by Good Housekeeping. Their GH Research Institute tested the original formula Lip Plumping Treatment and found that it increased lip volume by an average of 3 millimeters. Wow!
In user surveys:
- 94% said their lips felt smoother. (Mine sure do!)
- 90% said their lips felt hydrated. (I agree there too!)
- 91% said their lips looked plumper. (I feel like mine do too.)
I’ve used City Lips faithfully for several years now. I use City Lips Clear Formula as a serum at night right before bed, and I use one of their plumping lip glosses or matte lip cremes during the day. My lips are definitely more hydrated, smoother, and more moisturized.
Are my lips plumper and fuller because I’m using City Lips? Honestly, I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t had them professionally measured to the millimeter! 😂 But I feel like they are. One thing I do know for sure — gone is the flakey, chapped skin of years past! City Lips encourages continued use to maintain and improve results,
City Lips Clear Formula – This is their most popular formula—with good reason! As I said, I use it before bed as a serum to treat my lips while I sleep. I wake up every morning to softer, moisturized lips. I also swipe it on along with my serum and moisturizer right after the shower.
There isn’t any stinging or burning! It immediately moisturizes, smoothing out lines and wrinkles. I leave it on as I get ready and then apply lipstick or use one of City Lips’ other glosses on top. If I’m going to use one of the long-wearing City Lips matte shades, I’ve found that they stay on better if I gently remove the clear gloss first. More on that later!
City Lips Glosses – Available in 14 shades, all of City Lips’ plumping lip glosses contain the ingredients I told you about earlier. My favorite is Sun Diego. It’s a warm, pink shade, and I love the way it feels on my lips! If you’ve been hanging around here for a while now, you know we’ve talked a lot about the importance of determining if your skin has warm or cool undertones when it comes to selecting lip colors.
The good news is that City Lips tells you right on the City Lips Gloss and City Lips Matte pages if the shade’s undertone is warm, cool, or neutral. I find that so helpful because it can be challenging to pick out a lip color online! City Beauty has plenty of shades to choose from, so no matter what your undertone is or what shade you’re looking for, they’ve got it! Click HERE to see them all.
I will tell you that City Lips plumping lip glosses have a more sticky texture than oily, which may bother some people. (It doesn’t bother me!) If you want to give it a try, there’s no risk because City Beauty offers a 60-Day satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, you can send any City Beauty product back for a full refund (minus shipping).
City Lips Matte – It’s tough to find a matte lip color that won’t dry out your lips. It makes sense. Right? Without the creaminess, where’s the moisture? So I was skeptical when I tried City Lips Matte in the Pink Taupe shade in the above photo. I’m here to tell you; it didn’t dry out my lips! Now, if you’re not used to wearing matte lipstick, it does feel kind of different that you don’t have the creamier texture of a regular lipstick or gloss.
The biggest thing I notice? There is no bleeding into the lines around my lips! Also, it stays on for hours. City Lips suggests that you apply it on clean, dry lips and that you outline your lips with the pointy end of the applicator tip, and then fill in your lips with the color. (That’s what I do.) For more on the formula and how in the world City Beauty managed to make a matte lipstick that won’t dry out your lips, scroll down to the bottom of this page on their website.
City Beauty offers free shipping on orders over $50. For a limited time, they are also offering an exclusive discount to Empty Nest Blessed readers! You can take 15% off your order with the promo code EMPTYNESTBLESSED at checkout.
What are you doing for your aging lips? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below, okay?