Lip Service: 4 Ways To Get A Prettier Pout

The lip area is a focal point of the face, and it can either enhance our overall facial appearance—or detract from it. Based in New York City and Miami, dermatologist Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali shares five ways to improve the look and feel of the lips.

The skin on the lips is unique… Not only is it thinner than other skin on the body, it lacks oil glands which prevents it from creating its own moisture. Particularly prone to dryness (especially when exposed to harsh environmental conditions like wind and cold winter weather), the skin on and surrounding the lips requires special care and extra attention.

Sun protection
Even if you’re diligent about applying sunscreen to your face, neck and chest every morning (and before prolonged sun exposure), you likely skip the lips. In addition to visible signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles and loss of volume, the lips are one of the most common spots for skin cancer, which is why it’s imperative to protect them from damaging UV rays when outdoors. Dr. Bhanusali recommends Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 15.

Gentle exfoliation is key for eliminating dry, dead cells and keeping the lips smooth and supple. This can be achieved with a washcloth, a soft toothbrush or an exfoliating product such as the scrub found in the Yes to Coconut 2-Step Lip Kit Pucker Up.

Enhance volume
Thin lips can be genetic or the result of aging. A loss of volume leads to fine lines and wrinkles on and surrounding the lips, but injectable fillers can enhance plumpness without looking over-done. There are a variety of hyaluronic acid fillers made specifically for thin skin on and around the lips, including Restylane Silk and Juvéderm Volbella. These treatments generally last for about a year. Volbella in particular is known for its hydration properties, and is great for “shaping lips” without expanding too much. Vollure, a similar filler in the Juvéderm family, adds a bit more volume and can be used in other parts of the face such as the nasolabial folds and under the eyes as well.

Smoker’s lines
Years of repetitive pursing associated with smoking (as well as sipping out of a straw) can leave vertical lines etched into the skin surrounding the lips. Hyaluronic acid fillers can instantly fill these wrinkles, and Botox or Dysport can help minimize the muscle contractions that cause these lines (although this treatment is best for those whose wrinkles are not yet visible when the lips are at rest). In some cases, laser resurfacing with Erbium lasers (Sciton’s Pro-Fractional is one of Dr. Bhanusali’s favorites) may be the most effective way to remove damaged skin and promote collagen production.

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