Your lips don’t lie - especially when it comes to revealing your actual age. While you can artfully gloss over the tell-tale signs of aging skin, such as wrinkles and fine lines, under layers of make-up, it’s an entirely different story when it comes to aging lips. Luscious, well-defined lips are the hallmark of youth and natural beauty. However, as we age, our full lips tend to lose volume, shape, and gloss. Add to this the constant exposure to weather, pollution, wear and tear. When you realise how much your lips go through, it’s no surprise that lips are a conspicuous barometer of your biological age.
How we wish that the curvaceous, bow-shaped, luscious lips of our twenties, and early thirties, retain their youthful look forever!
But not to worry. Just as they are among the most delicate areas of the face, the lips are also the most amenable to rejuvenation treatments. And, we have fillers to thank for this. If previously, it was collagen, now hyaluronic acid is the filler of choice for repairing weather-beaten, aging, mis-shapen lips.
More of that later, first let’s look at what actually happens to our lips, as we begin to move beyond our prime years in the early twenties and thirties.
Collagen depletion – Just as happens with the rest of the skin, collagen depletion is the casualty of aging, in your lips too. Collagen provides for elastin and hyaluronic acid - the skin’s basic building blocks. So, the effects of collagen loss are immediately felt and seen, especially in the lip skin which is different in feel and texture, apart from its relative sensitivity.
The loss of collagen results in volume loss, and reduced elasticity of the lips. Soon, creases and fine lines commonly known as ‘laugh lines’ begin forming around the mouth, in an unmistakable indication of ageing.
Loss of moisturization - Whereas as the lip skin is composed of few as three to five cellular layers, the skin on the remaining areas of the face, has three to four times as many skin layers. The relatively thinner skin on the lips, makes them more prone to moisture-loss, and therefore loss of volume and natural gloss. The presence of a very thin stratum corneum, means that the delicate lip skin is more vulnerable to dehydration, and the consequent damages.
Constant tongue-flicking over lips - Contrary to popular belief, moistening your lips with the tongue ends up drying them even more. Actually, the saliva contains enzymes to help break down the foods we consume. Whenever we lick our lips, the enzyme-laden saliva irritates the delicate skin, and mops up the natural oil content instead of hydrating lips. The end result is dry lips with a desiccated-look.
Sun exposure – The harsh rays of the sun are carriers of harmful UV rays that damage the delicate skin on the lips.
Smoking - Cigarette and cigar smoke contain tar and several other carcinogens that damage and discoloration of the lips. The harsh smoke also leads to the formation of wrinkles at the corners of the mouth.
Lip rejuvenation Treatment Explained
In a nutshell, lip rejuvenation treatments revolve around replenishing volume, water, and gloss in the skin cells. And lip fillers are just what the doctor ordered for achieving attractive lips.
In recent times, hyaluronic acid fillers have emerged as the first choice of doctors for lip rejuvenation procedures. Not least, because hyaluronic acid is produced in the human body and does not interfere with our internal physiology. Secondly, hyaluronic acid attracts and retains water. Most importantly, these fillers allow for a great degree of customization, in terms of the filler volumes that can be injected in different lip zones, resulting in the right look for each individual patient.
The filler helps to simultaneously improve all three problem areas of the lips - shape, volume and structure. When it is injected, the filler gel fits into the lip contours, bolsters the tissues, and redefines the shape too. As Dr Chiam puts it succinctly, “lovely lips need to have more volume, adequate hydration, and natural glow. And hyaluronic acid does the job admirably well.”
Reshaping and rejuvenation of lips is a specialized procedure where the filler quantity and doctor’s expertise play a crucial role in deciding the final outcome. Too less of filler can result in lips that are not plump enough nor suitably well-defined. On the other hand, too much of lip filler, and you can end up with oversized lips, commonly known as sausage lips. A practiced aesthetic specialist begins with an assessment of the lips’ size and shape.
Vermillion Border - After determining the amount of volume, hydration, and gloss value to be added, the procedure begins with addressing the fading outline of the lips, also known as the vermillion border. When filler is injected in this area, the borders or edges around the lips, regain volume and definition.
Cupid’s Bow - Thereafter it is time to repair the V-shaped portion located at the centre of the top lip. Known as the ‘cupid’s bow’ it is considered a sign of beauty and tends to wither and shrink with age. Injecting the area with a bit of lip filler does the trick.
Philtrum Column - Now the doctor turns his attention to the ‘philtrum column’ – the vertical channel running from below the nose to the cupid’s bow. Other areas addressed during the lip rejuvenation procedure include the corners of the mouth, which tend to droop, along with the cheeks and jowls, under the impact of advancing age and gravitational pulls. By injecting fillers, the corners can be given an upward orientation, resulting in a youthful, cheerful visage.
In cases where a patient doesn’t require drastic rejuvenation, a softer filler is used to impart hydration to the lips so that they acquire a soft and supple look and prevent cracks from forming. The non-cross linear hyaluronic acid fillers used for this purpose, also give a natural pink coloration to the lips.
Taking no more than 20-30 minutes to complete, opting for lip filler treatments are very convenient, and comfortable too as a mild anesthetic is used along with the filler. However, avoid alcohol and spicy foods immediately after undergoing the procedure. The results generally last for up to a year and with periodic booster shots, your lips will forever sport a youthful, glossy look.
In general, lip fillers are safe if you inject them in the right dosages at the right depth. All the more important, why you should approach a doctor who specializes in the science and art of lip rejuvenation. If you’re wondering how to achieve soft, full-looking lips? and any other queries on lip fillers, it’s quite easy, actually. All you need to do is, fix up an appointment at the Ensoul Medical Clinic, Singapore, where the doctors will be happy to explain the intricacies in greater detail, to your satisfaction. After all, your lips deserve a make-over, considering they go through so much for you!