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Volume Control

Research shows that as we age lips begin to thin and droop. But do we have to grin and bear it?

| October 16th, 2012
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Turn up the volume on your lips

The eyes are the first to go. Next, the mid-face region stretching from the nose to lips. The drooping happens so gradually that it might take a sec before you notice things are going South.  The change isn’t Earth-shattering, to be sure—but it’s enough to make you realize that this aging thing is now officially in full swing.

The crow’s feet, the laugh lines, the age spots…all expected. But when the hands of time start making their mark on other, unanticipated areas—like the lips—it can be especially traumatic. Especially since the lips are front and center!

QUIZ: Find Your Best Lipstick Color

Full, plush Angelina Jolie-esque lips are a sign of youth, vitality—and they’re also super-seductive. The plumper your pout, the higher your estrogen hormones. So when they start to lose their za-zing it’s more than an interruption in your beauty routine, it can cause a seismic self-esteem shift. “The corners of the lips droop, the upper lip elongates, the lower lip drops and we actually lose volume in the lips and midcheeks,” says YouBeauty Cosmetic Surgery Expert, Arthur Perry, M.D.

Why Me?

Other than moisturizing and painting your lips, have you really given much thought to them?

Think of all the movements lips make in a single day: smiling, kissing, talking, sipping from a straw, opening wide to yawn, sneeze or eat. All these lip calisthenics contribute to wrinkling. Then there’s the sun, which we all know causes all sorts of deleterious consequences to our skin. And if the surgeon general’s warnings aren’t enough to get you to stub out your cigarette, then it’s unlikely the threat of fine lines and bleeding lipstick will have you ditching the habit.

MORE: Prevent Fine Lines Around Your Lips

And that’s just the consequences of your lifestyle on your lips.

As we age, our body produces less collagen. Think of collagen as the stuffing in your mattress. After years of tossing and turning, it just doesn’t have the bounce it once had—nor do those mattress springs miraculously regenerate. The same can be said for the lips.

“As we age, our mouth loses volume, which leads to thinning of the lip and flattening of the cupid’s bow,” says Manhattan dermatologist, Meghan O’Brien, who’s also a consultant for Physicians Formula. One of the most effective anti-aging products for lips is an SPF-infused lip balm. But that alone isn’t enough. “SPF protects against skin cancer and brown spots,” says Dr. O’Brien. “But even without any sun exposure we lose lip volume over time.”

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