Lip enhancement – Fillers are not the only answer!

Sothys, my longstanding skincare range, has just launched two new items: a Lip Plumping Serum, and an Eyelid Tightening Serum. In this article I will be looking at the first product only and will write about the other in a companion piece soon.

I was prompted to write after reading a timely article by Amelia K. Hausauer, MD in New Beauty Magazine about the factors that cause lip ageing viz. Loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid means lips lose their distinct shape and border as well as the ability to hold onto internal moisture over time.

I expect you are all aware that the diminishing of collagen and hyaluronic acid in facial and body tissues causes ageing but may not be so aware that because the lips have thinner skin than other parts of the body – having no oil or sweat glands to preserve their fullness – deflation and dehydration show up more quickly in this area. The consequence is the loss in volume, making the lips lose definition and shape, and giving them a thinner appearance.

It is this phenomenon which has driven the increase in fashion of lip plumping procedures. Back in 1996, I was asked by QMed (the manufacturer of the fillers Restylane and Perlyane) to give a talk at the Royal Society of Medicine on the topic of Changing Lip Shapes. [As an aside, I should say I opted to speak instead on Practising Beauty Within a Health Promoting Framework]. My point in referencing this event is that the trend has gained considerable momentum over the past 25 years and it does not appear to be slowing down.

There are television documentaries aplenty showing some of the disastrous results of bad practice in the use of incorrect injectable products which, far from enhancing the lips, have served only to deliver the opposite effect. So, if you are looking to go down the lip filler route please make sure you do your research and make it absolutely clear to the practitioner the precise look you want. The correct filler in the hands of an experienced practitioner can deliver a more natural look to that of the (usually absurd) full pout. In fact, Dr. Hausauer recommends Retalyne Kysse and Juvederm Ultra for a more structured lip, and Vobella for a smoother texture with minimal volume.

Research shows that UV (the ultra violet wavelength) in daylight also causes lip ageing. Daily exposure will inevitably accelerate the ageing of this delicate tissue and can also create cancers in this area. My loyal clients are only too aware of how frequently I labour on about the use of sun protection (a baseline of SPF30) for the face and body!

Dr. Hausauer makes a salutary point that oil-based balms can actually increase the risk of burns – much like the old days when baby oil was the go-to for creating a tan. She holds that using a good protective lip cream, applied frequently, is a must to protect this delicate area of the face.

For years we have been encouraged ‘keep hydrated’, and rightly so, as dehydration can also affect lip volume. Hydration is not the only factor to consider; the body also needs anti-oxidants in the from oily fish, dark green vegetables and dark fruits to ensure the optimum delivery of oxygen to the tissues.

Those fine lines that appear around the mouth take years to cultivate. Smoking (which purses the lips and simultaneously inhibits oxygen to the tissues) and any repetitive puckering of the lips (e.g. drinking from straws) can accelerate the aging process, according to Dr. Hausauer.

And thus to the Sothys Lip Plumping Serum. Sothys cream contains:

  • Gluconolactone (PHA) a prickly pear extract that encourages cell turnover (to renew)
  • Kombucha extract and tripeptides that plump the tissues by their hydroscopic nature of attracting water to the tissues (to plump), and
  • Hyaluronic acid and vitamin E which creates a smoothing and lessening of fine lines (to smooth)

Unlike a number of lip plumping products, the Sothys serum does not contain irritants such as chilli, capsicum or cayenne pepper which have been used to increase lip volume by agitating blood circulation and swelling. I have always been sceptical to such products being used on a long-term basis.

Before application, I would recommend a gentle exfoliation to improve the penetration of the product and and maximise the absorption of the lip cream. There are products which have been created especially for the lip area and can be used prior to application of the lip cream. As an alternative caster sugar grains in an olive oil base can also be used for a gentle scrub without damaging delicate lip tissue.

But whichever route you decide to take – fillers or not – good lip care will only serve to enhance and protect this most delicate part of the face. I will be recommending Sothys lip cream as part of a facial care routine.

My next piece will be on Sothys Eyelid Tightening Serum.