Anti-aging Lip Products

Senior woman applying lipstick, portrait, close-up
Senior woman applying lipstick, portrait, close-up
Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images

As you get older, several areas of your body will inevitably begin to show signs of aging. Some of the most common and visible instance are on your face, including sun-damaged spots on facial skin, and laugh lines and crow's feet around the eyes, cheeks and mouth.

Although a lot of time, effort and money is spent on attempts to reverse these effect of the aging process, there's on area that doesn't always get the same kind of attention -- your lips. Whether or not you're aware of it, time takes its toll on lips, and they'll thin over the years and start to crack more often.Accumulated sun damage can put them at risk for skin cancer. Women are also more susceptible to lip damage later in life than men, mostly due to hormonal changes brought on by menopause.


It's possible, however, to slow down signs of aging on your lips. At the very least, you can temporarily camouflage some issues brought on by time, but the effectiveness of certain cover-ups is questionable. But depending on the method you use, you may even be able to reverse some of the evidence of lip aging. Some of these reversals are permanent, while others are temporary.

In general, anti-aging lip products generally fall into two categories. The first kind are topical lip products, which include lipsticks that promise to plump your lips to their best potential. The other category is invasive lip products, which includes injections and implants. Invasive procedures and products can be temporary, lasting only a few months, or they can be permanent, so it helps know what you're getting into before you make any big decisions [source: WebMD].

There are also ways to protect your lips from the effect of aging. One of the simplest and most inexpensive anti-aging lip products is lip balm. A lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more, applied several times a day, can slow signs of aging and protect you from skin cancer on your lips.

In the quest to keep your lips looking young, however, there are many choices beyond lip balm. Read on to learn about the different types of anti-aging lip products.


Types of Anti-Aging Lip Products

Lip sticks or gloss products with lip-plumping properties are very common in cosmetic aisles. Many of these products claim that their effectiveness lies in a special ingredient that actually irritates your lips. Because irritated lips will swell a bit, they'll appear plumper. These lip plumpers don't claim to last forever -- just long enough to give you fuller lips for a few hours or so.

Cinnamon, wintergreen, caffeine, ginger, menthol and forms of capsacin (the spicy chemical in chili peppers) are some well-known ingredients used in lip plumpers. They typically cause a stinging sensation and act as irritants. But too much irritation doesn't necessarily mean fuller lips; it's possible, of course, for lips to peel or develop ulcers. Even though soothing agents are used to counter the stinging effects of a lip-plumping ingredient, you should reduce or stop usage altogether if you experience too much irritation.


If you have the money and inclination, you can look into a variety of injections meant to plump your lips and last for a longer period of time, from weeks to months. Numerous types of injections are available. For example, soft-tissue fillers can inject autologous fat, or fat from your own body, into your lips [source: WebMD].

Some other products used in lip plumping injections include:

  • Artecoli, a synthetic material
  • Cow collagen, a protein extracted from cows
  • Autologen, your own collagen
  • Fascia, a type of connective tissue that comes from your body or a cadaver
  • Hylaform and Restylane, products that contain hyaluronic acid, a substance that is found in the body [source: WebMD].

Now that you know the options, read on to learn how well these anti-aging lip products work.


Are anti-aging lip products effective?

The cheapest anti-aging lip products are, as you might expect, the least effective. Lip plumpers might cause a tiny bit of plumpness for a very short period, but they generally last no longer than an hour [source: Consumer Reports]. On the other hand, discomfort should be very slight and with something like a lip plumping gloss or lipstick, so it's not a huge risk to give these products a try.

Injections, of course, aren't completely painless. Before an injection, you'll probably receive a topical anesthesia. After, you might experience bruising, redness and other uncomfortable reactions. Injections also are costlier. An injection of autologous fat, where fat is taken from your thighs or abdomen, can run you about $1,400 in surgical fees. It's considered a temporary fix, although some people may experience permanent results. Depending on how much work is done, recovery takes anywhere from one to 14 days [source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery].


As far as specific products go, a Restylane injection, a gel that the body gradually absorbs, will last about six months. You'll be out of the doctor's office in less than an hour, and no recovery period is necessary. The typical fee per treatment is $527 [source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery]. The effects of another injectable, cow collagen, typically last from four weeks to three months, at a slightly lower cost [sources: WebMD, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery].

Products inserted surgically can be either long-term or permanent. For example, Alloderm, a product that comes from cadaver donors, is surgically inserted from inside the lip. It can plump the lips for about a year. Synthetic materials such as Gore-Tex usually provide permanent results [source: WebMD]. A typical surgical lip augmentation takes about an hour, with the surgical fees running about $1,800. Recovery time before returning to everyday life is a week, and results should be permanent [source: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery].

Choices in anti-aging lip products will undoubtedly continue to grow. A professional consultation will help you sort out your options. In the meantime, see the links on the next page for lots more information.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Brown, Bobbi. "Plump Your Lips." Prevention. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Consumer Reports. "Do Lip Pumpers Have Pucker Power?" Nov. 2007. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Daly, Kimberly A. "Lip Service." WebMD. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Hayt, Elizabeth. "Kiss My Puffy Lips." Aug. 4, 2005. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Injectable Anti--Aging Treatments." (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • Keller, Amy. "Younger Looking Lips." Good Housekeeping. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)|ghk|emb|
  • Newman, Cathy. "The Enigma of Beauty." National Geographic Magazine. Jan. 2000. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Procedures." (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. "Read My Lips: Not All Fillers are Safe for Lip Augmentation; Rejuvenation." Oct. 9, 2006. (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)
  • WebMD. "Cosmetic Procedures: Lip Augmentation." (Accessed Oct. 7, 2009)