Lip treatments are an important aspect of face skincare because the lips are a very noticeable facial feature that among other things convey sensuality and attractiveness. This sensuality is due to their look, sensitivity, and feel when the lips are in a good healthy condition. Lips tend to be the focal point of the face during social interactions.
Properties of Lips
- lips contain no sebaceous (oil) glands
- lips contain no sweat glands
- the skin on the lips does not contain hair
- lips are composed of very thin skin layers (3 to 5)
- lips contain no skin pigment and therefore blood vessels are able to show through
- the thin skin and the lips appear red
- people with darker skin have some pigment and therefore the red lip color is less prominent
- lips have many nerve endings making them sensitive to touch, warmth, and cold
- lips are very elastic and pliable because they do not have any direct bony attachments
- lips aid in the eating function by holding food and drink in the mouth
- lips help keep unwanted objects out of the mouth
- lips visibly express an individual’s emotions and play a key role in facial expressions
Lip Treatments for Healthy Lips
In technical terms, the lips are the transition state between facial skin that can be considered dry and moist skin that resides inside the mouth. Because of this, the lips have certain properties that differ from the skin on the rest of the body. It is important to note these differences in order to pursue effective lip treatments.
Common Lip Skin Care Problems and Lip Treatments
The skin on the lips is very thin and does not produce much melanin, a natural skin pigment that helps to filter out damaging UV rays from the sun. Therefore, because of these two factors, the lips are vulnerable to sun damage. The lips do not tan. Instead, lips will burn repeatedly when exposed to the sun. This is unlike the skin on other parts of the body, which will not burn once sufficient melanin has been produced to protect the skin from the sun. Children and teens are particularly vulnerable to the burning of the lips caused by sun overexposure.
Other types of damage to the lips are possible as a result of sun exposure. For example, the sun can damage collagen, which is the protein responsible for giving lips their fullness and resilience. Collagen also stops wrinkles from developing on and around the lips. Too much sun exposure will lead to premature aging of the lips. Skin cancer is always a concern with sun exposure and the lips are no different than the skin on other parts of the body in this respect. Finally, a breakout of cold sores may be triggered by too much sun exposure.
Effective lip treatments for sun-damaged lips involve keeping the lips moisturized. However, it is best to avoid the problem in the first place. Lip treatments for sun damage involve prevention by using a lip balm when out in the sun. This is necessary on sunny or cloudy (on cloudy days protection from UV is necessary since clouds do not filter UVB rays) summer days or when outdoors in the winter (snow reflects 80% of the suns rays). Lip balms should have an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, but the higher the better. Protection should be for UVA and UVB rays. The application of the balm should be at least half an hour before going outside and should be reapplied regularly. When using lip balms as lip treatments for sun damage, avoid the use of products with PABA. This product can cause photo-allergies to develop resulting in the lips burning more easily.
In some ways, the aging of the skin on the lips is similar to skin aging on other parts of the body. Specifically for lips, aging results in a thinning of the lips. Lips also loose their smoothness and become less plump due to collagen damage and the loss of subcutaneous fat within the lips. Fine lines and deeper wrinkles become more evident on and around the lips. In addition, some of the bright redness is reduced. Scaling occurs more often and precancerous and cancerous lesions may become evident.
As lips get older, effective lip treatments emphasize moisturization and conditioning. Lip treatments such as revitalizer products can help reverse the signs of skin aging. These product types can contain mild concentrations of alpha-hydroxy-acid for exfoliation purposes, vitamin A, vitamin E, sunblock protection, and various moisturizers.
Some people are willing to undergo invasive lip treatments to reverse the signs of aging. For these individuals, lip augmentation may be an option.
Dry or Chapped Lips
The lips are one of the most exposed skin areas and therefore very vulnerable to dry skin related problems. Effective lip treatments for dry or chapped lips are therefore very important to have on hand.
Canker sores are an annoying and painful skin problem of the lips and mouth for many people.
Cold Sores and Fever Blisters
A common lip related problem that can occur in about 20 to 40 percent of the adult population is the appearance of cold sores or fever blisters.
Cosmetic Dermatitis is an unpredictable condition resulting in an itchy, red reaction to a cosmetic applied to the lips. This is caused by skin irritating chemicals such as dyes in the product.
This condition is caused by the reaction between sunlight and a cosmetic product leading to lip irritation characterized by redness, burning pain, and swelling.
Angular Cheilitis is a fairly common skin problem that affects the lip area of the face. It is found at the corner of the mouth at the lip and facial skin junction.
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