8 Ways to Bring Volume Back to Thinning Lips, According to Dermatologists
Just like the loss of volume in other areas of your face, thinning lips are caused by the breakdown of fat pads underneath the skin. “There are fat pads under the skin, cushioning the muscles and bones on the face,” says board-certified dermatologist Susan Van Dyke, MD. “These give our faces a soft and rounded appearance associated with youthfulness. Lips are no exception. There are little fat pads in your lips and depending on your genetics can be thin or quite full naturally.”
Regardless of whether you have ample fat pads or not, thinning is part of aging. “As we age all these fat pads slowly shrink and thin,” Van Dyke explains, noting that, no matter how full your lips are at 20, they will lose volume with time. “The result is a thinning lip (as well as volume depletion on the entire face).” Nonetheless, there are a few things you can try to bring volume back to thinning lips.
Reduce Repetitive Mouth Movements
Van Dyke says that preventing volume loss isn’t easy—especially because genetics play a major role. As such, she says that your best bet is to learn ways to cut down on lip-thinning activities. According to Patel, certain motions that require a pucker—like smoking, drinking through straws, and taking smoochy selfies—are such lip-thinning movements that can accelerate the collagen loss of the lips over time. While avoiding all of those things simultaneously is unlikely, being aware of your repetitive movements can help you dial them back just enough to get an edge.
Keep Your Lips Hydrated
All the lip balm, all of the time. “Lips need conditioners and moisturizers just like facial skin,” Van Dyke says. For a moisture kick, we love the Lanolips 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm ($16). It’s a 100 percent natural option that promises to leave lips soft and hydrated for hours.
Naturally Boost Collagen Production
Drinking water and getting enough sleep really can make a big impact on not only how you feel, but how you look. “Staying hydrated and promoting the production of collagen by drinking [plenty of] of water, getting eight hours of sleep, taking a probiotic, taking a multivitamin, and using an SPF in your lip products when outside will help [keep your lips looking full],” Patel says.
Steer Clear of Lip Plumping Devices
You might think these will work, but in reality, Patel says that hyaluronic acid pens and suction devices actually can accelerate collagen breakdown. Yikes. (Also, while we hope this isn’t necessary to say, putting your lips into a water bottle and sucking should also be avoided at all costs—even if social media suggests otherwise).
Use Lip Liner
You might not be able to keep your lips from thinning, but you can keep them from looking like it. Such is the beauty of overlining your lips. Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Addison Rae is doing it, so know that you can, too. “Overline your lips with lip liner, pushing a little beyond the vermilion border, and fill in with gloss or lipstick to make the lips appear bigger,” Patel suggests.
Add a Lip Blush
For a more permanent (or, technically, semi-permanent) approach, there’s the option of a lip blush. Similar to microblading, lip blushing is a type of cosmetic tattooing that deposits ink into the lips. The procedure gives the lips a subtle, tinted pigmentation that can give the appearance of fuller lips and enhanced lip symmetry.
Consider Getting Filler
If you find that your lips look particularly thin and nothing seems to be working, you may want to consider a filler appointment. “The best procedure for thinning lips is filler,” Van Dyke says. “You want to be careful about selecting a great injector, though. Too much filler looks unnatural.” As such, she recommends talking with your dermatologist or esthetician to find out what’s right for you.
Think About a Botox Lip Flip
This trendy procedure uses Botox along the lip line to create slightly flipped lips at all times. “It gives a fuller-looking lip by relaxing the muscles that cause puckering and allowing other lip muscles to subtly ‘flip’ the lip outward for a fuller look,” Van Dyke says. “The effect lasts for three to four months and can be done with tiny amounts of Botox (or other brands of neuromodulators like Dysport, Xeomin, or Jeuveau).” Just know that, if done incorrectly, some say a Botox lip flip can make drinking through a straw difficult, so it’s best to go somewhere reputable (as is the case with an