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    The Science of LIP CARE
    Your lips can lose plumpness, appear thinner and develop lines with age. Here’s why — and how to kiss up to a more youthful mouth

    So what causes signs of lip aging?

    “Lips get their shape in part from collagen, and as we age, we produce less of it,” explains Gretchen Frieling, M.D., a dermatopathologist in Boston. “UV damage, genetics and lifestyle factors such as smoking can also be culprits.” (To prevent sun damage, apply a lip balm with a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher daily, especially when outdoors.)

    How can I make my lips look youthful and feel their best?

    Just as you do for your face, exfoliating, which removes the outer layer of dry, dead skin to promote cell turnover, can help your lips instantly look and feel smoother and plumper. Buff lips daily with a clean toothbrush, a damp cloth or a lip scrub to remove flakes and boost circulation. Finish by coating them in a thick layer of a hydrating lip balm, serum or cream with anti-aging benefits (see the GH Beauty Lab’s picks at right) to lock in moisture plus fill lines and boost fullness with treatment ingredients. “Look for hyaluronic acid, peptides and fatty acids like ceramides,” Dr. Frieling advises.

    Any makeup tricks?

    Many lip-plumping products are made with ingredients that temporarily swell lips and can irritate. Instead, the GH Beauty Lab recommends lipcolor formulas, like the pick at right, that moisturize to even out fine lines and minimize their appearance. A dab of highlighter on your Cupid’s bow or on the center of lips over lipcolor will also catch light to create a pillowy effect.

    What about in-office procedures?

    For immediate results, a dermatologist can inject fillers of hyaluronic acid (a substance that occurs naturally in the body), such as Restylane or Juvéderm, to help restore structure and shape as well as fullness, Dr. Frieling says. (The cost: $500 or more, depending on location; results last about six months to one year.) Resurfacing lasers, which stimulate collagen formation, can also help diminish lines around lips.