The Anatomy of the Lips!👄

Anatomy of the Lips

What is different about the skin on your lips?
Aside from the fact that the lips are a completely different colour to the skin on our face, there are a number of differences between the skin on your lips and the skin on your body. One of the main differences is the thickness of the lips, as lips are made up of only about three to four layers of skin whereas the skin on our face has up to around sixteen layers. This makes the lips much thinner and therefore much less protected. Like the skin on the body, the lips do have an epidermis (uppermost layer) and a dermis (middle layer) but the epidermis is much thinner on the lips than the rest of the body.  This makes the lips more fragile and as the epidermis serves as a protective barrier to prevent dehydration and damage by UV it leaves the lips over-exposed and prone to drying out.

What other factors make the lips different?
Another key difference is that the lips do not contain sebaceous glands – these are the glands that produce sebum – and sebum has many beneficial qualities.  Sebum provides hydration, lubrication and Antioxidant protection. Lips do not contain melanin either which is the pigment that is produced when you are exposed to the sun.  Melanin protects skin from UV rays and without the presence of melanin the lips are at a higher risk of getting sunburned and damaged.

Why are lips red?
Lips appear red because of the underlying blood vessels which sit very close to the surface of the skin on the lips.  As lips are devoid of melanin there is no pigment to mask the red colour of the blood vessels either.

Why do lips lose their volume over time?
Lips are teeming with collagen and elastin in our youth and these naturally occurring proteins are immersed in a naturally occurring miracle molecule which maintains hydration and preserves a plump and voluminous pout. For the lips to move and work efficiently a complex system of muscles and other structures is required. The great flexibility of the lips allows you to express different emotions – talking, kissing, eating – lips in are in constant use! This constant muscle movement together with the skin thinness and the lack of protection the lips are exposed to on a daily basis causes wear and tear on the collagen and elastin topped with the significant decline in the levels of hyaluronic acid causes flattening and deflation of the lips. 

Why do I have smokers’ lines around my mouth when I have never smoked?
I tend to get asked this question a lot especially when these wrinkles play havoc with lipstick! Lines around the mouth are formed by expressive movement and repetitive muscle contraction. The more expressive you are together with how you use your mouth to talk and eat has an impact on how these lines form.  They are often referred to as ‘dynamic wrinkles’.

5 unique facts about the lips

  • They contain more than a million nerve endings making them sensitive to touch and temperature
  • Lips do not sweat as there are no sweat or oil glands in this area
  • Lips are like fingerprints – they are completely unique to each and every one of us
  • The rosy-pink colour is caused by the little blood capillaries underneath the skin
  • Imperfect lips can often be a warning sign of health issues. Lips should be pinky-red, soft and smooth

 

How can I maintain soft and supple lips?

  • Choose a daily protective lip balm with a high SPF such as our Perfection Ultime Nourishing Lip Balm SPF15 - Clear
  • Apply lip balm after consuming food or drink
  • Exfoliate lips twice weekly
  • Apply a Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen infused mask over the lips at night time

Avoid lipsticks as these contain harsh ingredients that dry out lips – opt for lip balms instead!

 

Lucy x