From The Straits Times    |

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Dry, chapped lips can be a persistent woe that any amount of lip scrubs and moisturising balms cannot seem to fix. There has been talk amongst the proponents of aesthetic treatments that lip fillers may hold the secret not only to plump, shapely lips but lasting hydration too. We delve into this topic with our expert, Dr Low Chai Ling, founder and medical director of SW1 clinic.

Lip fillers, such as hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers, are primarily used for augmenting lip volume and enhancing their shape. Cutting to the chase, Dr Low says that, “While they can make your lips appear fuller and more hydrated, they aren’t a direct solution for chronically dry and chapped lips.”

To address dry and chapped lips, it’s essential to focus on lip care and hydration from within, adds Dr Low. She advocates that proper hydration is key, such as drinking enough water to maintain skin and lip hydration. Regularly applying lip balms or ointments containing ingredients like beeswax, shea butter, or petroleum jelly can provide a protective barrier and keep lips moisturised. “Your diet plays a crucial role in skin health and hydration. Essential fatty acids, vitamins – especially vitamin E – and minerals contribute to healthy skin and lips.”

Did you know that some lip products may contain ingredients that can exacerbate dryness? Choose lip care products with minimal fragrances and potential irritants, advises Dr Low. Using a humidifier in dry indoor environments can help maintain moisture levels, benefiting both skin and lips.

The root causes of dry lips

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Chronically dry lips can have various causes, and determining whether lip fillers are a suitable treatment option for a patient depends on the underlying factors contributing to the dryness. Here are some potential causes of chronically dry lips:

Dehydration: Insufficient water intake can lead to dry lips. Proper hydration is essential for maintaining lip moisture.

Weather Conditions: Exposure to harsh weather, especially cold and windy environments, can lead to dry and chapped lips.

Lip Licking: Frequent licking of the lips can strip away natural oils, leading to dryness.

Allergies: Allergic reactions to lip care products or certain foods can cause lip dryness and irritation.

Skin Conditions: Conditions like eczema or psoriasis can affect the lips, causing dryness and inflammation.

Medications: Some medications may have dry lips as a side effect.

Nutritional Deficiencies: Lack of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and fatty acids, in one’s diet can contribute to dry lips.

Ageing: As we age, the skin, including the lips, can lose moisture and become drier.

What to do before and after getting lip fillers

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Patients with chronically dry lips should take some precautions and considerations before undergoing lip filler treatments to ensure a safe and successful outcome.

Always consult with a qualified and experienced medical professional, such as a dermatologist or a practitioner specialising in medical aesthetics. They can assess your lip condition, discuss your concerns, and recommend the most suitable treatment options.

Prior to the treatment, focus on keeping your lips well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydrated lips can be more prone to complications and discomfort after the procedure.

Establish a lip care routine that includes using moisturising lip balms or ointments in the days leading up to the treatment. Avoid harsh or irritating lip products.

During your consultation, be sure to mention your chronic dryness concerns to the practitioner. They may choose specific filler formulations that contain hyaluronic acid, which can help improve lip hydration or co-prescribe a lip topical that can help address the surface dryness. Inform your practitioner about any medications or supplements you are taking, as some substances can affect the outcome or safety of the procedure.

After getting lip fillers, follow the post-procedure care instructions provided by your practitioner carefully. This may include avoiding excessive lip movement, not touching the treated area, and using recommended lip care products.

Understanding the expected results of lip fillers is key. While they can improve the appearance and fullness of your lips, they may not directly address chronic dryness. Discuss your expectations with your practitioner to ensure alignment. If dryness is your primary concern, consider alternative treatments or home remedies, such as hydrating lip masks or lip serums, in conjunction with lip care products.

The information provided in this article is for general guidance only. It should not be considered as medical advice or a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider.