Considering the muscles in the mouth area are used substantially more than most of our other muscles (every time we speak, eat or smile) it is not surprising that this is also an area prone to showing giveaway signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. The delicate skin that covers lips quickly falls prey to such external aggressors as changing weather conditions and central heating. So how do we maintain a perfect pout?

1 Whenever you expose yourself to extreme temperatures (outside cold, indoor heat or vice versa), or you are feeling slightly under the weather, the lips are liable to dehydrate and flake. Resist temptation and never nibble at bits of peeling skin.

2 Use a gentle lip exfoliator (Clinique’s and Chanel’s are both wonderful) that encourages desquamation (the natural shedding of cells) without harming the delicate skin that covers your lips. Do not use abrasive products here, as you will end up with a sore, scabby mouth.

3 Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Remember that the lips do not excrete sebum, so rely largely on topical applications to keep them tender. Licking your lips will only make them drier.

4 Look out for petroleum-based moisturizers -these seal moisture in, and keep external aggressors out. Vaseline and Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream work wonders on dry lips.

5 Always use a product with sun protection on and around the mouth. Harmful UV rays cause lips to tan (unattractive), burn (unhealthy) and age (unwanted vertical lines around the mouth).

6 To give your lips a real boost, use an intensive moisturizer at night. Your mouth is less mobile while you sleep, and because you lick off less product, it has a better chance to do some vital repair work. Intensive skin creams will often work wonders on lips, too, so you need not confine yourself to Carmex.

Lipstick is possibly the oldest item of decorative cosmetic. Traditionally used simply to enhance the appearance of the user, colour was always the main focus when creating a new line. Not any more-the technological advances in skincare are carried generously into colour cosmetics as well, so the demanding consumer can now reap more from her investment.

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