An unwelcome sign of aging is the appearance of small vertical lines, which may appear on and around the lips. These lines can be caused by years of repetitive facial movements such as talking or smoking, and worsened by a poor diet or over-exposure to the sun. However, just as regular exercise can help shape and tone the muscles in the body, it can also help build facial muscles and tighten the skin covering them, which improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Senta Maria Runge, author of "Face Lifting by Exercise," says the muscle structure around the lips is distinct to that of other facial muscles; the loss of tone and subsequent collapse of skin on the upper lip is not due to elongation, as with most facial muscles, but rather due to a lack of circulation. This causes the lips to become thinner as time passes, and eventually wrinkles form as the lip loses contour. To restore contour to the upper lip, Runge recommends an isometric exercise, which is a form of resistance training. Sit or stand, and look into a mirror. Open your mouth so there is a 1-1/2-inch gap between your upper and lower teeth. Hold your teeth in the position, and slowly move your upper lip downward while simultaneously trying to keep it from touching your teeth. Return the upper lip gradually back to the starting position. Repeat once a day, five times in succession.
According to Marie-Veronique Nadeau, athour of "The Yoga Facelift," facial yoga exercises can help reduce wrinkles, including irritating lip lines. Place your index fingers on the corners of your mouth to anchor the muscles. Draw your upper lip down over your upper teeth and also toward your mouth corners. Stretch the area above your upper lip until it is completely smooth without creases. Hold while counting to five, and release. repeat three more times, holding for a count of 10 each time.
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Deborah Green has been providing online content in the health and fitness industries since 2001. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language teaching from Sussex University and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in health studies from The Open University.