Kao Research Takes Shape Around Lip Morphology vs. Age


Kao Corp.'s Makeup Research Laboratories have quantified changes that occur with age to the lip area and lips themselves including rounding and thinning, respectively. These findings will be used to develop new cosmetics and makeup technologies.

In part I of the study, photographs of 139 Japanese women ranging from 16 to 78 years old were taken. These images were used to measure the lips and surrounding skin area. As the company reported, both the thickness of the upper and lower lips, and that of both together, decreased with aging. Furthermore, the width of the lips broadened with age, and fullness of the lower lip shown in lateral views was significantly reduced.

The results also revealed that the white upper lip area beneath the nose became extended with age. Analyses of lateral images showed a positive relationship between curve width of the white upper lip and age. Furthermore, participants with a more apparent curved white upper lip were more frequently observed in the younger age groups, while that area became rounded as age increased. A more detailed investigation revealed these changes tended to start around 40 years of age.

See related: Getting Lippy; Lip Aging and Topical Treatments, A Review

In part II of the study, 13 Japanese women, ages 46-55, were measured on various lip sites over time and the results were compared. Facial photographs were taken in 1992, 2002 and 2015. Similarly, the ratios of thickness and width of the lips, and of length of the white upper lip to lip thickness were determined and compared.

The results obtained quantitatively showed that red lip portions became thinner, while the area between the nose and lips (white upper lip) became extended and more round in association with age. In addition, part II confirmed these results were not attributed to individual differences.

This study was published by the Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists of Japan (Vol. 53-4, 2019). For more information, see the Kao Corp. release.

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