Preventing and Treating Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Wrinkles around the mouth indicate a life full of joy and laughter — but just because you’ve had a happy life doesn’t mean it needs to be visible on your face! The lines around your mouth, also called lipstick lines or perioral wrinkles, happen as a result of repetitive facial movements. As your muscles and jaw repeat the motions of smiling or drinking through a straw day after day, these lines become etched into your face, causing you to appear older than you really are.
You can’t avoid showing emotion and making faces throughout your life, but you can certainly minimize the effects those movements have on the appearance of your skin.
What Are Smile Line Wrinkles and When Do They Appear?
Smile line wrinkles are the lines that run vertically from the side of the nose curving down to the mouth and sometimes even to the point of the chin. Most people will eventually end up with wrinkles around the mouth, but not everyone gets them at the same time. Genetic predisposition to wrinkles and/or the failure to perform a preventative skin care routine each day may cause some to develop these lines prematurely.
Types of Mouth Wrinkles
There are two types of wrinkles that you might notice around your mouth area. They’re widely referred to as dynamic and static lines.
- Dynamic wrinkles are the temporary lines that appear on your face after a long period of laughter, frowning, or puckering, but they disappear shortly after the expression has stopped.
- As people age and lose collagen in the skin, however, those dynamic wrinkles might turn into static wrinkles — the kind of lines and wrinkles that don’t go away. Static wrinkles favor the skin around the mouth and eyes because those are the parts of the face that show the most expression.
You may have heard static lines around the mouth referred to as marionette lines or nasolabial folds. The latter, also called laugh lines, are a natural part of the face. They run from the bottom of the nose to the corners of the lips, but they can get deeper and more visible with age and lifestyle. Marionette lines, as the name implies, are the lines that start at the lip corners and run down to the chin. These can deepen over time and turn into an unwanted groove in old age.
Causes of Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Laugh lines are caused by aging and a wide range of lifestyle factors:
- Aging: Collagen and elastin are the building blocks of the skin. Over time, these break down and lead to sagging, stretching, and an inability of the skin to bounce back from it.
- Genetics: As unfair as it may seem, some individuals are predisposed to mouth wrinkles by their genetics — but that doesn’t mean they can’t take a proactive approach in delaying the onset.
- Smoking and poor lifestyle habits: A cigarette and a Big Mac once in a while might not seem like that big of a deal, but repetition of these bad habits will show up in your skin. Smoking and poor nutrition both accelerate wrinkling and overall facial aging.
- Sun exposure: Unprotected sun exposure allows ultraviolet light to damage the outer layer of your skin and reduce its elasticity. The end result is wrinkles.
- Weight loss: If you lose a lot of weight, your face loses volume, and the skin that was once being pulled by fat begins to sag and create lines around your mouth.
- Gender: Research has found that women are more likely than men to develop more severe wrinkling around the mouth. [Perioral Wrinkles: Histologic Differences Between Men and Women | Aesthetic Surgery Journal | Oxford Academic (oup.com)]
- Dehydration: Dehydrated skin is more prone to aging and wrinkles, but you can easily change this by making sure you’re drinking enough water for your body weight.
- Stress: When you’re stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which speeds up the aging process and manifests itself physically in the form of wrinkles.
How to Get Rid of Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Natural Treatments for Smile Lines
Getting rid of your laugh lines doesn’t always require medical intervention. There are plenty of holistic solutions you can try first — and they’re available at your local grocery store (and may already be sitting in your pantry or refrigerator at home).
- Juices: The juice of certain fruits and vegetables contain acids and antioxidants that may have a tightening effect on your skin. Fruit juices are also known to fight free radicals.
- Oils: Coconut, olive, and grape seed oil are natural moisturizers that you can rub into your mouth lines at night to keep your skin hydrated and prevent wrinkles.
- Spices: Cinnamon and/or turmeric mixed with a little honey makes a great face mask. These spices promote better circulation in the skin and may potentially help fight wrinkles.
- Water: The simple act of drinking water will help your skin stay supple and voluminous for longer. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 to 10 glasses per day.
- Essential oils: The topical application of lemon and ylang-ylang essential oils may result in younger-looking skin, as these extracts contain powerful vitamins and antioxidants that promote skin renewal.
Best Products for Treating Mouth Wrinkles
Medical-grade skin care products are another great way to treat wrinkles around the mouth if you haven’t found success with at-home remedies and don’t want to turn to more invasive methods yet. Here are some ingredients to look for that are especially effective in targeting fine lines and wrinkles on the lips and mouth:
- Niacinamide: When used topically, this form of vitamin B minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, helps replenish the skin’s lipid barrier, protects the skin from sun damage, and regulates oil production.
- Vitamin A-derived retinol or a retinoid: Retinols and retinoids (including retinoic acid), such as isotretinoin, encourage cell turnover — although they may be irritating to the skin.
- Hyaluronic acid: This substance helps treat dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C improves the overall texture of the skin and fights damage from free radicals.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E strengthens the skin barrier, promoting moisture retention and healing at the cellular level.
- Peptides: These encourage your body to produce elastin and collagen.
- Plant oils: Tea tree oil, jojoba oil, and other plant-based oils can improve the texture of the skin and help lock moisture in to prevent wrinkles as a result of dehydration.
- *Defensins: Defensins are naturally occurring molecules in the body that play a role in immunity and encourage stem cell production. Defensins are ideal for use around the mouth and other areas that can get irritated by retinols or peptides.
*Defensins are a key component of the DefenAge skin care product line. DefenAge skin care products feature two different types of age-repair defensins, which can result in visible reduction of signs of skin aging. Powered by alpha-defensin 5 and beta-defensin 3, DefenAge has been shown to improve skin barrier function, which is key for healthy, hydrated skin around the lips, eyes, and elsewhere on the face and neck.
The DefenAge Skin Care Line
The DefenAge line includes a biologically advanced bioserum, an anti-aging cream, facial cleanser, masque, hydrating eye cream, and neck tightening cream. In addition to defensins, the DefenAge brand is also formulated with proven anti-aging:
- Hyaluronic acid
- Vitamin E
- And more
There is solid science to back DefenAge’s effect on skin, including several clinical studies. In one study, investigators compared the action of defensins to retinoic acid, known as Retin-A. DefenAge was as powerful against the signs of aging but without the irritation commonly associated with Retin-A. People who use DefenAge have given it a 90% Worth It Rating on www.RealSelf.com.
Medical Treatments for Smile Lines
If you need to escalate your treatment of mouth lines and wrinkles, consider visiting a doctor. Cosmetic dermatologists, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, and cosmetic surgeons are among the types of doctors who are skilled in treating cosmetic concerns.
Some of the in-office anti-wrinkle treatments that might help diminish or erase lines and wrinkles around the mouth include:
- Botox or other types of neurotoxin injections
- Dermal filler injections
- Fat injections
- Plasma radiofrequency ablation
- Fractional laser
- Chemical peels
- Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion
- Face lifts
- Other skin resurfacing treatments
How to Effectively Conceal Smile Lines
While in the process of treating your smile lines, you can conceal them with makeup, which can soften their appearance. After applying your skin care products for the day, apply a primer to the area around the mouth. Primers help to coat the skin, fill in lines, and smooth the surface. Follow the primer with a light layer of foundation blended in around the face and mouth.
Smile Line Wrinkle Prevention
It’s often said that prevention is the best treatment, and this is especially true with skin care. Taking care of your skin early in life by hydrating it and protecting it from the sun goes a long way in slowing the effects of aging. Here are some effective tips for maintaining a youthful complexion for as long as possible:
- Use sunscreen daily: Sunscreen will prevent sun damage from prematurely aging your face. For best results, use a moisturizer with sunscreen. This will keep you from forgetting to wear it each day.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake: Caffeine and alcohol both cause inflammation and loss of collagen, thereby accelerating the aging process within the skin. Avoid these substances as much as possible.
- Reduce stress: If you experience a high level of daily stress, find ways throughout the day to decompress. Take breaks at work, listen to calming music, slow your breathing, take walks, and make time for yourself at the end of the day.
- Limit sun exposure: The sun causes 80% of aging in our skin. Stay out of it as much as possible. When you have to be outdoors for a prolonged period of time, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to maximize your protection from ultraviolet rays.
- Maintain a consistent weight: Rapid weight fluctuations are bad for the skin’s elasticity. If you’re trying to lose weight, do it at a safe and controlled rate. They say two pounds a week is ideal for steady and safe weight loss.
- Eat a healthy diet: Make sure your skin is getting the nutrients it needs to stay vibrant by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with them, so get the recommended number of servings every day.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking causes your mouth to wrinkle and sag faster than it otherwise would. If you’ve already picked up the habit, you’ll have to quit in order to slow the aging process back down.
- Avoid straws: Drinking through a straw involves constantly pursing your lips, which may lead to an accelerated loss of skin elasticity and wrinkles around your mouth. Drink directly from a cup, if you can.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation has been connected to drooping around the corners of the mouth. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to allow your skin time to renew.
- Water, water, water: The importance of drinking water can’t be overstated when it comes to your skin. The more you drink, the better hydrated your skin will be — and less susceptible to wrinkles.
- Follow a skin care routine: Start a skin care routine today that targets your mouth lines — and stick with it. Moisturizer is one of the most important tools in your skin care arsenal for wrinkle prevention. It’s never too late to start using products that nourish and revitalize your skin.
Visit our blog to learn more about how to correct wrinkles around the mouth and reduce the appearance of aging.