How to Get Rid of Smile and Laugh Lines
You love the memories and happy times behind your smile lines — but the lines themselves, not so much. These can turn into some of the deepest and most prominent lines on your face and add more years onto your appearance. If we’re being honest with ourselves, Betty White is the only one who can flawlessly pull them off.
Thankfully, modern science has uncovered ways to slow the onset and diminish the appearance of nasolabial folds so you can stay looking your age and not a year older. Below, we’ll discuss how to get rid of frown lines around the mouth, how to effectively conceal them, and more!
What Are Smile Lines and What Causes Them?
Smile or laugh lines, also called nasolabial folds, start as dynamic lines — ones that come and go when we smile or laugh. They are easy to spot, extending from the sides of the nose to the edges of the lips.
As we age — accumulating decades of repetitive motion and exposure to lifestyle and environmental factors like sunlight, smoking, and pollution — these lines deepen and become more permanent. Eventually, they’re etched into our faces whether we are smiling or not. Some people also notice marionette lines accompanying these wrinkles, which run vertically from the corners of the lips to the chin.
Smile lines occur over time as the body stops naturally producing as much collagen, which makes it harder for the skin to rebound from daily facial movements. This loss of collagen around the mouth causes the skin to sag, accentuating the look of the nasolabial folds. These deepen further as the face eventually loses fat and muscle contour. Rapid weight loss can accelerate this process and cause wrinkles to form faster.
[Source: Nasolabial fold correction through cheek volume loss restoration versus thread lifting: a comparative study | SpringerLink]
Everyone’s goal is to keep smiling and laughing without making the lines worse, so below, we’ll talk about laugh line treatment and prevention strategies for fine smile lines around the mouth.
Natural Nasolabial Fold Treatment
Consumers today are much more aware of what they put on their skin than they used to be. Due to the delicate nature of facial skin, many seek natural ways to fight the effects of aging. Thankfully, there are many easy ways to naturally plump, hydrate, and maintain your complexion to slow the aging process and lessen facial line formation. Some of these include:
- Performing facial exercises: Also known as facial yoga, facial exercises help you build muscles in your face so that the skin appears tight and toned. It is alleged that facial exercise can help mitigate wrinkles and lines, but the scientific data supporting facial exercises for this purpose is hard to find.
- Getting enough water: With age, your body has a harder time maintaining water. Drinking water is key to ensuring your skin maintains its elasticity. Those who drink enough every day tend to wrinkle slower and scar less after injuries.
- Getting quality sleep: When you sleep, your body supplies more oxygenated blood to your facial skin. In turn, the skin in this area is better able to repair itself and rebuild collagen.
- Consuming a healthy diet full of antioxidant-rich foods: Natural food sources such as blueberries, raspberries, kale, strawberries, pecans, and dark chocolate are rich sources of antioxidants. These may delay the aging process by preventing collagen breakdown in the skin.
- Protecting the skin: You wouldn’t pull cookies out of the oven without wearing oven mitts, so why would you go out into the sun without putting on sunscreen? It may sound like a dramatic comparison, but the damage done to your skin could be comparable. We’re not kidding when we say you really need to wear sunscreen, a hat, and/or sunglasses to limit your exposure to UV rays when outside.
- Essential oils: Certain natural oils contain antioxidants that prevent free radicals and help maintain skin elasticity. They also act as anti-inflammatory agents and natural moisturizers, making the skin look supple and healthy. Add a few drops of sandalwood, clary sage, lemon, lavender, rosemary, and/or ylang-ylang oil to your nightly moisturizer and enjoy the fragrance as well as the effects!
Skin Care Tips for Nasolabial Folds
Creams, serums and lotions might not have a dramatic effect on the appearance of deep-set lines and wrinkles, but these products can improve skin tone and texture, temporarily soften and plump skin, and prevent the worsening of laugh or smile lines. An exfoliant can also help to remove the dead skin cells that make the mouth look older. Remember to use products that gently exfoliate to avoid skin irritation.
The Best Skin Care Ingredients for Smile Lines
Not all skin care products are created equal. Some contain harsh ingredients that can dry and irritate the skin while others can contribute to excess oil. Below are the ingredients you should look for that will make your skin feel and look its best:
- Hyaluronic acid for hydration
- Vitamin A-derived retinol for cell turnover (beware that retinol and retinoids can cause skin irritation)
- Peptides to encourage collagen and elastin production
- Antioxidants, including vitamin C, to prevent collagen breakdown
- Niacinamide, a vitamin that plays an important role in skin immunology, barrier function, pigmentation, and more
Defensins, a type of peptide, are another important ingredient to incorporate into your skin care routine. While most peptides are too large to penetrate the surface of the skin, defensins are smaller and more agile. They slip down into the epidermis and encourage the creation of new keratinocytes, contributing to a fresh new layer of skin with diminished wrinkles.
Defensins are a critical component of the DefenAge skin care line and contribute to the efficacy of the 24/7 Barrier Balance Anti-Aging Cream. This can be used to replenish the skin barrier and firm up the area around the mouth that is prone to wrinkles.
In-Office Wrinkle Treatment Procedures
If it’s too late for prevention and natural remedies, dermatologists and plastic surgeons offer several options for treating nasolabial folds.
- Dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid fillers can temporarily smooth away nasolabial folds and other deep facial wrinkles.
- Fat injections. These involve injecting one’s own fat tissue into the folds as a temporary solution to deep mouth wrinkles.
- Neuromodulator injections. Injecting small amounts of neuromodulators (like Botox) into nasolabial folds can diminish the appearance of these lines by temporarily weakening the muscles that contribute to laugh or smile lines. [Source: How to Smooth Away Laugh Lines With or Without Surgery – Cleveland Clinic] Neuromodulator treatment might also slow the development of these lines.
- Facial suspension threads. Researchers are finding that, by using threads, they can temporarily flatten the deep folds of the face. [Source: Thieme E-Journals - Facial Plastic Surgery / Abstract (thieme-connect.com)]
- Laser resurfacing. Researchers have found that treatments performed specifically with the fractionated CO2 laser can be effective in treating nasolabial folds. [Source: Clinical Outcomes and Complications Associated with Fractional Lasers: A Review of 730 Patients - PubMed (nih.gov)]
- Surgery, such as a nasolabial fold excision or facelift, can offer a more permanent solution to deep smile lines. It is important to choose a maxillofacial or facial plastic surgeon who is highly experienced in the surgical treatment of nasolabial folds.
- Radiofrequency microneedling. This treatment targets the earliest signs of aging by creating tiny punctures in the skin and releasing radiofrequency waves into these wounds. Then, a growth solution is applied to the skin to encourage the generation of new cells.
How to Effectively Conceal Nasolabial Folds
Applied correctly, makeup can mask nasolabial folds — but be careful, as makeup can get caked into the lines and make them even more noticeable. One of the best ways to hide frown lines around the mouth with makeup is to first apply primer and then a liquid foundation to the face. Then, use concealer over the top of the folds. It’s best to find a concealer that is a shade lighter than what you use on the rest of your face to ensure a flawless blend with the rest of the skin.
Visit the DefenAge blog for more expert tips on how to get rid of nasolabial folds and other pesky facial wrinkles!
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