When it comes to skincare, laugh lines are no laughing matter. Laugh lines are the vertical lines that extend from the sides of your nose, curve around your mouth, and sometimes extend to the chin. And you’re not the only one who has them; these fine lip lines are incredibly common. Your lips and surrounding skin are delicate, so wrinkles around your mouth (or marionette lines as they’re sometimes called) show up naturally as a result of talking, laughing, and having facial expressions, in general.
What’s worse, your laugh lines only become deeper and more visible with age. But just because these creases are an unavoidable part of life, doesn’t mean you can’t treat them. We’ve got the tips to help you erase the wrinkles around your mouth and prevent them from deepening.
Types of Laugh Lines or Wrinkles Around the Mouth
There are two types of laugh lines; the nasolabial crease and the nasolabial fold. The nasolabial crease is the line you see between the upper lip and cheek. The nasolabial fold is the skin that hangs over that crease. Both types develop over time from aging and other lifestyle factors. The wrinkles around your mouth can be dynamic wrinkles (seen with movement) or static wrinkles (still seen when your face doesn’t move). Static wrinkles are more difficult to treat over time, where dynamic wrinkles are more common since we use the muscles around our eyes and lips all the time when smiling, blinking, etc.
What Causes Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Laugh lines occur due to the natural loss of volume that occurs in your face as you age. Over time, we lose collagen and elastin in your skin. Between the ages of 30 and 40, the wrinkles around your mouth become more prominent. They’re an inevitable part of the aging process and caused by the repetition of facial movements, like laughing, smiling, frowning, and other facial expressions. Your propensity for getting them is hereditary (if your mom or dad has wrinkles around their mouth, there’s a good chance you’ll develop them). But certain lifestyle factors can make them worse. Aside from genetics and aging, a number of lifestyle factors can contribute to you getting laugh lines, including-
- Sun damage
- Drastic weight loss or weight gain
- Smoking tobacco
- Using straws
- Poor nutrition
- Not getting enough sleep
- A lack of exercise
- Drinking too much alcohol
At-Home Tips to Reduce Wrinkles Around Your Mouth
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
A diet packed full of antioxidants is one powerful way to treat existing wrinkles around your mouth and prevent new ones from forming. Free radicals break down the collagen and elastin in your skin which is responsible for keeping it smooth. Neutralize free radicals on the skin by loading up antioxidant-rich foods like berries, broccoli, carrots, and spinach. To get the most wrinkle-fighting benefits from these antioxidant powerhouses, include two to three servings of each in your daily diet.
Maintain Your Weight
Significant weight shifts can contribute to wrinkles around your mouth, whether it’s weight loss or gain. Maintaining your weight helps to eliminate the potential for fine lines to form. A few ways to maintain your weight include eating healthy foods, avoiding sugar and alcohol, and exercising daily.
Protect Your Skin From The Sun
One of the best preventative measures you can take to protect the sensitive skin around your mouth from developing wrinkles is to wear sunscreen. The sun’s UV rays are the biggest source of those skin-damaging, wrinkle-causing free radicals. But you can fight back against the sun’s UV rays with an anti-aging sunscreen. Be sure to apply your sunscreen before you leave the house in the morning and then every two hours after.
Stock Up on Wrinkle Busting Ingredients
There are certain skincare ingredients to reach for when it comes to bouncy, plump skin with fewer wrinkles around your mouth. Look for products that trigger cell turnover, as well as collagen and elastin production like:
- natural retinol serum to help target fine lines and wrinkles
- vitamin c booster to even skin tone, reduce fine lines and minimize the appearance of pores
- hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid a must-have, as it gives skin an immediate plumping effect.
- You can use an eye lift cream on your laugh lines to help reduce them.
Do Regular Facial Exercises
Facial exercises help to tighten the muscles in your face, reducing the wrinkles around your mouth. Not sure how to exercise your face? Try one of these-
- Exercise 1
- Hook the corners of the mouth with the index fingers
- Pull out about a quarter inch from the resting position
- Apply resistance with the fingers and use the mouth muscles to tighten the corners of the mouth towards each other
- Hold the position for about 5-10 seconds
- Relax the muscles and then repeat
- Aim for 10-25 reps
- Exercise 2
- Use the tips of the index fingers to apply pressure to the laugh lines around the mouth
- With pressure applied, smile with the lips separated, as wide as possible
- Hold the smile for about 5-10 seconds
- Relax and repeat
- Aim for 15-30 reps
- Exercise 3
- With lips partially separated, pull the corners of the mouth back toward the face
- Pull back, as far as possible, while keeping the lips parallel
- Hold for about 10 seconds
- Relax and repeat
- Try to do 10-25 reps
In-Office Procedures to Reduce Wrinkles Around Your Mouth
At-home remedies can help reduce the appearance of mild lines around the mouth. But sometimes topical treatments just aren’t enough to treat those mouth wrinkles and a dermatologist may recommend one of the following in-office treatments.
One of the most commonly used anti-aging treatments and the gold standard for treating wrinkles around the mouth is the chemical peel. A chemical peel works by removing the top layer of your skin to reveal smoother, more radiant skin underneath. These are typically done on a consistent basis to help maintain results.
Another in-office treatment for reducing laugh lines is dermabrasion. This is a mechanical sanding of the skin with a specialized tool. Dermabrasion has become less popular than it used to be due to long recovery time and the possibility of pigmentation side effects. Dermabrasion is often done at the same time as surgical procedures (like a face-lift), in order to take advantage of the deeper anesthesia and long recovery.
Microneedling is a procedure that uses small needles to prick your skin via a device called a derma roller, or microneedling pen. Microneedling helps to stimulate collagen production in the skin cells as it heals from the small wounds made during the process. Treatments that use microneedling with radiofrequency heat can also help stimulate collagen synthesis and smooth fine lines. Adding the heat delivered at the needle tips means more remodeling occurs, and better tightening of the skin. Microneedling has little downtime, but you’ll need to undergo multiple sessions over the course of several months for the best results.
Sometimes platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is combined with microdermabrasion, or microneedling, in a procedure known as the vampire facial. The PRP is derived from your own blood platelets processed in a centrifuge before being injected back into your skin. PRP can help create plumper-looking skin to reduce wrinkles, but you’ll likely need the procedure again after a year.
Injectable dermal fillers like juvederm, are made with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and poly-L-lactic acid, to help plump the targeted area of skin and temporarily smooth out wrinkles. Dermal fillers wear off after several months and you will need to get more injections to help maintain results.
Also administered through injections, Botox (botulinum toxin type A) works by relaxing facial muscles that might create a tight, wrinkled appearance. While this treatment is best known for forehead wrinkles, it also benefits wrinkles around the mouth.
Laser skin resurfacing
A more aggressive treatment for wrinkles and laugh lines is laser skin resurfacing. This is an invasive treatment where a dermatologist uses high beams of light to remove the outer layer of your skin. Like other skin peeling treatments, this procedure must be repeated for a few months to see results. The skin afterward can be red, crusted, and raw for up to two weeks.
Healthy Habits to Adopt to Reduce Wrinkles Around Your Mouth
Not only will making these lifestyle changes minimize your chances of getting wrinkles around your mouth, but they’re equally beneficial to your overall health.
- Quit smoking cigarettes
- Don’t use a straw when drinking
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods
- Wear sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF every single day
- Get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night
- Reduce your daily stress
- Try to avoid yo-yo dieting, which can lead to drastic fluctuations in weight
But whatever you do…
Don’t stop smiling! Laugh lines, smile lines, or wrinkles around your mouth, are a natural part of life and by no means should you stop smiling to try to stop them. Besides making you look more approachable, studies have found that smiling can help you feel less stressed and anxious, more comfortable in awkward situations, and happier.