Smiling is good for your health; it can elevate your mood, boosting your energy and immune function. A lot of smiling has a drawback though - the accelerated formation of wrinkles around your mouth. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help reduce smile lines without having to give up smiling. Are Botox or HA fillers right for you - consider all of your options before making a decision.
”Facial serum, in combination with the wash and moisturizer, may be effective and well-tolerated when treating photodamaged skin and may improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles” (NIH.gov)
What Causes Smile Lines?
The older we get, the more wrinkles we get on our faces. Though these lines are a product of aging, several factors can cause them to form at a faster or slower rate.
Your skin is held firm and made flexible by strong, elastic proteins such as collagen. As you age, your skin cells are less able to replenish the collagen and other proteins that hold your skin together. When you smile, the skin between the corners of your mouth and your nose creases. Along these lines (called your nasolabial lines), your skin’s structural support network is stretched and weakened. Over time, with enough smiles, these smile lines (sometimes called “marionette lines”) become deeper and more permanent.
Harmful agents in your body and in the environment can cause the proteins along your smile lines to break down even faster, such as:
- UV rays (sunlight)
- Reactive oxygen species
- Pollutants and other chemicals
- Dryness or loss of skin hydration
Protect Yourself from the Sun
UV rays, both UVA and UVB, can break down skin proteins and trigger an inflammatory reaction. When you sustain a sunburn, reactive oxygen species are created which can further damage your skin cells and support structures.1 If you are going out into the sun, make sure to cover your face with sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours.2 Zinc-based sunscreens are preferable because they provide good protection against both UVA and UVB radiation.3 If you do get sunburned, use an after-sun lotion to help manage the resulting inflammation.
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Dry skin wears out more quickly than properly hydrated skin. If you live in a dry climate, smiling adds to the lines on your face more quickly than smiling would in a more humid environment.4 If the proteins in your skin become dehydrated, they can lose their elasticity and become brittle.
Moisturizing your skin every day can help reduce wrinkles and keep them from forming. Apply a facial moisturizer right after you shower or wash your face for the best results. Running a humidifier in your home or workspace can also help.
Our Recommendation: To help moisturize your skin and reduce the appearance of smile lines, try Tata Harper Repairative Moisturizer.
Use Gentle Face Masks and Peels
Face masks are a good way to get vitamins and nutrients into your skin. Ones containing antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, and skin-building ingredients like hyaluronic acid are good choices for reducing wrinkles around your mouth and the rest of your face. 5
Likewise, face peels containing a mild acid like citric acid, salicylic acid, trichloroacetic acid, or glycolic acid can help with fine lines and wrinkles. These remove old skin cells and pollutants from your face, reducing wrinkle depth and permitting new skin growth.6, 7
Our Recommendation: Glycolic Acid 10% Gel Peel. For an effective solution, try Pro Skincare Divine Alpha Hydroxy Acid Skin Rejuvenation Therapy Glycolic Acid 10% solution.
Natural Ingredients that Fight Inflammation and Oxidation
Antioxidants remove oxygen radicals that can cause damage and inflammation. Other ingredients reduce inflammatory biomarkers. Ingredients with either of these properties are essential for healthy aging because they help keep your skin healthy and taut. They can be taken orally or used topically in cosmetic products.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)1
- Vitamin E (tocopherols)
- Aloe vera
- Rose water8
- Tea tree oil
- Fucus extract9
- Rutin (found in citrus fruits)1, 10
Microneedling to Reduce Wrinkles
Microneedling, or dermarolling, is a non-pharmaceutical technique that promotes skin regeneration. A dermaroller is a hand-held device with a roller head covered in rows of tiny needles. When rolled across your skin, these needles create microscopic tears in the top layer of your skin (the epidermis), which triggers your body’s natural wound-healing process. Over time with repeated microneedling sessions, wrinkles, scars, and other blemishes can gradually fade. You can find special roller heads made specifically to be used around your mouth and nose, which are thinner and easier to roll over contours.11
Our Recommendation: Try using a derma roller with detachable roller heads that can be used on different parts of the face & body.
Anti-Wrinkle Injections & Smile Fillers
Since smile lines can be tough to get rid of at home, especially if they are deep, you may wish to go in for professional treatment. There are a variety of substances that dermatologists or other medical practitioners can inject into the skin around your mouth.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) or collagen injections
- Plumps up the skin, fills out wrinkles and promotes new skin growth
- Botox injections
- Uses a low-dose neurotoxin to paralyze muscles above your lips
- Platelet-rich plasma injection
- Includes growth factors which promote skin cell replication
Mechanical Therapies for Smile Lines
For those who don’t like needles, or who would simply prefer to avoid injections, there are several other techniques that can be used for smile lines. Many of these require a bit of down time since they can cause temporary redness and pain in the affected area.
- Sands down top layer of skin to smooth and promote new skin growth
- Typically uses longer needles than home-use dermarollers
- Sometimes also involves applying growth factors afterward
- Intense focused ultrasound treatment br>
- Laser skin resurfacing br>
- Cosmetic surgery
1] A Gegotek, E Ambrozewicz, A Jastrzab, I Jarocka-Karpowicz, and E Skrzydlewska. 2019. "Rutin and ascorbic acid cooperation in antioxidant and antiapoptotic effect on human skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts exposed to UVA and UVB radiation." Arch Dermatol Res. 311(3):203-219.
 2014. "How to Smooth Away Laugh Lines With or Without Surgery."Health Essentials. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-smooth-away-laugh-lines-with-or-without-surgery/.
 SL Schneider and HW Lim. 2018. "A review of inorganic UV filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide." Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed.
 Y Hara, T Hirao, and I Iwai. 2017. "Facial expression under stiff stratum corneum leads to strain concentrations, followed by residual wrinkle formation." Int J Cosmet Sci. 39(1):66-71. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/ics.12349
 MA Nilforoushzadeh, MA Amirkhani, P Zarrintaj, A Salehi Moghaddam, T Mehrabi, S Alavi, and M Mollapour Sisakht. 2018. "Skin care and rejuvenation by cosmeceutical facial mask." J Cosmet Dermatol. 17(5):693-702. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30133135
 M Kubiak, P Mucha, R Debowska, and H Rotsztejn. 2014. "Evaluation of 70% glycolic peels versus 15% trichloroacetic peels for the treatment of photodamaged facial skin in aging women." Dermatol Surg. 40(8):883-91. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25068547
 C Oresajo, M Yatskayer, and I Hansenne. 2008. "Clinical tolerance and efficacy of capryloyl salicylic acid peel compared to a glycolic acid peel in subjects with fine lines/wrinkles and hyperpigmented skin." J Cosmet Dermatol. 7(4):259-62. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00403.x
 G Imokawa. 2008. "Recent advances in characterizing biological mechanisms underlying UV-induced wrinkles: a pivotal role of fibrobrast-derived elastase." Arch Dermatol Res. 300 Suppl 1S7-20. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-007-0798-x
 M Chavan, Y Sun, J Litchauer, and A Denis. 2014. "Fucus extract: cosmetic treatment for under-eye dark circles." J Cosmet Sci. 65(2):103-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24797026
 SJ Choi, SN Lee, K Kim, H Joo da, S Shin, J Lee, HK Lee, J Kim, SB Kwon, MJ Kim, KJ Ahn, IS An, S An, and HJ Cha. 2016. "Biological effects of rutin on skin aging." Int J Mol Med. 38(1):357-63. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijmm/38/1/357
 S Doddaballapur. 2009. "Microneedling with dermaroller." Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery. 2(2):110-111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918341/
 JB Wise and T Greco. 2006. "Injectable treatments for the aging face." Facial Plast Surg. 22(2):140-6. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2006-947720
 R Shetty. 2014. "Under eye infraorbital injection technique: the best value in facial rejuvenation." J Cosmet Dermatol. 13(1):79-84. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocd.12075
 TC Flynn, JA Carruthers, JA Carruthers, and RE Clark, 2nd. 2003. "Botulinum A toxin (BOTOX) in the lower eyelid: dose-finding study." Dermatol Surg. 29(9):943-50; discussion 950-1. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=12930337
 P Mehryan, H Zartab, A Rajabi, N Pazhoohi, and A Firooz. 2014. "Assessment of efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) on infraorbital dark circles and crow's feet wrinkles." J Cosmet Dermatol. 13(1):72-8. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12072
 CS Pak, YK Lee, JH Jeong, JH Kim, JD Seo, and CY Heo. 2014. "Safety and efficacy of ulthera in the rejuvenation of aging lower eyelids: a pivotal clinical trial." Aesthetic Plast Surg. 38(5):861-8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00266-014-0383-6
 GB Core. 2013. "Lateral access recontouring blepharoplasty for rejuvenation of the lower lids." Plast Reconstr Surg. 132(4):835-42. https://insights.ovid.com/pubmed?pmid=24076676
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