When it comes to aging and skincare, fine lines and wrinkles are a top concern for many people. But while you expect to get lines around the eyes — lovingly known as crow’s feet — you may be surprised to see the appearance of fine lines around the mouth area. In fact, this area, with its delicate skin, is prone to the signs of aging, with factors like UV exposure and smoking contributing to them.
“Lines around the mouth are a very common concern for many of our patients. Although commonly called ‘smokers lines,’ the majority of our patients bothered by these lines are non-smokers,” said Dr. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, and owner of The Dermatology and Laser Group in Manhattan, NY. “Lines occur in these areas occur with age as we lose collagen and elastin, proteins that lend structure to our skin. Collagen and elastin naturally degrade with age but stressors on our body such as Ultraviolet damage, nicotine exposure, and stress can accelerate the process causing premature aging in this area.”
If you prefer to minimize these lines, here are Dr. Akhavan’s top tips for reducing fine lines around the mouth.
There are tons of skincare products on the market so picking and choosing among them can get confusing, but you may notice a few of the exact same ingredient popping up when we talk about fine lines. And the first? Sunscreen – always.
“Using adequate sunscreen daily can prevent excess ultraviolet damage to our skin cells slowing the appearance of lines,” Dr. Akhavan said. And after you take off your makeup and wash your face at night, the second gold standard product you’ll want to use is retinoids — “Either over the counter retinol or prescription products that contain tretinoin. [This] can support collagen production preventing the worsening of these fine lines and even potentially reversing them,” Dr. Akhavan noted.
Procedures That Use Heat
In addition to topical treatments, there are many facial rejuvenation devices that can improve collagen and elastin production around the mouth improving the appearance of fine lines, according to Dr. Akhavan. “Fractional Laser Resurfacing, Ultherapy, and Radiofrequency devices all use heat to create micro-injures in the skin,” he said. “In response, the body activates a part of the immune system called the wound healing pathway thereby generating new collagen. Similarly, microneedling, a procedure where tiny needles create injuries, can also generate collagen and elastin in the skin improving the appearance of fine lines around the mouth.”
Keep in mind when budgeting for these procedures that it often takes multiple procedures to see satisfactory results and the improvements come on gradually over the course of several months, Dr. Akhavan says.
Not patient enough to wait for topical treatments and procedures to kick in and show their benefits? “For those wanting more immediate improvements in fine lines around the mouth there are newer facial fillers that are meant to be injected in a superficial manner directly into the lines,” Dr. Akhavan said. “Redensity by RHA and Juvederm Volbella are two great fillers that can immediately plump the depressions to improve their appearance. Results with these products can last up to one year.”
Remember: fine lines — and aging — are perfectly normal occurrences that happen to everyone. With that said, there ARE ways to reduce those lines around the mouth if they bother you.