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How to Get Rid of Smile Lines

Kristina Cadwell  
January 27, 2021  

Studying our faces in front of the mirror sometimes brings unwanted surprises, such as new lines and wrinkles. Or you might grow to dislike them more. One of the most obvious ones are so-called smile lines or laugh lines. They are not necessarily linked to aging (more on that below). But when they are, they can be an unpleasant daily reminder of the fact. Thankfully, there are ways to get rid of smile lines for good! Relax and keep reading.

An image of female lips and nasolabial folds

What Are Smile Lines?

Smile lines, or laugh lines, is a popular non-scientific term for nasolabial folds. These lines are the vertical lines that go from the nose's sides towards the mouth and curve around it. They are definitely more noticeable when you smile. Still, in severe cases, they are there even when you show no mimic whatsoever. Smile lines are often a natural part of aging. But just because they're natural doesn't mean you shouldn't do anything about them! If you're not happy with your smile lines and want to get rid of them, you can. Understanding where they come from will help you decide what to do with them if you'd like!

What Causes Smile Lines?

Smile lines or laugh lines are usually caused by repeated facial movements, most often smiling and laughing, and other actions such as frowning or even smoking or drinking with a straw. Sometimes, however, young people also have them. These nasolabial lines can also occur due to sun damage, drastic changes in weight, or even dental problems. The differences in the cause of your smile lines will determine the course of action. Suppose you want to get rid of smile lines. In that case, it's important whether they are dynamic (caused by movement over time) or static (the ones that occurred due to loss of collagen and skin elasticity).

How Can I Prevent Smile Lines?

If you have only barely started noticing your smile lines or don't have them whatsoever but want to be prepared, there's a lot to prevent them or delay them. As always, good lifestyle habits in your twenties and early thirties go a long way! Make sure you drink lots of water, so your skin stays hydrated. Exercise is also important. Quitting smoking may be one of the best things you can do, as smoking directly affects the area around the mouth and the occurrence of lines. Lastly, a good skin care regimen can help. Use the best moisturizer for your skin type you can find daily, and don't skip sunscreen, as it will prevent damage to the skin connected to the sun.

How Can I Erase Smile Lines?

There are several courses of action you can take when it comes to smile lines. Of course, this is not a DIY treatment. Therefore it is necessary to talk to your aesthetician or plastic surgeon. Still, we'll list them here, so you know what is available and can have a better conversation with them!

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are the top choice when it comes to getting rid of smile lines – that is, if you're looking at a non-surgical solution. Most fillers contain hyaluronic acid and can be injected into the wrinkles directly. The hyaluronic acid, the substance naturally occurring in our bodies that draws water, fills in the folds from the inside and makes them appear smoother. The results seem natural. The downside is that these fillers are not permanent, as the body breaks down the hyaluronic acid. The results typically last several months, and then, if you're happy with them, you need to have fillers injected again. Other fillers are made up of other substances that behave differently and can offer results that last longer. Still, ultimately, none of them is permanent.
When it comes to filler, as to other injectables, the most important thing is to find a certified professional with ample experience. That will ensure a smooth procedure, great results, and a minimized chance for side effects. Always opt for someone who understands the nuances of facial anatomy because a lot is going on in this small area that is our face!

Botox

Botox is another route to take when it comes to wrinkles in general, but it's important to differentiate between the two kinds of wrinkles: dynamic and static ones. As we mentioned above, Botox is used for dynamic wrinkles. Even though facial movements have a great deal in causing smile lines, they are generally not treated with Botox. But Botox can help in another part of the face if you're dealing with wrinkles caused by laughing: around the eyes.
When we laugh and smile, eyes move as well and create lines around them. These lines are easily erased with Botox, a pure and diluted toxin that appears in nature, which works by paralyzing the muscles underneath the skin. Once paralyzed, they cannot move, and the skin that covers them is flattened out, leading to a more youthful look. Like fillers, this is not a permanent solution, and it will last approximately 4-5 months.

Surgery

It may be the perfect route to take for those who can commit to long downtime. It definitely offers much longer results! A facelift is a permanent solution for smile lines, and it can address both nasolabial folds and lines around the eyes in one procedure. It is the most expensive option as well and takes about three months to heal. But it's being done across the country, and patients are happy with their results. If this is something that sparks your interest, start a conversation with your surgeon.

Laser Treatments

What laser treatments do is remove the top layer of skin cells. This skin resurfacing technique reveals the lower layer, and removing the top layer decreases skin spots and fine lines. Recovery time is one to three weeks, and patients usually go through another treatment after several months.

Collagen Induction Therapy

The goal of collagen induction therapy (also called microneedling) is to increase the skin's natural collagen production. Collagen is responsible for elastic, supple skin, and as we age, we produce less of it. These kinds of therapies make tiny ruptures in the skin, which leads to excessive production of collagen. This fills small lines. Patients usually need several treatments (three to six on average), and the results come gradually. If you undergo some sort of collagen induction therapy, expect full effects to kick in within nine months.

Skincare

Don't feel like being poked and prodded? Over-the-counter creams offer some affordable (and pain-free!) options. Retinol is the lauded ingredient and one of the more studied ones, so look for it in creams and lotions. Be persistent, and you may notice results in several months' use. That sounds like a lot, but it takes a long time for retinol to show results, so don't quit too early. Make sure to always use SPF in the morning, and don't mix it with other potent active ingredients. Other ingredients that can help in treating wrinkles are vitamin C, hydroxy acids, and peptides. Talk to your dermatologist or aesthetician to find the perfect skincare regimen. Browse our online shop, too. SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, for example, works at the cellular level to enhance collagen production – just what you need.

Do Facial Exercise

There are too many muscles on our face, and they rarely work out! Turn it around and do some light exercises.

To target muscles around the mouth

Hook the corners of the mouth with your index fingers. Pull out lightly from the resting position. Then apply resistance with the fingers and tighten the corners of the mouth towards each other with your muscles. Hold this for 5-10 seconds. Relax and then repeat. Do it 10-25 times.

To target muscles in the cheek

Apply light pressure to the laugh lines around the mouth with your fingers. Smile as wide as possible with the lips separated. Hold it for about 5-10 seconds. Relax the smile and then repeat. Aim for 15-30 reps.

To target muscles around the eyes

Put your thumbs by the outer corners of the eyes. Place the fingers on top of your head. Close the eyes and squeeze tight. While squeezing, pull the outer corners of the eyes away from each other and slightly up. Stay that way for about 5-10 seconds. Relax, then repeat. Aim for about 10-25 reps.

Takeaway

While there's nothing unnatural about smile lines, and they await even the best looking of us, we can still minimize the process of aging by getting rid of them. Yay, 21st century! Talk to your aesthetician and/or surgeon, depending on your goals and levels of commitment. In the meantime, and for the rest of your life, try to quit smoking, eat a balanced diet, keep your skin hydrated, find a skin routine that's perfect for you, and take care of your overall health.

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