You just turned 30, you make a thorough scan of yourself in the mirror and discover first fine lines and get shocked at how those nasolabial folds – which is a fancy way of saying “smile lines” got so visible. I personally think smile lines express a certain character and charm, but hey, this article isn’t about what I think. So, let’s dive into why they appear in the first place and what you can do to reduce their appearance.
What are smile lines?
Smile lines, aka laugh lines, are lines that form around the sides of your mouth. You can also observe some around your eyes. As your age advances, they become more visible. The good news is there are some effective ways to prevent them and minimize their appearance.
Why do you have smile lines?
Common reasons for these lines are genetic, anatomical features of the face, and the elasticity (decreased number of collagen) of facial muscles. But there are other culprits out there as well:
It is common for the lines to form when a person often has a big smile, bites their lip, or habitually wrinkles their nose. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to have lots of reasons for the biggest smile, but unfortunately, this one still continues to be the number one reason.
You have most probably heard about this one, unsurprisingly, nicotine damages skin collagen and elastin. This is a reason behind why you can spot the smokers right away, by just looking at the lines around their mouths, called purse strings. (sometimes called smoker’s lines)
Environmental Factors and The Sun
UV lights, bad environment, and aggressive climate deplete the adaptive reserves of the skin, thus accelerating their appearance. Sun is one of the main factors contributing to aging skin, its damage is very substantial. Make sure you don’t go about your day without your go-to SPF.
Dermatologically speaking, the main reason for the appearance of smile lines is a genetic predisposition to a type of aging, when heavy adipose tissue (connective tissue) sinks in, it forms a “skin pocket”, the very fold.
How can I get rid of smile lines?
Here are a few fundamental tips to help you get rid of smile lines:
Protect your skin from the Sun.
Do you still think that SPF products are only needed to protect your skin from sunburn? This is a common mistake that everybody falls for! Ultraviolet lights are destructive to skin cells not only at the beach on a hot summer day, but also on a rainy day. Therefore, you should use sunscreen EVERY DAY. Use the highest SPF when on sunny vacation and renew the coating every two hours. SPF 20 is enough for the usual urban life in other seasons. Are you sure that you know how to pick a sunscreen? If not, our Reading Sunscreen Label post is for you!
IMPORTANT: The use of chemical exfoliation on the skin increases photosensitivity of your skin, and UVA rays (the most dangerous for the skin) “work” all year round. So those who regularly do chemical peels need sun protection 365 days a year.
Moisturize your skin.
This goes without saying really. Every skin type needs hydration and a moisture boost daily. Make sure to regularly use products with moisture-retaining ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, squalane, or Vitamin E. Or, use a hyaluronic acid serum (preferably on a damp face) after cleansing followed by moisturizing.
Use protection against free radicals on skin
Starting from the age of 20-25, include skincare products with antioxidants (vitamins C and E, green tea, plant extracts) in your skincare routine. They will help protect tissues against free radicals (unstable molecules), the main enemies of young and glowing skin.
Can you get rid smile lines at home?
Is removing smile lines for good possible at home? The short answer to this question is No. When it comes to anti-aging measures, everyone understands that it is much easier to prevent the manifestations of age rather than deal with them later. There is a set of measures that will help prevent the appearance of smile lines and folds. Here are a few proactive things that you can do:
Stick to consistent anti-aging routine
Since these folds are connected to aging, it is imperative that you use products that contain powerful moisturizing ingredients, antioxidants, anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol, Vitamin C.
Check this out: 5 Greatest Benefits Of Retinol On Skin
Try massage – Asahi facial massage for example
This is a very specific approach to the problem with smile lines. After all, their formation is directly related to the activity of the facial muscles in this area. By relaxing them the right way, you improve the condition of the skin. Increasing blood and lymph flow prevents the formation of wrinkles in the area.
You can take an annual session of manual facial massage at your go-to beauty clinic, but you can also do it at home according to our schemes – it takes a few minutes.
Asahi massage is basically the stimulation of lymphatic flows that are all over your face. With the help of Asahi, the skin becomes smoother, it boosts skin’s elasticity and makes it firmer.
Step 1: After cleansing, apply the oil to the skin so that your fingers slide easily over your face.
Step 2: Act very gently on the skin, moving in zigzags along the lymphatic pathways (from the center to the periphery and from bottom to top), adjusting the pressure.
Step 3: To work on the corners of the lips, place your fingers on them (three on each side) and make a pulling motion upward.
Step 4: Remove any remaining oil from the skin.
Preventative daily facial exercises
If the corners of the lips begin to sink, this is a symptom of ptosis, which means that not only the skin but also the muscles are involved in the process. In this case, an invasive intervention will be most effective, and massage has proved itself as a preventive measure: elastic muscle tissue will hold the skin in place, preventing the oval of the face from swelling.
Massage and face exercises will help smooth and reduce smile lines.
Daily prevention is the most reliable way to combat nasolabial wrinkles. After all, a lot depends not only on the condition of the skin but also on the elasticity and fitness of the facial muscles. So, do not forget to take a few minutes every morning for these exercises.
It will help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of smile lines. They might feel goofy at first, but trust me, they work.
- Inflate your cheeks, holding your breath for 10-20 seconds, then exhale. Repeat a few times.
- Slide your tongue up and down inside the mouth along the line of the nasolabial folds. Repeat a few times.
- Pull your lips forward, then relax. Repeat a few times.
How to smooth out smile lines with home remedies
We have come up with the best list of homemade masks that you can use to smooth out smile lines. But bear in mind that in severe cases, using certain skincare products or sometimes botox treatments might come in handy.
These masks can be incorporated into your massage routine and can greatly moisturize, calm, and smooth out the skin.
Coconut oil, honey and yolk mask
You will need:
- Coconut oil (1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil (or any other vegetable oil)
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 egg yolk
Slightly soften the coconut oil, make sure it isn’t in total liquid form. Mix the ingredients together until they get homogenous.
How to apply:
Clean your face and wipe it out with your favourite toner.
– Put the mask on the face with a thin layer, leaving the eye area out.
– Massage the area of the nasolabial folds with the fingertips from the corners of the lips to the wings of the nose in a circular motion for several minutes.
– Leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes.
– Gently remove the mask with a soft napkin or paper towel, also gently rubbing it as much as possible in the area of the nasal folds from the corners of the lips to the wings of the nose.
IMPORTANT: If you have acne-prone oily skin, we do not recommend this mask for you, since coconut oil can clog your pores and make you break out.
Aloe and coconut mask
You will need:
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon of aloe gel
- 3-4 drops of citrus or rose essential oil.
Mix the ingredients together until a homogeneous consistency.
How to apply:
– First, make sure your skin is cleansed and well-toned. Apply an even layer of the final gel on the area of the nasolabial folds or on the entire face, leaving the area of the lips and eyes out.
– Gently massage the area of the smile lines with your fingertips for several minutes, lifting with light circular movements from the corners of the lips to the wings of the nose.
– Leave it on for 20 minutes. Gently massage the unabsorbed residues into the skin, remove the excess with a napkin or paper towel.
– You can also use this mask as a face cream by applying a thinner layer.
How to pick skincare products to reduce smile lines
The smile lines deepen over the years due to a number of factors, including a sharp decrease in skin elasticity and firmness. You also need to deal with smile lines in a comprehensive manner, including using daily care products that solve different problems. We have some tips for you:
Moisturizing masks with collagen or hyaluronic acid have an instant effect: they saturate skin cells with moisture, smooth out smile lines.
Antioxidant creams and serums inhibit the oxidation of cells, protecting them from the damaging effects of free radicals and, as a result, from premature aging.
Oils and nourishing creams form a protective film on the skin surface that prevents water molecules from evaporating. (Again, be careful as most oils are comedogenic, they can lead to acne and breakouts)
Acidic serums and peels help eliminate dead cells of the stratum corneum, accelerate cell renewal and reduce the depth of nasolabial folds and wrinkles.
Look for THESE ingredients in skincare products:
Retinol, enzymes, mild acids (glycolic, lactic) smooth the skin and stimulate skin cell renewal.
Hyaluronic acid and collagen provide a distinct visual effect. These substances do not penetrate deep into the dermis, but they form a softening and smoothing film on the skin surface.
Molecules of sugars and glycopeptides have a corrective effect due to their ability to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and stimulate collagen synthesis.
Rhamnose and proxylane increase the elasticity and density of the skin, “push out” the nasolabial folds, reducing its depth.
Common cosmetic procedures to get rid of smile lines
Injectable hyaluronic acid filler
Facial fillers are very popular when it comes to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in general. What happens during this procedure is that after the injected substance fills the laugh lines, this area is massaged to evenly distribute the injection.
Is it possible to remove them permanently this way? Not really. The effect of this procedure lasts about a year. More precisely, these injectable fillers last about 6 to 12 months, then you have to repeat the procedure.
There can be some side effects like allergic reactions, redness, or sometimes headaches.
In simple words, botox is a wrinkle muscle relaxer. A common botox treatment uses botulinum toxins. When they are injected into the area of wrinkles and fine lines, the muscles underneath them weaken, which results in a less noticeable appearance.
The end results are observed within the next few days or so. The recovery time is also short, normally patients can return to normal life after 24 hours. The effect of botox injections lasts for about 3 months.
These are injections of the patient’s own adipose tissue. Fat fills in the nasolabial folds, making them invisible, but compared to injections of hyaluronic acid, this method is less effective, since a significant part of the injected fat can dissolve soon after the procedure.
Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT)
Known as micro-needling or skin needling, Collagen Induction Therapy aims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, laugh lines by increasing collagen production accordingly.
The main idea behind this procedure is to fill in more collagen into the wrinkles, therefore, smooth them out.
It will take, however, several treatments to see the overall result.
The final takeaway
Just like any other part of our body, smile lines should be taken care of properly whether by using home remedies such as masks, or OTC products like creams, serums, moisturizers.
At the end of the day, you are the one in charge of your skin. As our skin ages, the smiles lines and fine lines become more evident. With that said, we can take preventative measures to slow the process down.
And, do you need surgery? Well, that’s up to you. The only thing we can be sure about is that you can’t stop natural aging, and why would you? Just take care of your skin and see what works for you!