Sometimes the smallest problems can contribute a great deal to an aging look. Oddly enough, small trouble spots can also be some of the most difficult to treat. This is exactly the case with lip lines.
Lip lines, also called smokers’ lines, are those little vertical fissures above your upper lip. Most women get them as the years pass, whether they smoke or not. The process is the same as it is for all facial aging: the skin loses tone and elasticity on the surface while the volume under the skin diminishes. The result is a wrinkled, sunken look.
So what’s the best way to get rid of lip lines? Dermatologists, plastic surgeons and skin care experts have a variety of approaches. You’ll need to do some research and pay close attention to what’s recommended for you and why. Here are some possibilities for fixing vertical lip lines:
One of the first things to evaluate about the lines above your upper lip is how dynamic the wrinkles are, meaning, to what extent they are due to the movement of your mouth. This can be hard to judge since lip movement makes all wrinkles more pronounced.
If a qualified professional deems that your wrinkles are mainly the result of repeated movement, he or she may recommend a muscle blocker as a treatment for fixing your vertical lip lines.
But think carefully before proceeding. Even if the diagnosis is right on, you should know there’s a big risk with Botox treatment for lips. Too much Botox, or injections just slightly off target, can result in unnatural lip movement. In the worst case, improper injections can cause your lip to droop. The risk is compounded by the fact that lip problems are extremely noticeable by others, and that the effects of Botox will last several months.
Injectable fillers are a popular choice for women looking to get rid of lip lines. There are so many fillers on the market today it’s virtually impossible to choose which one is best, and indeed some are better for certain areas of the face than others. Most skin care experts you consult will have a small handful of favorites.
Here again, move forward with caution. You’ll want to know which filler your physician recommends for lines above the upper lip and why. You’ll want them to describe their technique including an explanation of how they avoid an unnatural look (such as the dreaded “trout pout”). Too much filler, the wrong filler or misplaced injections can cause unnatural puffiness and even bumps.
More and more dermatologists and plastic surgeons favor dermabrasion or laser treatment for lip lines. Why? Removing the top few layers of skin can help in two ways. First, getting rid of the dry, dead cells that make up the outer layers of your skin can smooth fine lines and improve your overall skin tone, making lip lines much less prominent. And if there’s discolored skin above your upper lip, dermabrasion or laser treatment will help with that as well.
Dermabrasion and laser treatments generally pose fewer risks than injectable treatments. That’s why many skin care experts advise starting here first, to see how effective these non-invasive options can be. If you want to get a little more aggressive, many practitioners will advise a combination approach including a laser or dermabrasion anyway.
What You Can Do
There’s something you can do to avoid making your lip lines even more pronounced, and chances are you haven’t thought of it yourself. Stop drinking through straws and from water bottles. Since these ways of consuming liquids cause you to purse your lips repeatedly, they can make the skin around your mouth even more wrinkled.
That brings up another wrinkle contributor: kissing. Should you ration your kisses to minimize lip lines? The answer to that is entirely up to you.