Unless you go through life never eating, smiling, or speaking, you can’t avoid moving your mouth and lips. While you really can’t skip eating or speaking, you probably wish you could skip the tiny, fine lines those activities eventually create around your lips and mouth.
Lines around your lips, sometimes called “smoker’s lines,” and more formally called “perioral lines,” are often one of the first signs of aging to appear. You might notice them when you are still in your 20s, for example. No matter how old you are though, there are a few ways to fight the lines and get lips that look more youthful.
Protect Your Lips
You know what they say – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protecting your lips and the area around your lips from the factors that are most likely to lead to the development of those lines can go a long way.
First, it helps to understand why people develop perioral lines in the first place. Typically, the lines form after years of repeated movements in the lip area. Along with repetitive movements, which lead to the development of creases and folds, the collagen in the area begins to break down as you get older.
Certain movements can make the lines more likely to appear, such as puckering up when you sip through a straw or pursing your lips when upset. The act of placing a cigarette between your lips and taking a drag on it on it, over and over, can also lead to the development of perioral lines, hence their nickname “smoker’s wrinkles.” The nasty ingredients in cigarettes can also break down collagen more easily, speeding up the aging process. Quitting smoking can go a long ways towards keeping the lines away.
Sun exposure also plays a big part in the development of the lines around your lips and in how youthful your actual lips look. Wearing sunscreen around the mouth on a daily basis will help shield your lip area from the effects of the sun. It’s also a good idea to wear a lip gloss or other lip product that contains sunscreen, and to reapply it throughout the day, to protect your actual lips from the sun.
Consider an Injectable
Fillers can go a long way to helping your lips and mouth area look more youthful. If you are bothered by fine lines around your lips, talk to a surgeon about using a thin hyaluronic acid filler, such as Belotero, in the area to add subtle volume and fill in the lines for up to nine months.
Botox injections might be another option to help you deal with lines around the lips. While a filler like Belotero adds volume to the area, Botox works differently. It keeps you from making the movements that lead to the development of lines and creases around the mouth, so that those lines fade for a period of time. They will most likely return once the injectable wears off and you can make the movements again, but you can also keep repeating the treatment, to keep them at bay.
Fillers are not only useful for treating the area around your lips. They can also give you more youthful looking lips by adding volume to the lip area itself. Typically, a surgeon will use a filler made of hyaluronic acid for lip augmentation. Unlike fillers made of collagen, hyaluronic acid fillers produce a soft, natural result and have a very low likelihood of causing an allergic reaction. Another option for is to use your own fat, taken from another area of the body, to add volume to the lips.
…Or a Laser
Since the breakdown of collagen is often responsible for the development of lip lines, some people might benefit from a treatment that stimulates collagen production, such as laser skin resurfacing. A non-ablative laser treatment, which doesn’t destroy the top layer of skin, is usually ideal for fine lip lines. More deeply etched lines might not respond as well to a non-ablative treatment, though.
If you are concerned about the signs of aging around your lips or are looking for a way to get fuller, more youthful lips, talk to a facial plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Stephen Smith. Dr. Smith is a fourth-generation facial plastic surgeon, with two practices in Ohio. To schedule a consultation with him, call (614) 702-7342 today.