One of the more common complaints we have at Lazaderm is “smoker’s lines”. The lines have different names to include lip lines, lipstick lines and smoker’s lines. Smoker’s lines are not a very good name as most of the patients we see have never smoked. Lip lines are the vertical lines around your mouth and can form on both the upper and lower lips. The upper lip lines tend to be more prominent than those on the lower lip.
Causes of Lip Lines
- Smoking – of course, we have to include this. Smoking leads to premature aging by decreasing collagen production as well as the repetitive use of the muscle surrounding the mouth leading to wrinkles.
- Sun Exposure – 80% or more of the skin’s aging process is due to sun exposure. Sun exposure breaks down the collagen and elastin in the skin. The skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity causing wrinkles to form.
- Volume Loss – as we age we lose significant volume to the area around or mouth both as loss of collagen and elastin as well as loss of the supporting fat in the area.
- Stop Smoking – This is somewhat of a no-brainer but difficult to do. Smoking speeds up the rate at which we lose collagen, elastin and volume around the lips.
- Sun Protection – Daily use of a high-quality sunblock is important to prevent sun damage. Sunblock should even be worn on cloudy days and in the winter months. We prefer the use of Zinc and Titanium containing sunblock such as EltaMD.
- Botox / Dysport – Botox or Dysport can be used to weaken the muscle around the mouth and decrease wrinkling. This will help improve the lip lines but some caution must be used when treating the area around the mouth. Too much Botox or Dysport and may affect your speech or ability to pucker when you sip on your coffee or drink from a straw.
- Chemical Peels – Light chemical peels will show a modest improvement in lip lines and help improve the reflectivity of the skin making the lines less noticeable. Many patients feel that the chemical peels help their make-up appear smoother.
- Dermal Fillers – Restylane or Juvederm line of fillers can be used to treat the lip lines with very nice results. Injection of dermal fillers can give back some of the volume that we lose as we age. The volume will plump up the area decreasing the depth of the wrinkles and then a very small amount of filler can be injected directly into the wrinkles.
- Microneedling or Microneedling with RF – The Collagen PIN microneedling can improve wrinkles by increasing the thickness of the skin through collagen production. The Vivace Microneedling with RF device will be recommended for deeper wrinkles around the mouth.
- Laser Resurfacing – Fractional lasers such as the Fraxel, ProFractional, DeepFX or ActiveFX can be beneficial in the treatment of the lip lines by inducing new collagen. It will take 3 to 6 treatments to achieve results. Full resurfacing with the Erbium Laser or the Ultrapulse CO2 laser will give the best results but also has the most downtime.
The thing to remember about treating lip lines is the fact that it is two different causes leading to the lip lines. The loss of volume and then the quality of the skin. Most patients will require the addition of volume back into the area surrounding the mouth and treatment of the skin.