Nasolabial Folds are sometimes referred to as “smile lines” or “laugh lines”. These are the line that run from the edge of the nose to the corner of the mouth. They are accentuated when we smile because they attach to the upper lip that also the skin to fold over when we smile. Normally and you will even see them in younger children. Some people are born with them while others do not develop them until later in life. Nasolabial folds will become more noticeable as we age.
- Loss of collagen and Elastin – as we age there is a natural process of losing the collagen and elastin in our skin. This causes are skin to be less elastic and allows it to sag around the nasolabial folds.
- Sun Exposure – This speeds up the process of aging your skin. The free radicals produced when UV rays from the sun hit our skin. The free radicals destroy the collagen and elastin in our skin.
- Smoking – Smoking is a pollutant and plays a role in both the loss of collagen and elastin in the skin but also speeds up the loss of volume in our face.
- Loss of Fat – As we age, there is a normal pattern of volume loss in the face. This is due partially to loss of fat. Smoking speeds up this process. Weight loss can also change the appearance of the face.
- Reabsorption of bone – Just like in other areas of our bodies. We lose bone in our face and skull as we age. This gives less support to the overlying tissues and can deepen the nasolabial folds.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking speeds up the aging process and quitting will slow this down.
- Sun Protection – Protecting the skin by using good quality sunblocks such as EltaMD will protect from the sun’s damaging rays. Sunblock should be worn daily. Also, wearing a broad brimmed hat and sun avoidance.
- Weight changes – rapid changes in weight may increase the depth of the nasolabial folds.
Treatment of Nasolabial Folds
- Fillers – There are many different choices for fillers including Restylane, Juvederm, Sculptra and Bellafill. For less prominent smile lines the area can be filled directly with the filler. Patients with deeper nasolabial folds will likely need to have volume added to the cheek area and the nasolabial folds.
- Skin Tightening – there are a variety of skin tightening process available. The difficulty with any skin tightening procedure is that the results will vary. We have the Venus Legacy and the Vivace Microneedling with Radiofrequency to help tighten the skin.
- Fat Transfer – Fat can be moved from one are of the body such as the abdomen or medial thighs. The fat is injected into the areas of the cheeks and nasolabial folds. PRP (platelet rich plasma) can improve the survival of the fat once it is transferred. ALMI (Autologous Lipocyte Micronized Injection) is a way of processing fat to add volume to your face and decrease the depth of your nasolabial folds.
- Skin Resurfacing – laser resurfacing can have some impact on the depth of the nasolabial folds but is not the first choice. Lasers tend not to get enough skin tightening but can decrease the wrinkle associated with it. Lasers include: Sciton Erbium, Ultrapulse ActiveFX, DeepFX and TotalFX.
- Surgery – A face lift can significantly improve the depth of the nasolabial folds but often requires the addition of volume to the face in order to achieve the best results.