Fine and deep lines on the upper lip and around the mouth are called perioral wrinkles. They are common wrinkles associated with aging and are exacerbated by sun exposure and genetics. Smoking causes upper lip wrinkles, often referred to as smokers’ lines. A number of effective treatments can diminish perioral lip wrinkles.
With age, skin becomes weak and thin, losing collagen and elasticity, which shows up on the upper lip. Facial fillers can help plump those creases, providing a smoother appearance. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, fillers are especially effective for upper lip wrinkles. Fillers used in the injections can include fat taken from another part of your body, collagen, polymer implants or hyaluronic acid. Fillers are temporary and usually must be repeated every couple of years. Side effects are minimal and may include swelling or bruising. Positive results usually aren’t realized for a couple of months.
Botox is the brand name for botulinum toxin, a bacterium that relaxes the muscles around the mouth and is effective for reducing vertical lines on the face, like those seen on the upper lip. Toxins work well on upper lip wrinkles because the small needle used to inject the bacteria can target very small areas without affecting surrounding skin. Mild pain accompanies the treatments, which require no downtime for healing. Results take a couple of weeks to be seen and are temporary. Muscles resume their normal movement in about three to six months, so injections are needed every couple of months to maintain the effects. When performed correctly, side effects usually are mild. You must be careful not to rub the area after treatment to avoid spreading the toxin to other parts of your face, however.
Ablative lasers are used to remove the deep lines associated with perioral wrinkles. They shoot intense dots of light on the skin that destroy the upper layer of skin while stimulating new collagen growth. Skin is tightened immediately, and final results are apparent within a month. Redness and abrasions take time to heal. Non-ablative laser targets the skin below the surface and leaves relatively no scars or redness. Little or no healing time is required following treatment with a non-ablative laser. Very fine lip wrinkles and skin discoloration above the lip can be treated with light-emitting devices, while intense pulsed light is usually reserved for reducing pore size also common on the upper lip.