Laugh lines are the creases that form at the sides of the mouth and outer corners of the eyes. They are more pronounced when you laugh--hence the name--but are also caused by genetics, aging and overexposure to the sun. One way to help reduce or prevent laugh lines is to stop laughing altogether. But a much more desirable solution is regular facial exercises, particularly those that target the cheek muscles, to lift the skin and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, says Carolyn Cleaves, who runs the Carolyn's Facial Fitness business.
Hook your index fingers inside the corners of your mouth and gently pull out to the sides, no more than 1/4 inch, says the Shape Your Face website. Do this to contract the orbicularis oris muscle, which wraps around your mouth and controls your ability to open and close it, as well as to pucker and press your lips together, says the DataFace website. Hold this position for a few seconds, then, to work the muscle harder, slowly draw the corners of your mouth toward each other, using your fingers as resistance. Relax and repeat, building up to 25 repetitions. Strengthening the orbicularis oris muscle will help to ensure the overlying skin is adequately supported to prevent sagging.
Place your fingertips over your laugh lines, apply firm pressure, then smile as widely as you can with your lips separated, says FacialExercisesGuide.com. Hold for about five seconds, relax and aim for up to 30 repetitions. Smiling under resistance will strengthen the cheek muscles and lift your skin, minimizing the creases--or laugh lines--around your mouth.
Place your thumbs near the corners of your eyes, with your fingers resting on top of your head, says Carolyn's Facial Fitness. Close your eyes tightly and then slide your thumbs firmly away from your eyes toward your temples. This action should draw the corners of your eyes outward and slightly up, although you won't see because your eyes should remain closed. Relax and repeat 10 times. When you laugh, your cheeks naturally push up, causing the skin around your eyes to wrinkle. This exercise will combat this effect.