The lines around your lips say a lot about you, particularly how much you have smiled, smoked or been in the sun growing up. If your lip lines are not appealing to you and seem to have gotten more pronounced, solutions exist based on the type, number and depth of the lip lines you have.
What Are Lip Lines?
Lip lines are lines that collect around the lips. They can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, lip lines that resemble parentheses under the nose and around the lips are known as "smile" lip lines. Many small lip lines found above and below the lips typically appear in those who smoke or have been frequently exposed to the sun.
Shallow Vertical Lip Lines
For these type of lip lines, the best treatments tend to be those that are conservative because the lines have not progressed to more deep, harder-to-treat lines. Options such as a prescription vitamin A cream (such as Retin-A) have been shown to improve the appearance of fine lines around the lips. The cream should be applied nightly and may take anywhere from six months to one year to show results. Another option is purchasing an over-the-counter line smoother (available from most skin care brands), which contains ingredients to plump and smooth lines around the lips.
Shallow Smile Lines
Smile lines are a natural part of aging, and if your lines have not developed deeply, using non-invasive plastic surgery procedures such as dermabrasion or chemical peels may be effective. Dermabrasion uses a specialized wand to scrape away the top layer of skin, revealing fresher, less-wrinkled skin underneath. The treatment tends to be mild and may result in only some mild redness after treatment. A chemical peel does much of the same thing, only a mild acid is used to burn away the top layer of skin, revealing smoother skin underneath.
For Those Wishing to Avoid Injections
The best treatment for those with deeper lip lines who may not wish to receive injections may use laser skin resurfacing. During this procedure, a laser is applied to the skin's surface. This laser targets not only the top layer of skin but also the layers underneath, helping to burn away these skin cells, revealing new skin underneath. This procedure results in more flaking or irritation than chemical peels and dermabrasion.
For those willing to receive injections, deep lip lines are best treated with a substance known as a filler. Fillers (such as Restalyne) are injected at several points into the lip area. These fillers help to boost volume to skin fibers that may have reduced over time. Another alternative includes injecting your own fat into the lips. Fillers or fat injections tend to last anywhere from six months to one year.