While smile lines may be a side effect of a life filled with laughter and joy, many people don’t consider them something to smile about.
Often counted as a tell-tale sign of aging, these fine lines around the mouth and eyes have been the inspiration behind millions of products and DIY treatments, all with a singular goal–getting rid of wrinkles.
Though laugh lines are not harmful, and they do not pose any health risks, if you’d rather they just go away, we’re here to help. Here are nine proven ways to get rid of laugh lines.
We’ll also share some other helpful bits of information, including what laugh lines are, what causes them, and what you can do to prevent them. Let’s dive in.
- What are Smile Lines (Nasolabial Folds)?
- What Causes Laugh Lines?
- How to Get Rid of Smile Lines
- Can I Prevent Smile Lines?
- Find the Right Solution for Your Wrinkles
What are Smile Lines (Nasolabial Folds)?
Also known as laugh lines, smile lines are a type of wrinkle that mainly develops around the corners of the mouth. Sometimes, they can also appear around your eyes. They are vertical lines that extend from the sides of your nose, curving around your mouth.
In medical circles, the proper name for laugh lines is nasolabial folds. Nasolabial is the name of the area between the corners of your mouth and the bottom of your nose.
When you smile, a muscle called the zygomaticus major angles your mouth upward. Another facial muscle, the zygomaticus minor, raises your upper lip, allowing you to achieve that killer toothy smile.
The more you use these two muscles, the deeper and more prominent your laugh lines or nasolabial folds become.
These two muscles can also stimulate the orbicularis oculi, a different muscle that is responsible for the squinting. This contraction of the orbicularis oculi is what causes the development of wrinkles around your eyes.
What Causes Laugh Lines?
While there a few different reasons laugh lines might appear, aging is the primary culprit.
As you age, the rate of collagen production in your skin decreases. Collagen proteins are what give your skin its elasticity and allow it to spring back to its smooth state as easily.
Over time, your face also loses volume, and the fat pads in your cheek compartments shift and descend. This loss of volume, along with the shifting of fat, causes your laugh lines to become more prominent.
Other common causes or contributing factors include:
- Repeated facial expressions
- Dehydrated skin
- Sun damage
Of course, your genes can also be a major factor in the development of fine lines and wrinkles. For other people, lifestyle factors such as diet, smoking, or sudden drastic weight loss are to blame.
How to Get Rid of Smile Lines
Though laugh lines are a natural and inevitable part of aging, there are things you can do to eliminate them or at least reduce their appearance. Finding the best treatment option comes down to several factors, including preference and whether your laugh lines are dynamic or static.
Dynamic smile lines are only noticeable when you smile. On the other hand, static smile lines can be seen even when you are not smiling or laughing.
Here are some treatment options you can consider when you want to eliminate your laugh lines.
Surgery is probably the best option if you want a permanent solution, and facelifts are one of the most common surgical options to address laugh lines around the mouth and eyes. This procedure might, however, also require eyelid surgery.
Unfortunately, surgery is one of the most expensive treatment options. The healing process can also be quite lengthy, sometimes taking up to three months. Besides the cost and healing process, surgery also exposes you to certain risks, such as infection, nerve damage, and scarring.
2. Hyaluronic Acid/Radiesse Injectable Fillers
Injectable fillers are hyaluronic acid-filled injections that are injected at the crease on either side of the corners of your mouth.
Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating ingredient that erases smile lines by plumping up thin, hollowed-out skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. Sometimes radiesse is used instead of hyaluronic acid.
Injectable fillers are a great option if you want to reduce the appearance of laugh lines without undergoing surgery. The results are noticeable immediately and can last for several months. You can also have the procedure reversed if you are not happy with the results.
If you are considering this option, it is essential to seek a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience.
While botox, or botulinum toxins, are a type of injectable filler, they work differently. When injected near the mouth or eyes, botox weakens the muscles to make fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable instead of plumping the skin.
With botox injections, it takes a few days to see results. However, these results can last for up to three months, though you will need to see your dermatologist for additional treatments if you want to maintain the results.
4. Laser Treatments
Laser treatments are a type of skin resurfacing process that gets rid of the top layer of your skin cells. By doing so, the process aims to reveal new skin, decreasing laugh lines, creases, wrinkles, and skin spots.
The recovery time for laser treatments varies between one and three weeks. You will probably need another laser treatment in a few months to maintain the results. Though pain, swelling, and infection are possible side effects, they often subside after a few days.
5. Collagen Induction Therapy (Skin Needling)
Considering one of the causes of laugh lines is decreased collagen production, the thought behind collagen induction therapy or needling is that you can fill in wrinkles and creases by increasing your collagen levels.
The results, however, are gradual. Many patients need three to six treatments, and up to nine months, to experience full results.
6. Over-the-counter Skincare Products
Over-the-counter skin care products offer you a very affordable treatment option, albeit slow. You can adopt a skincare routine that will provide your skin with all it needs to stay youthful and wrinkle-free.
When shopping, look for options that contain ingredients, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and retinol, which promote collagen production.
The skin around the mouth and in the eye area can be prone to dryness and irritation. If your skin is too sensitive for retinol, opt for options that contain lactic acid, an ingredient that will exfoliate without causing sensitivity or redness.
Remember to use a daily SPF in your skincare routine to help protect your skin from sun damage.
Our team stays up to date on the latest in anti-aging skincare, research data, user experiences, and more. Here are a few of our favorite products:
• Peter Thomas Roth Professional 3% Retinoid Plus
According to leading industry experts, this is a non-irritating option that contains one of the most effective retinol formulas, a derivative of Vitamin A. The retinol encourages cell turnover, eases the depth and look of laugh lines, and evens texture and tone.
• Skinceuticals A.G.E Interruptor
This product reduces fine lines through an advanced formula that helps you attain line-free, soft, and suppler skin, protecting you from the wrinkles caused by AGE (advanced glycation end-products).
• NeoCutis Bio-Cream Bio-Restorative Skin Cream
The product’s innovative formula features ultra-high peptide content and a blend of proteins that will ease smile lines and rebuild your skin’s barrier while infusing your skin cells with adequate moisture.
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils are made from plants proven to offer benefits, such as increasing antioxidants, skin elasticity, and collagen. You will need to use them daily for the best results.
Though most essential oils are included as ingredients in skincare items, you can also find them separately. Some of the most promising options include:
- Rose aqueous
- Rose tincture
- Green tea
- White tea
When using essential oils, be sure to dilute them with a carrier oil like almond or olive oil. We also recommend doing a spot test to see if they cause any allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, serums and oils can’t offer a permanent solution. Your face wrinkles will become more noticeable once you stop using them.
8. Facial Exercises
Facial exercises can significantly minimize the appearance of smile lines. These exercises strengthen the muscles in your face, preventing them from sagging. You could use a massage device or perform facial yoga to tighten the skin around your mouth.
Try firmly placing your fingertips over your smile lines. While keeping your lips apart, smile as wide as you can, holding the position for 5-10 seconds. Relax your face and rest, then repeat the exercises, doing 30 reps a day.
While this option is showing some promising signs, data on the long-term benefits of facial exercises is limited.
9. Facial Patches
Facial patches are patches that you apply to your face, leaving them on overnight. The silicone patches retrain and flatten your skin’s cells and can be used as a way to eliminate smile lines and other types of wrinkles.
Facial patches are available from a wide range of brands in various formulas.
Can I Prevent Smile Lines?
While smile lines are a natural and inevitable part of aging, there are measures you can take to make them less noticeable.
Some of the causes of smile lines can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. For instance, you could wear sunscreen daily to preserve your skin’s natural collagen and prevent fine lines and wrinkles that develop from sun damage.
Drinking plenty of water and reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink will help keep your skin hydrated. Exercising regularly, quitting smoking, keeping a healthy sleep routine, and eating a plant-based diet are other lifestyle changes you can make to improve skin health.
Adopting a good anti-aging skincare routine is also essential. Consider washing your face twice a day and following up with a quality moisturizer suitable for your skin type.
Find the Right Solution for Your Wrinkles
Just because smile lines are a part of the aging process does not mean that they have to be a standout feature. With all the preventative and restorative options available, you can reduce the appearance of wrinkles at the least.
While many options, such as facial exercises, creams, serums, and oils, are a great start to getting rid of wrinkles, we recommend speaking to your dermatologist if they fall short of your goals. Many of the procedures we touched on in this article can’t be performed at home.
For in-depth reviews of skincare products, procedures, and more, check out some more content on our site.