What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your Lips
Staying ahead (or at least on top) of lines and wrinkles around your mouth isn't so out of reach when you’ve got the right skincare up your sleeve…
Wrinkles and lines are all part of getting older and, in our opinion, aging is a privilege rather than something to shy away from. That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t work to minimize the visible signs of skin aging, right? After all, that’s what skincare is here for.
So, let’s talk about what to do with those pesky fine lines above your mouth. Not to be confused with laugh lines (which run from the sides of your nose down to your mouth), these are the fine vertical lines that most often creep up between your nose and top lip, but can also been found underneath your mouth. You know the ones: they're the tiny lines you see when you pucker up that used to disappear. But now? Not so much. What's that all about?
The skin on and around your lips is extremely delicate and subject to a lot of movement from talking, laughing and other facial expressions. All this coupled with the natural loss of collagen and elastin as you age, plus the onslaught of environmental damage (here’s looking at you, Miss Sunshine) means the skin around your lips really does get the rough end of the aging deal.
Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent lines around your mouth. And if it’s too late for that? Not a problem. There are also plenty of things you can do to prevent them from getting worse. Herein, our top five…
5 Ways To Improve Wrinkles Around The Mouth
1. Protect, Protect, Protect
As with most signs of skin aging, preventative care is everything. And this is just as important on and around your mouth as anywhere else on your face – and neck…and hands…and in fact, all areas of skin exposed to the sun on a regular basis.
When we talk about prevention, one thing is clear – protecting your skin from the sun is the single most important thing you can do. And no, this isn’t just a sneaky ploy from skincare and sunscreen manufacturers to sell more SPF, because the facts are clear: the sun is the number one cause of lines, wrinkles and dark spots. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that around 90 percent of all skin aging is caused by sun damage. Another stat for you: people who apply daily sunscreen with an SPF 15 or above show 24 percent visibly less skin aging than those who don’t. Need we say any more?
Thankfully, the rules are simple. Apply sunscreen every day and make sure you don’t miss the area around your mouth. Stick to broad-spectrum formulations that have an SPF value of 30 or more and choose ones that contain mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Also, invest in a sun protective lip balm or gloss to apply throughout the day so your lips don’t miss out on all the good stuff.
2. Use A Targeted Antioxidant Serum
Prevention and protection aren't solely about flipping the bird to that big ball of fire in the sky; there are plenty of other environmental and lifestyle factors that can cause collagen breakdown and consequent damage to your skin.
Pollution, for one, is everywhere and it’s one of the biggest causes of free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that form in your skin when it’s been exposed to stuff it doesn’t like (UV radiation, pollution, a sugar-laden diet, even a lack of sleep). Why are they the enemy? Because free radicals steal electrons from the good stuff in your skin (collagen, elastin and DNA), damaging them and causing what’s known in the skin business as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress = seriously bad news for the look, feel and health of your skin, accelerating the natural aging process and laying the groundwork for premature lines and wrinkles.
The good news is that for every free radical out there, there’s an equally powerful antioxidant to help neutralize them before they get a chance to do their worst. Vitamins C, E and B3 (niacinamide) are absolute winners, as are retinol, botanical hyaluronic acid and plant oils, which are naturally rich in antioxidants.
So, what are we getting at? Simple. Invest in a topical antioxidant serum like Vitamin C Serum and apply it not only to your face and neck, but specifically to the skin around your mouth.
3. Try A Smoothing Mouth Massage
We’re big fans of a two-minute cleansing massage in the shower every morning to wake up and lift the skin but we must admit, our lips don’t get much of a look-in. Big mistake.
You should never underestimate the impact a facial massage can have on your complexion. It not only promotes blood flow and oxygen to the surface of the skin, but it also activates collagen production to improve strength and firmness.
There are tons of different videos on YouTube demonstrating how to perform a mouth massage to help reduce fine lines, wrinkles and even laugh lines. But a really simple way to nail this is to apply a small drop of facial oil to clean hands, then use the pads of your fingers to massage the skin around your mouth in circular motions. Start from the cupid’s bow and work out toward the corners of your mouth. Repeat this a few times then do the same under your mouth.
4. Avoid Smoking… And Straws!
Smoking is terrible for your health and hell on your skin. Tobacco contains a gazillion harmful substances that can negatively impact your skin, ruining its texture, tone, elasticity, firmness and even affecting the color of your complexion. In fact, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, it’s pretty common for the skin of a 40-year-old heavy smoker to look similar to that of a 70-year-old nonsmoker. Ouch!
Not only does smoking increase free radical formation, accelerate inflammation, break down collagen and decrease blood flow to the skin, but it also delivers an extra sucker punch to the skin around your lips in the form of smokers’ lines. Smokers’ lines are caused by frequent puckering of the lips which uses very specific muscles around the mouth and causes a crinkling of the skin. These lines deepen and become more etched-in over time. Their redeeming factors? They have none. Don't smoke. End of discussion.
Of course, smokers' lines aren’t only saved for smokers because there’s another unsuspecting culprit that can cause similar lines around your mouth. And that’s constantly drinking from a straw. Think about it, it's basically the same puckering action as smoking a cigarette. So, if you do it too often it could end up leaving a similar wrinkled effect around your lips. Instead, just drink from a regular glass or cup.
5. Enjoy The Benefit Of A Chemical Peel
If your mouth wrinkles seem to be deepening by the day and are seriously getting you down, you might want to consider an in-office procedure like a chemical peel. Chemical peels are resurfacing treatments that work by removing the top layers of your skin to promote healing and reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and dark spots. They can be light, medium or deep depending on your concerns, requirements and the type of ingredients used, but they don’t come without their downsides, which include irritation, redness and swelling. These side effects are often short-term, however, and usually worth it for the benefits.
Other options at the doctor’s office include things like microdermabrasion and microneedling. And, of course, dermal fillers are also prime for plumping up the mouth area, lending it more structure and softening the look of folds and wrinkles.
Just remember, these procedures must always be administered by board-certified professionals, so do your research and only offer up your face to the very best in the business.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.