Wrinkle wrap-up, part 2: How to give smile lines (aka wrinkles around your mouth) the boot

December 22, 2021

A friendly smile can go a long way, so it almost feels unfair that such a marker of happiness can cause deep wrinkles and lines to form around the mouth. As you’re creating more memories, your aging skin is, unfortunately, experiencing slower collagen production and decreased skin elasticity, leading to these laugh lines. Thankfully, you don’t need to stop smiling to get rid of those lines. In fact, smiling more (from stressing less) can help as much as your favorite skincare products. While there are certain steps you can take to prevent wrinkles overall, here are a few pointers for how to get rid of smile lines. 

Look for hyaluronic treatments that can be applied around the mouth

Looking for the best treatment and ingredients in skincare can help soften deep wrinkles and lines. Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating compound that naturally occurs in the skin, but we produce less of it as we age. This contributes to moisture loss, which means skin is drier with more noticeable fine lines. Good news is, hyaluronic acid can be supplied to the skin through topical products and dermal fillers, such as Juvederm or Restylane (if recommended by your dermatologist), the effects of which can last up to a year and a half.  But if you’re looking for a less invasive (and less expensive) option than injectable filler, clinically proven products can also help, especially those with powerful peptides and hyaluronic acid, which can visibly smooth and reduce wrinkle intensity instantly

Besides targeted treatments, try retinol as the foundation to any regimen

Retinol and retinal (derivatives of retinoids) are powerful ingredients for a myriad of skin concerns, but they’re particularly beneficial for preventing wrinkles and reducing fine lines, as they promote collagen production and cell turnover. If you’re worried about potential irritation, look for products with time-released retinol, which works like a slow drip, feeding retinol gradually to minimize irritation and maximize results. With clinically proven products, you should start noticing a reduction in the appearance of facial wrinkles, including those with vertical lip lines around your mouth, in about two weeks. 

Infuse hydration throughout your routine and apply SPF daily

No matter your skin type, you’re bound to experience dry skin texture as it ages. Moisture is critical for maintaining a youthful complexion for aging skin, and if you’re struggling with fine lines around the mouth, you should look to infuse every step (not only your moisturizer) with hydrating ingredients. Cream cleansers with lactic acid and unique natural oils (such as apricot and starflower) can nourish, replenish and protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier for a more hydrated, supple complexion. And as everyone and their mothers have probably told you by now, always wear SPF. This will help prevent lip lines and upper lip wrinkles in the first place. 

Lastly, remember to take a breath

Remember that stress isn’t just stressing you out—it’s stressing out your skin, too. Next time you’re stressed, bring yourself into the moment: Are the muscles around your mouth clenching? Are you frowning? Pursing your lips? These are all things that can emphasize lines around the mouth. Just mindfully loosening your jaw every time you do these things can likely help any targeted treatment or retinol work that much more effectively. And even the act of smiling itself can relieve tension, emphasize cheekbones and help you be perceived as younger than you actually are.  

While upper lip lines, marionette lines and nasolabial folds can be addressed through facial filler or plastic surgery, you don’t have to go that route. Reducing stress, boosting collagen and developing a skincare routine can go a long way in reducing facial lines. You can even consider exploring a chemical peel or laser skin resurfacing treatment as options for treating deep lines and vertical lines.

More about wrinkles here:
Wrinkle wrap-up, part 1: The bottom line on preventing wrinkles? Do these 5 things every. Single. Day.
Wrinkle wrap-up, part 3: Why you have forehead wrinkles and what you can do about it
Wrinkle wrap-up, part 4: It’s time to talk neck wrinkles, from neck lifts to tech neck

References for this information:
Psychological Science, 2012, volume 3, issue 11, pages 1372-1378
Cognition & Emotion, 2011, volume 25, issue 6, pages 968-982
Cleveland Clinic Website, Treatments to Reduce Wrinkles
Mayo Clinic Website, Patient Care & Health Information

About the Author

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Jacki Marzano is SoCal-based storyteller and head copywriter at Murad Skincare. She's shaped the voice of some of the most recognized beauty brands in the business, has a penchant for sharing homemade cookies, and believes SPF is the secret to getting carded well into your 40s.