Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/03/2021
A lot can change when you aren't paying too much attention. One minute the only lines around your mouth are from uncomfortable braces, the next you're staring at your reflection to find marionette lines, some wrinkles, and one or a dozen laugh lines looking back.
Wrinkles are a normal part of the aging process, but this doesn't always mean they are a welcome part of it.
If you're in no rush to have lines around your mouth and would like to reduce their appearance, we may know one or two tricks.
We'll be checking out the causes of wrinkles on the skin, types of wrinkles to look out for, and the best ways to reduce their appearance.
Mouth wrinkles — or nasolabial folds if you want to be fancy — are caused by a number of factors.
Yes, age is a determinant when it comes to lines forming around your mouth, but it's more of an umbrella cause. The many changes your body undergoes while you age, genetics as well as some lifestyle factors are primarily responsible. The types of mouth wrinkles include marionette lines, smile lines, and lip wrinkles. Here are the ways they are formed:
A little thing no one prepares you for: your skin requiring two business days to return to normal after stretching into a smile, or simply laughing.
As you get older, your body produces reduced amounts of collagen and elastin, two major players in the youthful feel and appearance of your skin.
Without these two components, your skin becomes more fragile and less flexible. This is why it may delay in returning to its normal state after stretching, and why you may notice wrinkles and fine lines around your mouth as you get older.
Sometimes, the lines around your mouth may have a little less to do with your age or collagen deposits, and a little more to do with your mom, dad and grandparents.
Genetics are an important factor when it comes to how quickly your skin shows age. Depending on what the genetic raffle gifts you — caucasians tend to show age a little earlier than most.
Thai women have more severe wrinkles on the lower halves of their faces than Chinese women.
African-Americans have more collagen than most ethnicities, this usually results in a upper hand in skin structural integrity and youthful appearance when compared to lighter skin tones.
The sun is great for a number of things, but preserving skin health isn't in the top-five.
Exposure to UV rays, especially long-term can be damaging to your skin.
These rays are known to photoage the skin. And if you were hoping your nose provided some cover for your mouth, guess again. It is just as open to wrinkles and fine lines without adequate sun protection.
There's a reason smokers are easy to spot, and it may have something to do with having “smoker's face” — lines or wrinkles on the face, facial features looking gaunt, deep lines in the cheeks, and around the mouth, as well as lines along the lower lip and shallow lines around the lower jaw.
While your lips are puckered to enjoy a cigarette, free radicals are introduced to your body which can reduce your body's supply of collagen and elastin. By the way, this pucker also accentuates the lines around your lips. You just made the face didn't you?
So we know the types of mouth wrinkles and what may cause them. The real question is, how do you get rid of the darned things? Thankfully, there are many ways:
There are a number of topical creams that can help with reducing the appearance of wrinkles around your mouth. You may notice that they are all retinoids, a derivative of vitamin A which is one of the best anti-aging ingredients .
This retinoid has great anti-aging credentials. It has been proven effective at managing fine lines around the mouth, among other skin aging conditions.
It stimulates the production of new blood cells in the skin as well as collagen production. Tretinoin is also handy in getting your skin hydrated and maintaining elasticity. Moisturizers that are high in this ingredient may be the best creams for wrinkles around the mouth. It is also available as a gel. Applying it once a day could improve mouth wrinkles.
Keeping the retinoid name proud, isotretinoin is another effective management option for wrinkles and fine lines around your mouth.
It has been proven to improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin even after moderate to severe photodamage. It can improve the appearance of fine wrinkles and coarse wrinkling after extended daily use.
This retinoid is also effective in improving the appearance of wrinkles, even those around the mouth. It has been proven to work on photodamaged skin, helping to reduce fine lines and treat hyperpigmentation.
Topical tazarotene has been effective in reducing skin roughness and thickness. It can also significantly improve coarse wrinkling.
Injecting botulism — a mild form of food poisoning into your face may sound like a scary proposition for your gut, but Botox® is relatively safe and effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
This product helps to paralyze the muscles around your mouth that contract to cause wrinkles. It is however only a temporary solution, and will need re-application every couple of months for sustained results.
Another option to try is the removal of the outermost layer of your skin through microdermabrasion. This method propels abrasive crystals against the wrinkled skin around your mouth, causing mechanical abrasion.
While your skin heals from this, you'll enjoy the goodness of new skin cells with the added benefit of increased collagen density. This is always a plus against reducing the appearance of wrinkles on the skin.
An alternate and pretty cool option to reduce wrinkles around your mouth is to zap them away with a laser treatment.
By directing light energy to your skin surface, laser resurfacing is able to remove the outer and superficial layer of your skin. This helps to reduce the signs of photoaging i.e those pesky mouth wrinkles and other age lines across your face.
Another way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles around your mouth is to have the top layer of your skin carefully removed with an acid.
If reading that paragraph made you squint a little, that's okay — chemical peels are largely safe, and can help to induce even and tight skin while your skin undergoes repair and regeneration. It is also known to increase collagen production as well your skin's elastic performance.
As it’s pretty explanatory name reveals, dermal fillers help to fill in wrinkles, and fine lines. They are also useful for the correction of soft tissue loss due to disease and age.
Having wrinkles around your mouth can be a pain to deal with, but with multiple treatment options available, you may just have the last laugh — minus any laugh lines, too!
Topical products like tretinoin, tazarotene and isotretinoin are useful for reducing the appearance of age around your mouth. Likewise, cosmetic procedures like Botox, laser and others may be useful in managing the appearance of wrinkles around your mouth. More effective measures may be found in surgical procedures to help in regulating wrinkle appearance around your mouth.
Before making any decision to help manage your wrinkles, consulting a dermatologist to recommend the best option for you is advisable.
Insider tips, early access and more.