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They may be called smoker’s lines, but you don’t have to be a smoker to get them. That’s right, I’m talking about peri-oral rhytids, more commonly known as those vertical wrinkles above and below your lips. What makes these vertical lip lines so annoying is that make-up can actually make them appear worse than they are and your lipstick can bleed into them, making them look even worse! Fortunately, there are now some excellent treatments that can help reduce the appearance of vertical lip lines. What makes these treatments so effective is that they attack the root of the problem which leads to the formation of lip wrinkles.

There are 3 main causes of lip lines

  1. Repetitive use of the muscles for lip movement. Every time you speak, eat, kiss, or smile, your using the muscles around your mouth to move your lips. The more we use these muscles over the years, the higher the likelihood of developing deep wrinkles around the mouth.
  2. Thinning of the skin.As we age we lose collagen and elastin from our skin. With less collagen and elastin our skin becomes thinner and more dry. With less skin covering the muscles around the mouth, the vertical lip lines are more easily visible.
  3. Volume loss in the lips.The lips become thinner and lose volume over time. This causes a flattening of the upper lip area and creates lip wrinkles.

Treatment of Vertical Lip Lines

  1. Botox
    Botox injections treat the muscle movement aspect of lip wrinkles. By weakening the orbicularis oris muscle which is responsible for lip movement and puckering, Botox can reduce the appearance of vertical lip lines. However, there is only minimal Botox that can be given in this area. If too much Botox is given by inexperienced injectors then it can weaken the muscle too much and lead to dribbling and drooling when trying to eat or drink. The effects of Botox last about 3-4 months.
  2. Injectable Fillers
    Fillers can be used to add volume and shape to the lips. With fuller lips, the vertical lips lines reduce and lipstick no longer bleeds into them. Fillers can also be injected directly into the area of the vertical lip wrinkles to erase them. Again, this should be done by an experienced injector to avoid the “duck lips” look. Dermal fillers can last from 6-12 months.
  3. Microneedling
    Microneedling has become a revolutionary treatment for lines and wrinkles around the mouth. Microneedling can stimulate collagen production and at the same time deliver small doses of Botox, Fillers, and Vitamin Complexes to naturally rejuvenate the peri-oral area.
  4. Chemical Peels
    Chemical peels treat vertical lip lines by getting rid of damaged skin and stimulating collagen production. This helps thicken the thin skin above the lips and diminish wrinkles.
  5. Laser Resurfacing
    Laser resurfacing works in a similar way as chemical peels. However, it is a more aggressive option and can be associated with some downtime depending on which type of resurfacing is done.

Vertical lip lines are definitely pesky, and the best way to get rid of them is to use a combination of the treatments mentioned above. By addressing all the causes of wrinkles around the lips and mouth you can successfully restore youth to the area.