Treating wrinkles around the mouth is a common request. These are the lines that appear to radiate out from the lips and are sometimes called “smoker’s lines”. However, they develop in non-smokers, too.
These lip lines develop for two reasons. Firstly, the skin around the mouth loses collagen just like the rest of our skin, so it becomes weaker and more easily wrinkled. Secondly, the mouth is very dynamic. It moves all the time, so there is a lot of opportunity for the skin to wrinkle.
There are three main ways to treat wrinkles around the mouth – Botox (or other neurotoxins), fillers, and skin resurfacing procedures.
Botox for lip wrinkles
Botox works by lessening the muscle movement which ultimately leads to wrinkling of the overlying skin. I find that placing a few drops around the lips can decrease the amount of puckering to lessen wrinkles without looking unnatural. The biggest limitation of using Botox to treat wrinkles is that the results do not often last more than a few months.
Fillers to treat lip lines
Filling lip lines can be an excellent way to lessen their appearance. One of my favorite fillers to use is Belotero because it can be placed very high in the skin without much risk of leaving lumps. The filler needs to be placed high in the skin to treat these lines. Other fillers, including Restylane, can also work.
There is minimal to no downtime after this technique and results can last many months.
Resurfacing the lips
The last way to treat lip lines is to resurface the skin using chemical peels or fractional laser resurfacing. Resurfacing works by creating a controlled injury in the skin which ultimately heals with fewer wrinkles.
Fractional laser resurfacing is the newer and safer of these two options since there is a far less risk of developing an abnormal appearance of the skin after treatment. In order to get improvement in lip wrinkles using a chemical peel, a deep peel needs to be performed, and there is a significant risk of getting white discoloration.
Usually, several fractional laser resurfacing treatments are needed for optimal results, but the after a series of treatments, the results can be impressive.