Wrinkled lips are sometimes referred to as lip lines or smoker’s lines. They can be described as vertical lines that appear on adult lips and are difficult to conceal. They usually form either on the lips themselves or on the skin on the upper lip.
When they appear on the lips, they form a set of fine vertical lines that stretch from either side of the mouth to the other. Lipstick sometimes settles on these lines and makes them look deeper or darker than they actually are. When they form above the lip, the vertical lines stretch from the lip to the nose (upwards). The upper lip wrinkles are usually deeper than those on the actual lips. They also appear more pronounced.
Some of the causes their causes include:
According to Suzan Obagi, a dermatologist and director of the cosmetic surgery and skin health center, when the skin is normal and healthy, it has a healthy epidermis with a smooth outer layer which protects the skin from injury. It also helps maintain skin color and tone. The epidermis produces enough collagen to keep the skin firm, enough elastin to keep the skin elastic and rebound and GAGs (glycosaminoglycans) to keep the skin hydrated. Aging takes place over the years and by the age of 20, the skin starts producing 1% less collagen each year. The skin as a result starts to become fragile and thinner as one ages. The functions of the sweat and oil glands start diminishing, elastin is produced in less volumes and there is less GAG formation. This explains why wrinkle formation starts slightly.
Aging leads to less production of oil that can cause chronic dryness on the lips especially since they are constantly exposed to elements.
This is a good reason for you to quit smoking if you are a smoker. Smoking speeds up the aging process. The more you smoke, the more your skin wrinkles. The nicotine contained in the cigarette causes the blood vessels on the skins outermost layer to narrow. This affects blood flow and with less blood flowing through your skin, not enough oxygen and important nutrients get to the skin.
Other chemicals in tobacco damage elastin and collagen. These are fibers that give the skin its elasticity and strength. Skin will start to sag when this happens leading to premature aging.
Overexposing the lips to heat from the cigarettes and the facial expressions the cigarette makes you make as you pull on it, like pursing lips and squinting eyes, leads to wrinkles.
Dehydration wrinkles and poor diet
Dehydration happens when the body loses more water than the water it takes in. Water is lost from the body when we sweat, and this becomes harder as we grow older. If the body is not getting enough water, the skin cells become dehydrated. This makes the skin flaky, dry and wrinkled. The skin loses its elasticity as you age due to lack of water in the body. Collagen is mostly water and if dehydrated the strands start cracking and joining together. Wrinkles start forming on the lips surface.
Consuming processed sugars, simple carbs in cakes, highly refined sugars, refined carbs, chips, juices, sodas and fast foods degrades collagen and elastin. These are vital proteins that help keep the skin, supple, soft and springy.
According to research, the sun accounts for the vast majority of aging. This is a good reason to apply sunscreen before you step out into the sun. The research found that 80% of skin aging is caused by the sun and this includes wrinkles.
Using water bottles to drink water
Experts warn that repeatedly using a water bottle to drink water causes premature wrinkles. The repetitive puckering motion as you purse your lips to drink water causes the formation of deep wrinkles on the lips. They suggest using a cup or glass since it has a wider mouth.
Wrinkles around mouth
These are also referred to as perioral wrinkles. They are caused by genetics, age, smoking and sun exposure. There are of three types:
- Smile lines (nasolabial lines). These run from the bottom of the nose to the mouth corners. They are more prominent in women especially as they age.
- Marionette lines. Marrionete lines make the face look sadder or angrier. These are vertical wrinkles found at the corners of the mouth. They make the face get a downturned and serious look. They make you seem angry even when relaxed.
- Vertical lip lines. Caused by regular lip movements and smoking. Pressing lips together as you smoke causes these lines. Waxing and threading the upper lip can also contribute to this.
Lip wrinkle treatment
To prevent wrinkles forming around the mouth, one must practice keeping the face relaxed. Happiness, which is important in life, contributes to wrinkles on the lips and forehead.
Quit smoking if you are a smoker, use sunscreen and moisturize lips to stimulate collagen production.
Eat a healthy diet full of vegetables to promote hyaluronic skin acid levels. The hyaluronic acid will naturally keep the skin plump and firm. These vegetables include okra, potatoes, taro root and sweet potatoes. Avoid eating them too much also since they contain a high concentration of starch and that could make you overweight.
You can treat lip wrinkles through:
Exercises for lip wrinkles
These exercises help tone and shape muscles on the lips. They also help tighten the skin and build facial muscles. This will improve the appearance of wrinkles on the lips.
To reduce upper lip wrinkles, do isometric exercise that act as a form of resistance training. Look into the mirror and open the mouth to create a 1 and ½ inch gap between the lower and upper teeth. While holding the teeth in that position, move your upper lip downward slowly while keeping the teeth from touching the lip. Return the upper lip back to starting position. For effectiveness, repeat once a day five times.
Facial yoga is another exercise that can help reduce wrinkles and irritating lip lines. To do this, place the index finger on the mouth corners so as to anchor the muscles. Draw the upper lip down to cover your teeth and towards the corners of the mouth. Count to five while holding and then release. Repeat for three more times.
Topical products or creams
There are different products available in the market today that can help you boost collagen and elastin levels on your lips. They help reduce the wrinkly appearance around the mouth. The best lip wrinkle creams contain retinol, coenzyme Q10, kinetin or alpha hydroxy acids. Retinol, for example, thickens the deep layers of the skin. Alpha hydroxyl products on the other hand help smoothen the wrinkles.
Chemical peeling and dermabrasion
This involves the removal of the skin’s upper layer for another one to grow. This work best with perioral wrinkles. For better results, do clinical grade peels although the procedures don’t have long term results.
Facelift surgery is used to reduce facial wrinkles and other aging signs. The surgeon lifts and tightens underlying face muscles to create pleasing contours and rejuvenate the structure of the face. The surgeon will also remove excess fat pockets and skin that makes the face look aged or tired. This is the best strategy since it makes you look younger. It’s risky though since it leaves scars and your face will never look natural. Go for nonsurgical facelifts which use laser technology.
use of fillers
This is the replacement of lip volume. Skin fillers are injected into the lip to give them a fuller appearance. Collagen is a popular dermal filler. It can be from a donor or from your own body. This replaces collagen lost through aging to fill the lips and make them smoother. Collagen is cheap and if you use collagen from your body, there will be low risk of allergic reactions. They have an immediate effect but are temporary and last for only 3 months.
Another type is the hyaluronic acid used by most cosmetic surgeons in varying proportions. It’s more lasting and can go for up to a year.
Fat can also be injected to reduce lip lines. Extraction of fat can be done from a part of your body like the stomach. It’s then treated and injected into the lips. Fat injections reduce lip lines and give the face a fuller youthful look. They, however, can cause scarring and lumping, so consult your surgeon before taking them up.
Laser treatment helps smooth vertical lip lines. These resurfacing treatments are either used alone or as a combination with other injectable lip fillets. Beams of high energy are used to tighten and repair skin. Fractional lasers are more popular since they are gentle and effective. They replace damaged wrinkled skin with new skin and trigger the body to produce collagen. The treatment is over several moths to get desired results. The results last for a year.
Side effects include discomfort, swelling, redness and blistering.
Botox is a bacterium that relaxes mouth muscles and reduces vertical lines on the upper lip. The toxin can target small areas without affecting surrounding skin. Muscles regain normal movement in three to six months and one will need to get injections every couple of months for the effects to remain. Side effects are mild although one should not rub the area to avoid spreading these toxins to other parts of the skin.
This is a facial that uses your own blood to promote the skin cells healthy activity. The red blood cells and serum in our body contains white blood cells and platelets. Platelets act as energy boosters for the skin to help it function optimally. It helps increase collagen and elastin and repairs damaged blood cells and vessels.
The surgeon draws blood from the arm then spins it in a machine to isolate platelets. Blood plasma is extracted and spattered on the face using acupuncture needles that help rejuvenate the skin. It’s said to improve wrinkle appearance.
- Scientific American: Why does skin wrinkle with age? What is the best way to slow or prevent this process?
- Mayo Clinic: Is it true that smoking causes wrinkles?
- Consumer Health Digest: Dehydrated Skin Wrinkles: How Dehydration Affects Your Face?
- Prevention: 10 Worst Foods For Your Skin
- Mail Online: Blame the sun for your visible wrinkles: UV rays account for 80 per cent of skin ageing
- Daily Mail Online: Does drinking from water bottles cause wrinkles? Health experts warn repetitive puckering ‘forms deep lines’ around the lips
- The Dermatology Review: Wrinkles Around Mouth