You know those deep, fine lines and wrinkles around the mouth and on the upper lip? Those are called perioral wrinkles, and though they seem subtle, they can make you look much older than your actual age.
These wrinkles are commonly associated with aging, but other factors can contribute to exacerbating perioral lines around the mouth. However, don’t lose hope just yet! There are also many proven effective prevention and treatment methods you can try.
Want to know more about wrinkles above your lips and around your mouth, ways to prevent them, natural remedies, and possible treatment options? Then continue reading below!
What Are Perioral Wrinkles?
Perioral wrinkles or lip wrinkles develop above the upper lip and around the mouth without following a precise pattern.
Perioral lines could be more prominent around the lips, on the upper lip, or down the lower jaw.
These can develop to be as deep as the ones seen along the forehead when you exaggeratedly frown.
They can also appear like a few deep creases or numerous small lines depending on the person’s skin quality and cause.
Because they are more numerous around the mouth, perioral region wrinkles become more visible every time you move your mouth even in a minimal way.
Subtle facial expressions, physical strain, or speaking tend to emphasize them.
Perioral Lines Typically Appear In The Following Facial Areas
- Nasolabial grooves or folds (the grooves that extend vertically from the upper lip to the base of the nose).
- Upper chin (where they are called marionette lines).
- Corners of the mouth (such as extensive smile lines).
- Lateral mandibular groove (center portion of the lower jaw).
- Oral Commissures (small indentations along the jaw).
What Are The Causes Of Perioral Wrinkles?
Several strong contributing factors cause the development of perioral wrinkles.
These include aging, exposure to sunlight, smoking, and genetic factors. For further explanation, check out this list:
As we age, our skin naturally loses its elasticity and volume.
So, perioral lines or any other kind of wrinkles and fine lines around lips are often regarded as the products of progressive and involuntary skin degeneration.
Aging results in the gradual depletion of the lipids o fat tissues underneath the skin which are responsible for sustaining its stretchability and assisting the movement of your facial muscles.
Also, aging decreases the skin’s supply of collagen and elastin, the proteins that give it its elasticity and firmness. This results in sagging, wrinkled skin.
This is why some treatment methods aim to boost your body’s ability to produce more collagen.
2. Sun Exposure
Sun damage largely aggravates wrinkles around lips and makes them more aggressive.
Free radicals or the molecules that destroy skin collagen and cells come from the sun’s harmful UV rays, making the skin more prone to wrinkles.
According to MedlinePlus, exposure to sunlight and other environmental skin stressors speed up the skin’s aging.
It can also lead to dark spots, sun spots, or liver spots and increases your risk of having skin cancer.
3. Lifestyle Habits
Lifestyle habits like drinking alcohol, smoking, or constant and frequent exposure to cigarette smoke can also worsen and hasten the skin’s wrinkling.
All of these cause the blood vessels to shrink or contract, reducing blood flow and thus, also limiting the oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin cells.
This can cause damage, loss of the ability to produce enough moisture and collagen, slower cell renewal, or even cell death.
The act of smoking can also cause the appearance of fine lines around the mouth called smoker lines because they are often seen in chronic smokers.
Smoking and acne formation is also associated with each other.
4. Dehydration or Dryness
Aside from the lack or low supply of nutrients, low amounts of hydration also make the skin, especially that on the face, age faster.
Smooth, supple, and adequately moisturized skin is less prone to sagging and crumbling.
Genetic predisposition is also a factor that makes skin creasing worse or appears earlier in some people.
In some cases, the genes also cause the formation of lines similar to perioral lines but are in fact just folds due to the person’s facial structure.
Genes can also determine your hormone balance and susceptibility to other skin problems like acne, which is why hormonal acne treatment methods are quite popular.
Apart from all these, other factors that assist in the formation of wrinkles around the mouth include:
- Chronic diseases that cause the loss of facial skin elasticity and volume.
- Prolonged wearing of an ill-fitting denture or other dental structures.
- Abnormally thin and dry skin that is more prone to wrinkles.
Perioral Lines Treatment Methods
Fortunately, perioral wrinkles can be treated. Some available treatment methods even offer long-term or almost permanent solutions through simple procedures.
Other temporary ways to get rid of perioral wrinkles are also available.
The following are just some of the treatment options currently available:
1. Perioral Lines Fillers
Perioral fillers help plump up the wrinkles and smooth out the skin’s surface.
The American Academy of Dermatology says that upper lip wrinkles can be helped greatly through the use of fillers.
Some filling procedures involve collagen, polymer, or hyaluronic acid fillers while others use fat taken from other body parts.
Fillers take about a couple of months to take effect and are temporary, so they need to be repeated every few years.
Botox is short for botulinum toxin, a toxin that comes from a bacterial species and causes the muscles to relax.
This is effective in reducing facial lines, especially those around the mouth and on the upper lip.
In the procedure, the toxins are injected into target areas without affecting the surrounding skin.
It is mildly painful but requires no downtime to heal.
Results often appear after two weeks and are gone within three to six months.
3.Perioral Wrinkles Exercises
Some people also find that facial exercises or stretches can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
One way to do this is by facing a mirror, holding your lips about an inch and a half apart, and slowly closing your mouth.
Use the upper lip muscles to stretch your mouth rather than the muscles in the mouth corners. Gradually relax your lips and start again.
Santa Maria Runge, in her book “Face Lifting By Exercise”, said that doing this five to six times daily in quick succession may reduce wrinkles in just a week.
4. Laser Treatment
Laser skin resurfacing or ablative lasers also help reduce deep lines and wrinkles using light.
Here, intense light is flashed on the skin to destroy the outermost layer and stimulate the natural healing process and collagen production.
This results in immediate skin tightening, with final results appearing within a month’s time. Redness and abrasion may occur but heal in no time.
Non-ablative lasers, on the other hand, target the skin underneath the surface and cause no redness or scars.
Little to no healing time is required following the treatments. This can also be used to reduce skin discoloration and pore size.
Note, however, that similar procedures like microdermabrasion and chemical peels, although considered effective acne treatments, are not effective in removing upper and lower lip wrinkles.
Dr. Joanna Day from the Dermatology and Laser Center in West Vancouver, Canada suggests consulting your dermatologist to help you decide on the best treatment for perioral wrinkles for your specific needs since every patient is different.
Prevention Of Perioral Wrinkles
As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic about ways to improve and maintain your skin’s youthful appearance:
- Avoid the sun or protect your skin from its harmful rays by always wearing sunscreen and protective clothing like long-sleeved tops, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. Also, sunscreen should be used even when spending the days indoors or outdoors during cloudy days and even in winter. This is also the first step for adult acne care.
- Use products with broad-spectrum sunscreen which is effective in blocking both UVA and UVB rays.
- Moisturize your skin. Dehydration and dryness cause skin cells to shrivel up, leading to premature wrinkles and fine lines. While moisturizers cannot definitively prevent wrinkles, they can temporarily slow down or mask their formation.
- Do not smoke or if you do, quit smoking. Quitting even after years of smoking heavily can still dramatically change and improve your skin’s appearance and help prevent the worsening of wrinkles.
- Consume a healthy diet. Evidence has proven that many vitamins and minerals from your diet can help protect your skin. However, though the role of nutrition is still unclear, eating vegetables and fruits have many other benefits. This is much more effective than other wrinkle remedies or even the best acne products. There are many anti-wrinkle and anti-acne recipes available for you to try.
- Wear sunscreen or moisturizer with broad-spectrum protection and at least an SPF 30. Apply it to all exposed skin areas generously and reapply every two hours or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
- Avoid tanning both from the sun and tanning beds. This exposes you and your skin to harmful UV rays that accelerate skin aging and cause age spots, wrinkles, Blotchy skin, or even skin cancer.
- Test your products, even those labeled as hypoallergenic. To do this, simply dab a small amount on the skin of your inner forearm twice daily for 4 to 5 days. If no irritation or reaction occurs, it is likely to be safe enough for application on the face.
- Follow package instructions and use products as directed. Sometimes, active ingredients do more harm than good when used improperly. Applying a product correctly will save you from skin damage, clogged pores, and other unpleasant effects. This also helps in acne prevention.
- Stop using any product that causes burning or stinging unless otherwise suggested by your dermatologist. Irritation can make aging signs more noticeable.
- Limit the number of products that you use. Using too many products at a time, especially two or more anti-aging and acne care products can irritate and damage the skin.
- Shop smartly. Although most of us assume that more expensive products are more effective, this is not always the case. You can read about or ask your local pharmacist for affordable, effective products.
- Be patient and give the products their time to work. While some products work immediately, most of them take at least 6 weeks to actually show improvements. Some even take three months to work, depending on the severity of your skin condition and the active ingredients involved.
For more ways to fight acne and wrinkles as well as reduce other aging signs, follow these tips from the expert dermatologists of the American Academy of Dermatology:
Que: How do I reduce perioral lines?
Ans: Dermal Fillers also reduce the perioral lines that develop due to loss fat loss and collagen loss.
Que: What is the best treatment for wrinkles around the mouth?
Ans: The fractional CO2 laser is the most permanent and effective way to reduce wrinkles and lines around the mouth.
Que: What causes perioral?
Ans: Loss of collagen and reduced tone of the orbicularis oris muscle can lead to the appearance of perioral.
Because perioral wrinkles are one of the earliest aging signs, addressing them as early as possible can help you look and feel younger longer.
If the tips will not give you the desired results, consult your dermatologist for other possible treatment options.