16th February 2023

Wrinkles Around The Mouth: Causes and The Best Non-Surgical Remedies

Last Modified: November 24, 2023

When we think of wrinkles, we usually think of the upper half of our face. Forehead wrinkles, crow's feet, and the elevens, to name a few. But what about the wrinkles that appear in the lower half of our face? Specifically, wrinkles around the mouth can add years to your appearance and make you look older than you are.

The reality is the mouth is usually one of the first areas of the face to develop wrinkles. The good news is that it is possible to reduce their appearance or even prevent them from forming prematurely. Read on to discover the different types of wrinkles around the mouth, what causes them, and how to get rid of them for a more youthful-looking appearance.

Related: The 3 Ds of Facial Ageing

The Different Types of Mouth Wrinkles

Laugh Lines

Laugh lines are the vertical lines that start from the sides of the nose and run around the mouth, sometimes reaching the chin. Laugh lines typically appear in two forms: parentheses lines and the nasolabial fold. The parentheses line is the crease between your upper lip and cheek, while the nasolabial fold is the sagging skin or tissue that hangs over this crease.

So what causes laugh lines? Well, 60% of the appearance of your skin is determined by the genes you have inherited. The rest is due to non-genetic factors. As we age, our bodies naturally produce less collagen and hyaluronic acid. The end result is our skin becomes weaker, thinner and dryer.

In addition, pouting, smiling or other facial expressions that involve oral muscles can cause laugh lines to form around the mouth. Laugh lines can also be aggravated by environmental factors such as the sun's UV rays, wind, pollution and chemicals. This damages the skin and accelerates the ageing process.

For instance, excessive sun exposure or smoking damages the existing collagen and elastin (the protein fibres responsible for keeping your skin firm.

Other factors that can worsen the appearance of laugh lines include weight gain and dental problems (where the teeth no longer support the overlying tissue).

Lip Lines

Lip lines are vertical wrinkles that appear on the lips and extend from the upper lip to the tip of the nose. Those found on the lips appear as a series of fine vertical lines, often extending from one side of the mouth to the other. It is not uncommon for lipstick to settle into these lines, making them appear darker and deeper than they actually are. Hence the name lipstick lines.

The lines above the lip are also vertical and extend upwards towards the nose. They are usually deeper and more pronounced than the lines on the actual lip.

What causes lip lines? Unlike laugh lines, developing lip lines at a younger age is not common. They usually appear from the mid-forties onwards.

Beginning around the age of thirty, collagen production in the body slows down by about 1% per year. As collagen production decreases, the skin becomes thinner and less elastic. The lips, which were full and smooth in one's youth, now become visibly slacker with age.

In addition to the decline in collagen, ageing skin also produces less oil, leading to chronic dryness, especially because it is constantly exposed to the elements.

What about people who develop lip lines in their 20s and 30s? This is often the result of smoking. Hence the name smoker's lines. Smoking produces chemicals within the body that contribute to premature ageing. In addition, the repetitive motion of "pulling" on a cigarette exposes the thin, delicate skin to constant movement throughout the day. This repetitive movement weakens the skin and is the reason why many smokers form lip lines.

Marionette Lines

Marionette lines are definitely one of the most complained about wrinkles among middle-aged and older women. And they rightly deserve their name, which comes from the marionette string puppet. As you already know, it has a split jaw so that puppeteers can easily open and close their mouths to make them look like they are talking.

Marionette lines form in this very area over time, creating deep vertical furrows that run from the outer corners of the lips to the outer corners of the chin. Because of their sagging quality, marionette lines can give you an RBF.

As you probably know, this makes you look angry, annoyed or even contemptuous when your face is relaxed, resting or expressing no particular emotion.

Marionette lines usually appear in people over 40 but can appear in some people as early as their 20s or 30s, depending on your genetic predisposition. If your parents and close relatives were endowed with deep marionette lines, the odds are not in your favour. You are at risk of developing them at an early age.

Hereditary factors aside, gravity is the main culprit behind marionette lines. Over the course of many years, gravity exerts its control over our faces and stretches the once smooth and tight skin downwards and towards the earth.

When you are young, the skin is strong and elastic and can fight off the effects of gravity. However, as you age, the skin weakens, and gravity increasingly gains the upper hand. Soon the skin collects on the chin and often forms wrinkles on both sides.

Volume loss is the second biggest contributor to marionette lines. This is exacerbated by the general loss of volume that occurs with age - the breakdown of soft tissue, fat and structural proteins such as collagen and elastin - resulting in a sagging effect.

Here at Dr. Aesthetica, we're committed to addressing your concerns about lip and marionette lines. Our dermal fillers are a safe and effective solution, tailored to your individual needs. Discover how we can enhance your natural beauty and boost your confidence.

Why Are Wrinkles Around The Mouth More Pronounced in Women Than Men?

Studies have shown that women tend to develop more and deeper wrinkles around the mouth than men as they age. Why is this the case?

The disparity is probably due to the difference in the number of appendages [hair follicles, sebaceous glands] and the connections between the skin and the muscles of the lips.

Women typically have fewer sebaceous glands, which produce the oil that keeps the skin soft, protected and supple. They also have fewer blood vessels, so less blood (and nutrients) flow to the skin in the perioral area. The muscles around the mouth are also closer to the skin than in men, which may pull the skin in tighter and increase the risk of dynamic wrinkles forming.

So it's not surprising that women tend to have wrinkle treatments more often than men.

Hormones also seem to play a role in the skin ageing process in women. This is one of the reasons why women have more wrinkles and furrows on their faces after menopause.

Best Treatment For Mouth Wrinkles

Fortunately, those pesky wrinkles do not have to become a permanent feature of your face. There are a number of non-surgical treatments for wrinkles around the mouth.

Here are the two best ones we recommend at Dr Aesthetica.

Dermal fillers

A filler is an injectable gel that contains hyaluronic acid. It smooths and softens the appearance of wrinkles around the mouth by restoring structure, shape and fullness to the affected area. The result is a natural, youthful look, and best of all; you'll notice the difference immediately. A dermal filler is also quick to administer and can be targeted to very specific areas of the face.

However, be aware that the field of facial aesthetics is not regulated enough in the UK, so almost anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner. Therefore, always check the medical credentials and experience of the filler provider you are considering.

Different dermal fillers are available in the market, and it is up to the practitioner to know which is most effective or whether an alternative treatment is more suitable.

Skin Tightening with Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency (RF), on the other hand, is a unique, non-invasive skin tightening treatment that uses radio wave technology to tighten sagging skin and reverse the effects of ageing. RF skin tightening sends heat into the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate the body's healing mechanism. This leads to neocollagenesis - the formation of new collagen as an inflammatory response to injury. As new collagen is formed, the skin regains tone and firmness. Radiofrequency is also the perfect alternative for people who do not want fillers. It also carries minimal risks compared to other treatments, such as laser treatment.

Get Rid Of Mouth Wrinkles At The Premier Birmingham Clinic

From microneedling to Botox and dermal fillers to RF skin tightening, we offer some of the best non-surgical anti-ageing solutions. If you want to combat wrinkles around the mouth or simply rejuvenate your skin with non-surgical treatments, contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff for more information on 0121 769 0242 or email us at [email protected]

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 16th February 2023
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

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