Wrinkles form as skin loses its collagen and elastin, causing it to sag. Environmental factors such as sun exposure, smoking and pollution can lead to premature aging. Facial movements and expressions such as smiling, frowning, puckering or squinting can also create wrinkles with time. As skin loses its elasticity, some lines can deepen into grooves. The parentheses-shaped lines running from the base of the nose to the corners of the mouth are known as nasolabial folds.
First Line of Defense
While you can't stop lines from forming around your mouth, you can slow it down with some lifestyle adjustments. Sun damage can speed up the formation of wrinkles. Always wear a sunscreen (at least SPF 15) with a wide spectrum to combat the harsh effects of UVA and UVB rays. If you smoke, quit. Puckering your lips to hold the cigarettes can create permanent grooves around the mouth. Nicotine also depletes the skin of collagen.
Good nutrition can combat cellular damage of the skin. According to Karen Burke, a dermatologist in New York City, you can promote skin health by eating a balanced diet full of fruits, whole grains and vegetables. She further recommends daily supplements of selenium and vitamin E to stall wrinkles and aid skin repair.
Use topical collagen boosters and wrinkle-fighting lip treatments around your mouth daily. Look for such collagen-boosting ingredients as alpha hydroxy acids, retinol, vitamins A, C and E, hyaluronic acid and copper peptides.
Dermatology and Plastic Surgery
You have taken measures to prevent new wrinkles, but what do you do with the existing lines around your mouth? From prescription peeling lotions to fillers to surgery, you have many options.
A protein derived from botulism toxin, it is injected under skin to smooth out wrinkles. It works by relaxing or paralyzing facial muscles. Botox is an option for fine lines around mouth, and results can be seen in as little as 48 hours. It's less expensive and intrusive than plastic surgery.
*Soft Tissue Fillers
Soft tissue fillers are effective for filling out deep wrinkles. Fillers use fat, collagen or hyaluronic acids to plump up skin, giving the skin more volume, thus smoothing out the folds. Popular fillers include Restylance (cosmetic filler made of non-animal stabilized hyaluronic acid), Juvederm and Radiesse. They promise to restore a natural, youthful look by correcting smile lines and nasolabial folds.
A rapid rotating brush is used to sand down the upper layer of skin, to allow new skin to grow in.
*Laser, Light Source and Radiofrequency Treatments
A laser beam is used to destroy the outer layer of skin and heat up the underlying skin to stimulate the growth of new collagen.
The dermatologist uses an acid to burn the outer layer of skin to allow new skin to form in its place.
There is always the face-lift, a more intrusive process that promises to five to 10 years off your face. The process involves surgery to remove excess skin and fat and tighten the underlying muscle and connective tissue for a younger look.
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