Ever notice how wrinkles seem to make themselves known at the worst possible times? You’re feeling good, getting ready to go out on the town and have a great time, but as you’re putting on your lipstick, you see them: those vertical lines that apparently came out of nowhere above your upper lip. Excuse me, wrinkles, no one invited you here.
Did those lip lines come out of nowhere, though? What causes them and what can you do to get rid of them?
What Are Lip Lines?
These tricky wrinkles go by a lot of names – lip lines, lipstick lines, and smokers’ lips, to name a few. Whatever you call them, these are vertical lines above your upper lip that go up toward your nose. They usually start out as fine lines and can become deeper wrinkles over the years.
What Causes Lip Lines?
Like most wrinkles, lip lines come about from a combination of two major factors. The first factor is a loss of collagen, the protein that makes skin firm, smooth, and youthful. Your body naturally produces less and less collagen as you get older, so lines like these are partially the natural work of aging. But for many of us, that collagen loss happens faster than it should because of sun exposure, which breaks down collagen in your skin prematurely.
The second factor that causes lip lines is repetitive motion. Head to a mirror and purse or pucker your lips. You’ll notice that this movement causes the same lip lines you’re trying to get rid of – just more deeply and noticeably. After years and years of making repetitive motions with your mouth, your skin can develop creases and your muscles that become more rigid in that area, leading to those unwelcome vertical lines.
In fact, that’s why these wrinkles are often called smokers’ lines. The movement your mouth makes as you smoke from a cigarette (or, in our modern era, as you vape) pinches your upper lip into those creases. Nicotine also breaks down collagen in your skin prematurely, so nicotine users develop these wrinkles early for both of those reasons.
What to Do for Lip Lines
Now that you know all about lip lines, here’s the real question: how do you get rid of them? You might not be able to eliminate them entirely but there are plenty of tricks you can use to minimize them as much as possible and potentially get your smoother, younger skin back.
Keep It Hydrated
When your skin is dry, it makes wrinkles more pronounced and noticeable because the skin isn’t as plump as it should be. It just so happens that your upper lip area dries out particularly easily because it’s exposed to the elements so often. Start using a moisturizer religiously to maintain your skin’s hydration.
Try an Anti-Aging Serum
Wrinkles may be a natural part of aging, but you don’t have to let nature make all the decisions. Products like an anti-aging serum are designed to impact the deeper layers of your skin and stimulate new collagen growth. Over time and consistent use, that adds up to smoother skin with fewer wrinkles.
Consider Professional Treatments
If you really want to zap lip lines away as quickly as possible (hello, some of us have social events coming up), consider professional skin treatments. Depending on your unique skin and where you go for your treatment, there are plenty of options: microneedling, chemical peels, laser treatments, cosmetic injections, and more. Just remember, though, that those results don’t stop aging. You need an anti-aging skin care regimen at home to keep the wrinkles from coming back.
How to Prevent Lip Lines (Or Keep Them from Getting Worse)
Treating wrinkles is effective, sure, but what’s even better is preventing them before they happen. Even if your lip lines are already there, taking preventative action can keep them from getting worse. No matter where your skin aging is today, follow these preventative tips.
Block Out the Sun
Remember that chat we had about sun damage and how it speeds up aging? The best way to combat that is by using sun protection on a daily basis. Even minimal amounts of daily sun exposure during your commute, during your workout, or through your windows can add up to premature aging, so sunscreen is a must. It also helps to use lip balm with SPF daily.
Start Using Preventative Skin Care
When is the time to start using anti-aging skin care? No matter what age you are, that time is probably now. Your collagen production actually starts declining at age 20, and the earlier you start using products that support collagen production, the better you can keep wrinkles to a minimum before they begin.
Use an Exfoliant Regularly
An exfoliant, if you’re not familiar, is a product that buffs away dead skin cells and debris that are sitting on the surface of your skin. There are several benefits to exfoliating regularly, but one of them is that it gives your skin care products a clear path to sink into your skin. Your anti-aging products, moisturizer, and more are even more effective, so you get more bang for your buck.
Kissing Lip Lines Good-Bye
Lip lines are frustrating for anyone, but they don’t have to be a permanent fixture. The tips above can help you kick them to the curb and feel free to pucker those lips at will!