Smile lines are an inevitable sign of age, and you could say that they're a sign of all of the happy times you spent smiling and laughing over the years. However, they can also be a real pain if you're trying to keep your complexion toned and smooth!
So what really causes laughter lines, can we prevent them, and is there any way to get rid of them once they've begun to develop?
This article by RenewSkin Inc. is here to address all of those questions and more! Read on to find out what you can do to stop smile lines from getting in the way of your radiant, youthful skin goals.
What Are Smile Lines?
Smile lines, often described as laugh lines, are the vertical lines that run from the sides of the nose down around your mouth towards your chin. To get technical for a minute, there are actually two types of smile lines: nasolabial creases and nasolabial folds. Nasolabial creases are the lines that appear between your lip and the sides of the nose, while nasolabial folds are the areas of skin that hang over the creases.
These are the typical lines around the mouth that you see when you smile or laugh, but they begin to become more permanent over time. These lines and nasolabial folds contribute to the appearance of sagging cheeks and jowls, too.
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What Causes Lines Around the Mouth?
When it comes to any kind of line or crease, you can bet that a loss of collagen is the primary cause behind it. Collagen is the structural protein that keeps our skin firm and supple; without it, our skin would collapse.
When we are young, collagen is abundant throughout the body and this allows our skin to remain smooth and wrinkle-free. Unfortunately, around the age of 20, our rate of collagen production begins to slow down by about 1% each year. This decline accelerates as we age further, with most women losing approximately 30% of their collagen in the first five years of menopause. 1, 2
When collagen becomes less abundant in the body, our skin loses elasticity and it no longer bounces back so easily from facial expressions. This means that those lines that used only to appear when you smiled or laughed are now a permanent feature!
Aside from the natural loss of collagen due to aging, some other causes of a smile line might include:
Sun damage – exposure to the sun's UV rays accelerates the breakdown of collagen in your skin, allowing wrinkles like smile lines to appear earlier than they should.
Smoking – repeated exposure to cigarette smoke also accelerates the degradation of collagen in your body, leading to the development of discolored smoker's lips and, you guessed it, smile lines.
Dehydrated skin – skin that lacks moisture is prone to developing wrinkles like smile lines or forehead wrinkles more quickly than skin that is nourished and hydrated.
Dental issues – sometimes your teeth do not properly support the tissue above, which allows your skin to crease more easily around the mouth
Genes – the rate at which your skin ages will also have a lot to do with genetics, so if your mom is blessed with eternally youthful skin, then you may be too (lucky you). If pronounced laugh lines run in the family, however, you will likely inherit this trait.
More helpful reading: Why do we get wrinkles?
Preventing Smile Lines & Laugh Lines
Laugh lines are an inevitable sign of time passing by, and truth be told, there is no reason to feel ashamed of a line or two on your face as you grow older! But sometimes those laugh lines can become a little more pronounced than you'd like, and when that happens it can be difficult to reverse them.
When it comes to reducing wrinkles, prevention is always better than cure, and the earlier you start taking care of your skin, the better. If you want to protect your skin and prevent the premature appearance of deep folds around the mouth, we've got some tips for you:
Wear Sun Protection
As we have already mentioned, sun damage is one of the leading causes of collagen loss. In fact, approximately 80% of extrinsic aging (skin damage caused by external factors) is caused by UV radiation. 3
So if you want to prevent nasolabial folds, including sunscreen in your daily skincare routine is absolutely essential. And we're not just talking about summertime skin care, you need to wear a broad-spectrum SPF all year round to properly protect your skin from sun damage.
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Avoid Bad Habits
We don't always want to hear it, but the truth is that people who smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol will look older than their cigarette and booze-free counterparts – and that's a fact. By avoiding cigarettes and cutting back on your alcohol consumption, you can have a big impact on how quickly those smile lines form. 4
Lack of sleep is another bad habit we can easily fall into, and it won't help your skin look any younger. A continued habit of short nights of sleep can make your skin more prone to wrinkles, pigmentation, and sagging, so make sure you get your beauty sleep wherever possible. 5
More helpful reading: Alcohol and skin
Eat a Healthy Diet
By nourishing your skin with the right kinds of foods, you can help it to bounce back more easily from day-to-day wear and tear, and reduce the signs of aging in the long term.
Nourish your skin with plenty of antioxidants and collagen-boosting foods like dark leafy greens, tofu, and eggs. It's also essential to keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as hydrated skin will wrinkle less easily than dry skin.
More helpful reading: Clear skin diet
7 Ways To Reduce Laugh Lines, Without Surgery!
Although it's impossible to fully get rid of smile lines, you can reduce their appearance with some good quality skincare and some treatments from your dermatologist. Let's take a closer look at the best ways to treat laugh lines, without any need for plastic surgery:
This is an ingredient that you are likely to find in any beauty expert's skincare collection, and for good reason.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that helps speed up skin cell turnover and stimulates collagen production, making it a gold-standard ingredient when it comes to anti-aging creams. It can help brighten skin tone, unclog pores, and increase your skin's strength and flexibility.
When it comes to treating smile lines, retinol is a great option to try as it has a skin-smoothing, wrinkle-reducing effect. However, you should proceed with caution, especially if you have sensitive skin, as retinol creams can cause some irritation and redness on your face when you first use them.
The trick with retinol is to incorporate it gradually into your evening routine, starting with a low-strength cream once or twice a week and building up from there.
More helpful reading by RenewSkin Inc.: Retinol cream benefits
2. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is another miracle ingredient when it comes to hydrating skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines.
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can attract and retain up to 1,000 times its weight in water, and it helps maintain your skin's elasticity by filling out the spaces between collagen and elastin in your dermis. In skincare, it can be used to hydrate and tone your complexion, reducing the appearance of all kinds of fine lines and wrinkles – including those pesky smile lines.
Whether you find it in serums, creams, or supplements, this ingredient goes a long way in increasing volume and plumping up your skin, which makes for a smoother, younger-looking face.
Hyaluronic acid supplements like Taut Hydrate go one step further than a topical skincare product, as they help replenish your supplies of hyaluronic acid from the inside out. This allows this miracle ingredient to get to work deep into the dermal layer, where a serum or soft tissue filler cannot penetrate.
Our potent formula with plant-based hyaluronic acid and grape seed extract can plump and lift your skin from the inside out, which will help prevent sagging around the nasolabial folds and smooth out those lines around the mouth.
3. Collagen Supplements
Since smile lines are primarily caused by a decline in your collagen supplies, it makes sense that one of the best ways to reduce them is to replenish your supplies of collagen.
Collagen supplements are a natural, easy, and safe way to effectively speed up your body's collagen production process. The best supplements for skin health will contain hydrolyzed collagen peptides, which are tiny molecules that enter your bloodstream and activate your natural wound repair process. When your body detects the levels of collagen peptides in your bloodstream, it will respond by producing more collagen, which in turn will strengthen and smooth your skin.
The trick is to choose the right collagen supplement, as they are not all created equal. The best collagen supplement for reducing smile lines will contain marine collagen (rather than animal), the peptides need to be hydrolyzed, and the supplement should contain a dose exceeding 10,000 mg.
Taut Premium Collagen Drink checks all of those boxes. Every bottle contains 13,000 mg of hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides, sourced from red snapper wild-caught in the Indian Ocean. Even better, our formula also packs in more skin-loving ingredients like elastin peptides, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, ceramide, and vitamins C and B6!
Together, these ingredients work to supercharge your collagen supplies, lift up your complexion, hydrate your skin and reduce wrinkles.
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4. LED Light Therapy
There is a range of collagen-boosting treatments available via your dermatologist, and one of the most popular and least invasive treatments is LED red light therapy.
LED therapy, or phototherapy, uses infrared light to penetrate deep into the lower layer of your skin, where your fibroblasts (collagen-creating cells) are located. The red light stimulates these cells to produce more collagen, resulting in a skin-plumping boost that reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, including laugh lines.
This is a good option if you want a non-invasive treatment that has minimal side effects, as you can walk straight from your dermatologist's office to an event without running the risk of having a red or puffy face! The downside of light therapy is that it can take about three months of consistent treatments to see results.
Microneedling is another collagen-boosting treatment you can access through your dermatologist. Microneedling is a facial treatment that involves rolling tiny needles over the surface of your skin.
This may sound a little scary, but the needles are more like tiny pin-pricks, and the procedure should not hurt. What this process does is activates the wound repair response in your cells which results in, you guessed it, more collagen!
You can also try this tactic at home with cosmetic microneedling products like derma rollers, which have shorter needles than you will get at a dermatologist's office. Any at-home version of this process (dermarolling) can tackle fine lines and reduce pore size, but ultimately if it's deep folds and creases around your mouth that you need to address, an in-office treatment is best.
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6. Dermal Fillers
Another option for anyone who isn't afraid of needles is dermal fillers, which are injectable treatments that can be used to get rid of many different types of wrinkles.
Dermal fillers, otherwise known as soft tissue fillers, use needles to inject a "filler" substance into folds and wrinkles. They work to restore volume loss and fill a crease to make skin look smoother and plumper.
Juvéderm or Restylane are two popular brands of fillers that use hyaluronic acid, which is a great choice of substance for a filler as it simultaneously plumps and hydrates.
Fillers can be a very effective way to address laugh lines, as they can be injected directly into each crease and fold around the mouth, targeting the exact site of the wrinkle. They are also safe, FDA-approved treatments. 6
However, facial fillers also have their downsides. Price is often the first and foremost concern for patients, as injections can cost between $600 and $900 per injection, and that's not for a one-off treatment! Fillers need to be topped up every three to six months. 7
The side effects are another downside, with redness, swelling, and pain at the site of injection being a common occurrence.
Another injectable option for getting rid of smile lines is Botox which, despite its bad reputation and the botched-Botox horror stories, is becoming increasingly popular among women over the age of 30.
This treatment injects a type of toxin called 'botulinum toxin' into your skin in order to freeze muscles in the face. Preventing movement in these facial muscles has a dual effect of reducing existing wrinkles while also preventing the formation of new ones.
Botox injections help lift and tone your face, reducing those difficult to tackle creases and folds like smile lines. Unfortunately, it is costly, with injections costing patients approximately $400 each and lasting somewhere between three months and six months. 8
Although Botox is FDA-approved and generally recognized as a safe procedure, there are some unpleasant side effects like bruising and swelling. There is also the risk of complications, so make sure you visit a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist for this kind of treatment.
More helpful reading from RenewSkin Inc.: How long do botox injections last?
How Taut Can Help Reduce Fine Lines and Wrinkles, Without Needles!
If you want to reduce creases and lines on your face without facing a fear of needles, surgery, nasty side effects, or an expensive bill, our Ultimate Transformation Program could be the answer for you!
This discounted program contains a 24-day supply of our signature liquid collagen supplement, allowing you to take one dose per day for a little over three weeks to experience the maximum benefits our supplement has to offer.
The program also includes a box of Taut Hydrate, our hyaluronic acid supplement which works best when taken in tandem with our liquid collagen. Together, these two supplements can address your concerns and improve your skin health from the inside out. Whether it's dryness, dullness, volume loss, wrinkles, or sagging skin that you're worried about, this program can address them in a natural, holistic manner.
Finally, the program also contains a box of Taut Collagen Masks. These are sheet masks infused with skin-plumping collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, botanical squalene, and vitamin C, designed to top up your skin's radiance and offer a bright, dewy glow while also working to reduce wrinkles.
Try it today and experience radiant, toned skin in just three weeks!
Still not sure? Contact our team or try our skincare quiz to find your perfect fit.