One of the most common things I hear from women who are seeking a more refreshed natural look is “how can I get rid of my lip lines”?

photo of a woman's wrinkled lips

Why do Lip Lines Occur?

Lip lines occur as a part of the aging process and can happen whether or not you are a smoker. Lip lines around the mouth are a result of several factors:

  1. Volume loss. As our bodies age, our tissues lose the deep layers of fat which give fullness and elasticity to our skin. This loss leads to sagging and lines, much like a mylar balloon that looses its air over time and gradually forms sags and wrinkles. The lips themselves also thin as we age, and lead to further lines.
  2. Sun damage. Sun exposure causes gradual loss of elasticity and thinning of the deeper skin layers known as the dermis.
  3. Repeated muscular contraction. The muscle that moves our lips when we talk, drink from a straw, or smoke pulls the skin inward in the form of a circle. Over time, this repeated circular contraction pulls the skin and etches lines around the lips and mouth.

How to Treat Lip Lines?

So what to do when you don’t want your mouth to tell your age? There are a variety of different treatments and procedures that can help get rid of lip lines. Here is a list of lip line treatments starting from topicals and moving to more permanent solutions:

  1. Lip plumpers– there are a myriad of topical products which claim to give fuller lips and help to get rid of lip lines. Unfortunately, the average patient gets rather poor results from these products, and none have been shown in a clinical trial to have significant benefits. Price: $7-$14 dollars
  2. Botox– Botox works on lip lines by weakening the muscles which pull the skin into a circle. Using Botox for lip lines is considered off-label. Personally, I do not use this technique due to safety concerns. Even though the chance of causing a weak smile or drooping lip is very small, I do not think it is worth the risk. There are safer and more effective procedures. Price- $60-$120
  3. Dermal Fillers– fillers such as Restalyne and Juvederm work to literally fill in lip lines from the bottom up. These fillers are a synthetic form of a natural component of our skin known as hyaluronic acid(HA). HA attracts moisture and creates volume to erase deep lines. Using fillers in the lips themselves or the vertical lip lines gives a very natural rejuvenated look. The injection process takes about 15 minutes and the benefits last 6-9 months. This can be done on your lunch break with no downtime. There are other fillers such as Radiesse which are used in the face, but I do not recommend using these types of fillers in the lips as they can cause lumps and unevenness. The takeaway- safe, no downtime, temporary. Price- $450-$600
  4. Laser skin resurfacing– when it comes to getting rid of lip lines, nothing can match laser resurfacing for the most dramatic and longest lasting results. I use a fractionated CO2 laser known as the Ultrapulse. CO2 lasers work by ablating old tissue and encouraging collagen remodeling with new, smooth healthy skin around your mouth. In general, a series of laser treatments are needed to get maximum results. What is really awesome about the Ultrapulse is its versatility: I can control the laser to balance results with downtime. For example, I can perform a series of 3 treatments with 2 days of redness and swelling to smooth lip lines, or 1-2 treatments more aggressively with 4-5 days of downtime. In the end the results are the same- smooth, radiant, taught skin without lip lines. Price- $500-$1000
before and after collagen photo of a woman's lips

Here are Some Summary Take-away Points:

  • lip plumpers- save your money for something that really works
  • Botox- not the safest choice and there are better options
  • Dermal Fillers- safe, no downtime, temporary
  • Laser resurfacing- permanent, adjustable downtime.

Call our office (804) 775-4559 today for a consultation on the best method to get rid of your lip lines.