Lip Lines: How to Get Rid of Upper Lip Wrinkles
Lipstick lines, smoker’s line, lip lines—there are many names for those pesky, vertical wrinkles that appear above and around your pout.
Whatever you call them, the goal is always to get rid of them.
So how exactly do you get lip lines, and how do you prevent them from getting worse? Just like crow’s feet or forehead wrinkles, there’s plenty of false information out there about how to magically achieve younger looking skin overnight.
We’re here to debunk those empty promises. Instead we’re giving you our best advice on lip line prevention and treatment so you can feel comfortable in your skin for decades to come.
Have a specific question in mind? Use the links below to jump straight to the answer:
- What are Lip Lines?
- Are Lip Lines the Same as Smoker’s Lips?
- How Can I Prevent Lip Lines?
- How Do I Conceal Lip Lines with Makeup?
- What are Cosmetic Treatments for Lip Lines?
- What If I Can’t Get Rid of My Lip Lines?
What Are Lip Lines?
Take a look in the mirror. First of all, hello beautiful! Secondly, do you see any vertical wrinkles running from the top of your lip up to your nose? Yep, those are lip lines.
There’s no need to panic once you notice you’ve started to form lip lines. This type of wrinkle often seems to sneak up on you because they form slowly over time. So even if you don’t have any right now or they’re incredibly fine, it’s still a good idea to start preventative measures.
But before we get to that, it’s important to know exactly why and how lip lines form in the first place. As you age, the collagen and elastin in your skin begins to break down. These proteins are what keep your skin looking tight and soft when you’re younger—hence the onslaught of wrinkles as you age.
An additional side effect of celebrating another birthday is a decrease in your skin’s natural oils. These oils keep the upper layer of your skin (known as the epidermis) hydrated and gives you that supple glow everyone craves.
As these oils start to diminish, failing to maintain a proper hydration routine can worsen lip lines that could have been prevented by a simple moisturizer.
Sun damage is also a significant factor in the formation of wrinkles around your mouth. The harsh UV rays from the sun penetrate your skin and damage the DNA of genes which control healthy cell growth. Increased sun exposure corresponds to larger and deeper wrinkles, making it more difficult for you to get rid of them.
Are Lip Lines the Same as Smoker’s Lips?
Short answer: yes. Long answer: the term “smoker’s lips” comes from the frequent side effect of a long-term smoking habit where deep, vertical wrinkles form around the mouth. The constant pursing of your lips each time you take a puff increases your likelihood of forming prominent lip lines.
Apart from increasing the chances for lip lines, smoking has also been linked to deeper, more prominent wrinkles around the entire face. The nicotine in cigarettes narrows the blood vessels in the outer layer of your skin, which decreases blood flow.
When oxygen and other nutrients aren’t delivered to your skin, it starts to break down and crack. Voilà, the perfect recipe for premature wrinkles! Smoking is an entirely preventable habit, and it can come with far worse side effects than increasing the chance of wrinkles.
The natural aging process of the body is inevitable, but preventing lip wrinkles is still possible. There are plenty of easy techniques you can use to prevent the formation of lip lines and even reduce ones that have already formed.
How Can I Prevent Lip Lines?
Even if you haven’t noticed wrinkles around your mouth, it’s never too early to start the fight against lip lines. By the time you get to your mid-20s, your collagen production declines by a little more than 1% each year.
This slow deterioration of the skin’s elasticity begins to show around age 30—and even if you have amazing skin now, it doesn’t guarantee it won’t become damaged in the future.
The key is to form healthy habits before the lines become deeply embedded in your skin. So instead of diving head-first into costly cosmetic procedures, try these preventative measures first.
Prevent Skin Damage from the Sun
Protecting yourself from harmful UV rays is always a good idea, but it’s especially important if you want to prevent lip lines. The skin around your lips is extra sensitive and pliable, meaning it shows signs of improper care more quickly than other parts of your body.
Pro tip: Apply a sun protection face shield every morning that combines moisturizing agents with SPF. The dual action of hydrating your skin and fending off the sun will keep you skin looking supple and smooth.
It’s a good idea to reapply sunscreen every two hours, but no one wants to reapply their foundation so many times per day. If you don’t want to disturb that flawless contour you spent half an hour perfecting, opt for makeup that includes SPF. This way you can avoid exposing your sensitive skin to the sun while still keeping a runway-ready look from day to night.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Remember the expression “You are what you eat”? Turns out there’s actually some truth to it. A diet full of refined sugars, saturated fats, and empty carbohydrates will eventually manifest in your outward appearance. So if you want to fight against lip wrinkles, it’s time to ditch the Taco Bell and put away the pack of Oreos.
Pro tip: Eat lots of foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, nuts, and whole grains. Antioxidants fight off toxins that break down the structure of your cells; the more antioxidants you consume, the easier it will be for your body to resist the formation of wrinkles.
If you don’t add enough of these nutrient-dense foods into your diet, it’s much more likely you’ll develop lip lines.
Apart from preventing the formation of lines around your mouth, a healthy diet has numerous other benefits for your skin. If you struggle with acne and excessive oil, eating lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables is a great way to get your complexion under control. And for all of you out there with a sweet tooth, fear not—dark chocolate and red wine are rich in antioxidants as well!
Perform Facial Exercises
Just like your arms, legs, and abs, your facial muscles are affected by how much or how little you use them. Strong muscles will keep the skin taut across your face and prevent lip lines from forming as your body ages.
Pro tip: Trade the time you spend making duck-lips in the mirror for a healthy regimen of facial exercises. Close your lips and try lifting one corner of your mouth into a half smile, then try it on the other side. Alternatively, hide your teeth with your lips and open your mouth into a big “O” shape. Try to smile as big as you can without showing your teeth. Repeat these exercises 10 times daily.
Remember, don’t be afraid to feel silly. Facial exercises can feel strange at first, but just like learning a new yoga pose, your body gets used to the movement over time. Preventing lip lines takes commitment, and you’re going to have to put in a little work to maintain that youthful glow.
Exfoliate Your Lips
Think of this preventative measure as if you were planting a garden—do you think flowers would grow better in fresh, moist soil or in old, dry soil?
The same logic works for your skin. If you keep your skin vitalized and flourishing, the more likely you’ll regenerate healthy cells that slow the development of lip lines.
Pro tip: Make an easy DIY sugar scrub that not only clears away dead skin, but tastes delicious too! Combine 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon honey in a small bowl. Gently rub the mixture over your lips and the skin above your mouth for a few minutes. Wash with warm water or lick off the scrub to reveal a supple pout.
Using an exfoliator twice a week will make your mouth softer and encourage new cell growth. Make sure that your skin care routine remains consistent—it usually takes two to three months for your face to fully respond to a new technique.
Choose the Right Facial Wash
Apart from the sugar scrub, it’s critical that you washing your entire face with a gentle cleanser instead of a soap. Why? Strong soaps can be abrasive on the delicate skin around your lips and wipe away the natural oils in your skin that keep you hydrated.
Pro tip: Avoid any facial cleansers that have a strong scent. If it smells like perfume, it’s likely there are unnatural chemicals in the soap that can dry and damage your skin. Pick a cleanser that is unscented or is infused with natural oils like rose or lavender.
Avoid Using Straws
While this might seem like a silly way to prevent lip lines, it follows the same principle that got these pesky wrinkles nicknamed “smoker’s lips.” Like a cigarette, a straw forces you to purse your lips to draw out liquid from your cup. The repeated motion of puckering your lips etches wrinkles in the skin around your mouth.
Pro tip: Pour drinks into a coffee mug that has a lid with a small opening so you can sip the drink without sucking on a straw.
Use Natural Home Remedies
While there isn’t much evidence that home remedies truly prevent lip lines from forming, the natural properties found in food items such as cinnamon and pineapple do have beneficial qualities. These ingredients have been used in homeopathic medicine for centuries, and it’s a cheap way to stave off the aging process.
Pro tip: Try patting fresh pineapple juice over your lip lines and let it set for about 15 minutes before wiping off.
Repeat this a few times a week to boost your skin’s production of collagen and fight those fine lines. Alternatively, mix a healthy pinch of cinnamon powder with a natural oil and rub it into your skin. Cinnamon is known to stimulate blood flow, which then brings increased levels of oxygen and nutrients to the treated area.
How Do I Conceal Lip Lines with Makeup?
If you feel like you’re losing the battle against lip lines but are hesitant about cosmetic procedures, there are plenty of great techniques to hide your wrinkles with makeup.
First, start with a good primer and use a finger to tap some above your upper lip to temporarily fill in the lines. Then apply a light or medium-coverage foundation—heavy liquid foundation can actually increase the look of wrinkles by settling into the crevices. Airbrush foundation is the best way to blur lip lines, but don’t feel the need to drop a ton of dough on a fancy new makeup regimen.
Perfect your pout by choosing a lip liner that is just one shade darker than your lipstick. This ensures you won’t have a strange dark ring around your lips if your lipstick wears off during the day. Plus, a good liner will prevent your lipstick from melting off and running into the wrinkles around your mouth—we don’t want you looking like The Joker.
For the finishing touch, add a swipe of highlighting gel or champagne colored eye shadow to the divot between your upper lip and nose. This little basin will naturally catch the light and act as a focal point that draws attention away from stubborn lip lines.
What are Cosmetic Treatments for Lip Lines?
If you already have deep lines around your mouth, there are many cosmetic lip line treatments that can help reverse the appearance of these pesky creases. Before deciding to pursue a more aggressive treatment for lip lines, be sure to chat with your doctor about the risks of cosmetic surgery.
Use a Lip Serum
Applying a wrinkle serum to your lip lines is the gentlest way to reduce the visual appearance of fine lines. When combined with a normal skin care routine, it can actually be quite effective for women with mild to moderate wrinkles. Because the skin around both your lips and eyes are similar in their delicacy, you’ll often find serums that are used to hydrate and plump both areas of your face.
When searching for the right wrinkle serum, there are a few key ingredients to keep in mind. Hyaluronic acid may sound scary, but it’s actually a major player in maintaining hydrated skin. Vitamin C is also used to boost the creation of collagen in aging cells, giving your skin a plumper, more natural look without ever having to go under a needle.
For the best results, use a wrinkle serum right after cleansing your skin at night. That way the serum has several hours to sink into your skin and work its magic. The beauty of serums is that they come in such high concentration that you only need a few drops to apply an effective coating to the upper lip, ensuring you don’t have to run to the drug store every week for a new bottle.
It’s also important to select a formula that works best with your own unique skin no matter how much your friends or internet bloggers talk up a certain product. Is your face typically oily, dry, acne-prone, or all three? Based on your complexion, choose a serum that will work well with your skin’s natural tendencies—you don’t want to fix one problem by creating another.
Lights, Peels, and Lasers: The Trifecta
Are lip line serums not doing it for you? The next step up is to try a combination of laser treatments and facial peels that treat the uppermost layer of your skin. This style of treatment is typically painless and doesn’t involve any sharp needles. The downside? There’s often some recovery time, typically a few days, where you might experience redness or irritation.
Laser treatments use concentrated beams of heat to remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of healthy, new cells below. Depending on the depth of your lip lines, you might need to go back for multiple treatments or opt for a more aggressive, one-time procedure.
Chemical peels and dermabrasions scrape away the epidermis and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in the newly revealed cells. These are usually good methods for blurring fine lines and energizing dull skin, but aren’t typically the best option for deep creases.
Microneedling has become an increasingly popular treatment because it utilizes the body’s natural healing processes to banish mouth wrinkles. For all you needlephobes out there, this process is relatively painless and uses tiny needles that are only 1 millimeter long. A dermaroller tool punctures hundreds of microscopic holes in your skin to kick your body into healing mode, spiking the production of collagen in wrinkled skin.
While some of these treatments are possible to perform at home, it’s highly recommended that you go to a professional to get them done. If you have an active acne breakout or experience eczema, these techniques could inflame your symptoms and are probably not the best lip treatment for you.
Try Wrinkle Fillers
If you’ve tried every face peel and laser procedure under the sun and still can’t get your lip lines to go away, it may be time to try wrinkle fillers. This treatment uses a needle to inject hyaluronic-acid based dermal fillers to plump up your skin and smooth out those deep wrinkles.
This technique works especially well for older women because aging cells are incapable of producing the necessary amount of hyaluronic acid to stave off lip lines. There are many different types of wrinkle fillers, so it’s critical to do extensive research and consult an experienced cosmetic surgeon before opting for this treatment.
For most patients, lip fillers will last for about 6 months before they have to return for another treatment. Fillers can be an extremely effective way of reducing lip lines, but they’re also rather pricey and can look unnatural if done incorrectly.
Neuromodulator Injections (AKA Botox)
Similar to wrinkle fillers, neuromodulator injections use a needle to reduce the appearance of lip lines. But unlike fillers, these injections (the most common one being Botox), block nerve signals so the treated muscle can no longer contract. If your muscles can’t move, then wrinkles can’t form.
Apart from paralyzing the muscles to smooth out the visual appearance of lip lines, Botox can help plump up your lips to give you a fuller looking pout. Two birds with one stone!
Not only does Botox help get rid of lip lines, but it’s also effective at preventing the development of future lines and deeper wrinkles. Results typically last between three to six months.
Get a “Vampire Facial”
Popularized by reality TV star Kim Kardashian, the “vampire facial” is a wrinkle treatment technique that uses your own plasma to stimulate the natural production of collagen in your cells. Sound spooky? While it’s a safe procedure, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
This technique starts with a standard blood draw as if you were donating blood to the Red Cross. It’s then filtered to extract the isolated plasma platelets, and slathered onto your face after an extensive microdermabrasion or microneedling session.
Luckily this treatment doesn’t take long to recover from and many patients report its success at reducing the signs of aging. While it may work better for full-facial results, it can certainly be effective on your stubborn lip lines.
What If I Can’t Get Rid of My Lip Lines?
Unfortunately, completely erasing all signs of age is impossible. But if you’re having a difficult time getting rid of stubborn lip lines, remember that wrinkles just tell the story of the wonderful life you’ve lived. All those smiles, laughs, and looks of awe formed your lip lines, so try to relish those memories instead of critiquing yourself in the mirror.
However, if you take preventative measures to keep your skin healthy, you’re already on the right track to maintaining youthful skin well into middle age. Colorescience offers a variety of skin perfectors and UV protectors to help you fight the battle against lip lines and maintain a glowing complexion 24/7. Are you ready to get started?