Byrdie: How To Minimize Lip Lines
I want to start this off by saying that wrinkles of any kind are normal, beautiful, and real. Social media might tell us otherwise, but Photoshop doesn’t work in person. If you google “lip lines,” the first thing you’ll see is a definition: “Lip wrinkles, or smoker’s lines, are the vertical lines that form on the lips of older adults.”
Let's start by saying that lip lines can exist on humans of any age, smoker or not. We move our mouths to talk, smile, breathe, eat, the list goes on. And with time and movement come natural lines. While we think you’re beautiful just the way you are, we tapped experts across the board to find out the best tips and products to get rid of your lip lines, if you want to.
Keep Your Lips Moisturized
Dermatologist Jayne Bird, MD, confirms that the basics do indeed work when it comes to treating the lips. “Keep those lips moisturized!” she exclaims. Bird recommends Aquaphor, or any other lip-nourishing product that relieves dryness and soothes lips by sealing in moisture.
Use a Lip-Specific Retinol
“Yes, our hero ingredient is also wonderful for this little area and will make a difference in the appearance of lip lines by creating and keeping collagen synthesis,” says esthetician Nicole Caroline. “Do not begin applying your prescription retinoids close to the mouth. You need to be careful with irritation, which is why the formula needs to be made for the lip area. Results will not be overnight, but with continued use, it will help in the prevention of [lip lines].”
Not only do lip retinoids reduce lip lines, but they also keep the lips soft and plump-looking and reduce the appearance of minor dark spots. Verso’s lip serum in particular is designed to amplify the rejuvenation process by boosting the skin’s natural production of collagen.
Protect Your Lips From the Sun
According to dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD, SPF is key. “Protecting your lips from the sun is most important, as UV rays degrade our collagen,” explains Shirazi.
Lips are one of the top areas people often forget to protect, and aside from the obvious dangers of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles on the lips are more likely to develop earlier than the rest of the face without SPF.
Try a Lip Plumper
Shirazi also let us in on an insider secret, and it’s one that feels like a win-win. “Plumping the lips also helps reduce lines for a fuller, more rejuvenated pout,” she explains.
So yes, you are reading this correctly. You can rock your favorite lip plumped (with SPF) and get the perfect pout while also protecting your lips. Plumpers with hyaluronic acid can also help to restore hydration and volume.
According to celebrity esthetician Candace Marino, one of the keys to keeping lips youthful is exfoliating regularly.
“iS Clinical makes my favorite lip system, Youth Lip Duo, which contains an exfoliating polish along with a lip serum that is packed with anti-aging ingredients to keep the lips plump and hydrated and also prevents the deep lines that conform around the mouth area,” explains Marino. “The lip treatment should be used on the lips and around the borders to help with the vertical lines as well.”
Use Your Hands
Marino also shared her favorite tip for getting rid of lip lines, and spoiler alert, it doesn’t cost a penny.
“One of the easiest ways to keep the lips plump and youthful is to massage the lips daily,” Marino says. “Pinching, rolling between the index and thumbs, and even tapping the lips will help increase circulation, improving the color and volume of the lips. I recommend this daily; it can be done easily during oral care routine.”
Use a Wrinkle-Fighting Cream
What better way to fight wrinkles than with wrinkle-fighting cream? Celebrity esthetician Natalie Aguilar recommends Biologique Recherche’s Crème Contour Yeux Et Lèvres Biofixine.
“This is a powerful lip and eye cream full of cell-communicating peptides and antioxidants, like squalene, that allow it to serve as a beautiful wrinkle fighter,” says Aguilar. “I love that this product can genuinely fill in wrinkles and fine lines that have already appeared around the lips and the eye area.”
A product that tackles two area concerns? Yes, please. Aguilar adds, “Avoid using straws and pursing lips. Most lines and wrinkles are caused by muscle movement."
“Lip lines are a very common complaint,” Shawna Jones, an aesthetic nurse practitioner with SkinSpirit tells us. “Use this product twice daily [morning and evening] on the skin surrounding the lips to help improve fine lines and wrinkles. This product has a technology that helps break down old collagen and elastin and promotes new, healthy collagen and elastin. The product also contains antioxidants, which battle environmental damage to the skin.”
Like others, Jones also recommends reducing the use of straws and using SPF lip products to help prevent any further wrinkles while combating the current lines in question.
Use Anti-Aging Products
Wrinkles often come with age, so in the quest to prevent lip lines, it only makes sense to seek out an anti-aging product.
“Laneige’s Lip Treatment Balm deeply moisturizes and visibly smooths lip wrinkles to boost the look of lip fullness,” says Amorepacific US scientific communications manager Michelle Shieh. “The main ingredients that help us achieve this lip treatment formula are peptide and adenosine, which are both known for their anti-aging properties and are usually used in advanced skincare for the face.”
Bird’s final piece of advice is a wrinkle relaxer including Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, or a filler like Juvederm Vobella, Juvederm Ultra, Restylane Silk, Belotero, should you be comfortable with any sort of injectable.
“A small amount of botulinum toxin in the upper lip can help weaken the muscle surrounding the lips and promote lip-line relaxation,” says Bird.
What causes lip lines?
Lip lines are the result of muscle contraction as well as chronic sun damage, which break down the collagen in the skin, thus causing skin laxity. The goal of improving lip lines is to slightly weaken/minimize muscle movement and promote collagen generation to improve skin laxity, according to Bird.
How can you prevent lip lines?
While there is a long list of contributing factors to avoid, the easiest ways to prevent lip lines are as follows: Don’t smoke (or vape), avoid drinking from a straw as much as possible, stay hydrated and drink water, hydrate the lips with moisturizing products, and apply SPF always.
Can you get rid of lip lines completely?
Short answer: no. Given the constant movement of your lips throughout the day (and night), lip lines are inevitable to some degree. However, you can decrease them significantly with the right products and care.