Lip lines: the best way to treat lines above your lip
Also referred to as lipstick lines, smokers’ lines or vertical lip lines, these lines that appear on the upper lip can become deep and pronounced as we age. Applying moisturiser on and around the lips will help to keep wrinkles at bay but as we age there are a number of other factors that will cause the lines to get etched and form permanent furrows.
There are a few different aesthetic treatments that will help delay this process and give you a smoother lip area for longer.
What causes wrinkles on the top lip?
Talking, puckering our lips, drinking through straws, smoking cigarettes…as we move the muscles around our mouths, the skin folds deeply in vertical lines along the upper and lower lips. This repeated action causes the collagen here to get worn down, so we often start to see those lines etching into the skin from the age of 35 to 40 years onwards.
This happens because our ability to regenerate our tissues starts to slow down as we get older. Our soft tissues lose volume, becoming thinner and more dry. Our facial bones shrink back a little, which means less structural support for our mouths.
Our lips become thinner too. This is partly caused by the volume loss and reduced structural support explained, but is even more accentuated because the large circular muscle around your mouth, called Orbicularis Oris that you use to make ‘O’ sounds, gets a bit stronger as we get older, causing our top lips to curl inwards and upwards when we smile, making our top lip disappear a little.
While lip lines appear more quickly in smokers and people that drink through straw often, they shouldn’t be thought of as smokers lines, as they happen to all women.
Lip lines mostly affect women
Lip lines tend to affect women more than men. Sad but true.
In men, the skin and collagen around the lips are saved by their coarse facial hair, where the hair follicles give excellent structural support here.
Because women lack this structural support within the skin, we are more susceptible to collagen breakdown and development of static lip lines that go with it.
The best way to reduce lip lines
There are a couple of treatments which I recommend to my clients to reduce lip lines depending on their skin concerns and what we want to achieve.
Alongside these treatments, I always recommend using topical skincare that we know build collagen from MANY dermatology studies. We will discuss this at length during your consultation.
If you have static lip lines…where vertical lines have already become etched into the skin around the lips, then treatments that can provide a visual improvement include dermal fillers or laser skin resurfacing.
Dermal filler can be injected into the lines or lips to literally fill the depleted skin here with the added benefit of stimulating some of your own collagen production over time. This is great if you’re looking for some added lip volume too. Unfortunately, it does not protect the skin from developing more lines over time, as the mouth muscles are still folding and creasing at will.
If you have dynamic lip lines, when vertical skin folds are seen only during muscle movement, and you want to prevent these lines from becoming static, then botox would be a good option.
Botox can be used in small doses just above the upper lip border to relax the lower fibres of Orbicularis Oris muscle. This means you are unable to make deep skin folds when making an “O” sound or blowing kisses…which is great for preserving your skin’s collagen, but it DOES mean you need to be a little more mindful when you’re wrapping your lips around a straw as you don’t have quite the same control as you did previously!
A happy side-effect with this is that your upper lip will appear larger without any hint of dermal filler…called the Lip Flip by some!
The Lip Flip
The clever thing about this treatment to the upper lip is that it not only stops you breaking down collagen so easily by reducing movement but you also gain a bit of volume on your upper lip by stopping it’s curling. We call this The Lip Flip.
The botox relaxes the muscle that is pulling and curling your lip upwards, which means more of your lip is showing, giving you a fuller lip without having to put any filler into your lip. What this means is you get a much more natural result whilst also providing more structural support, thus reducing lines.
Are there any side affects to the Lip Flip?
It’s important to know these muscles around the mouth are a part of your verbal expression and they are functional so when you have a small dose of Botox here, it will feel slightly different. But you will still be able to talk perfectly normally. However, you won’t have as tight a seal when you try to drink through a straw and the movement in the Orbicularis Orbis muscle will be slightly reduced.
Why Dr Miriam likes this treatment
- Applying Botox to the upper lip is safer than using dermal filler and gives a more natural look.
- Dermal filler is broken down over a period of months, during which time complications such as swelling can arise. Botox is gone from your body within 3 days
- Botox is temporary and your lip will return to normal between 2 to 3 months.
- Botox preserves your collagen by reducing it from breaking down, so wrinkles will form much more slowly.
- Plus you get a bit of your own lip volume back!
To find out more about treatments for this lip area, book a consultation with Dr. Miriam A. She will assess your skin and provide comprehensive information about what treatments are available and give you advice on safety and your suitability for each treatment
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