Frustrated by your upper lip lines? You’re not alone. As a dermatologist at a busy Manhattan practice, I can attest that it’s one of the most common concerns patients have.
What causes lip lines? Well, there are several factors. As you’d expect, sun plays a big role. Chronic ultraviolet exposure to the area weakens collagen. Smokers, whether current or past, have more lip lines. And unavoidable use of the mouth muscles (such as for speaking and eating) produces chronic creasing of the skin. Prevention, of course, involves daily sunscreen use, not smoking, and avoiding unnecessary pursing of the lips, as with daily use of drinking straws.
But if you already have your lines, you’re in luck because there are good options for treating them. One of the most effective strategies for reducing lip lines is laser resurfacing. At our dermatology practice, we use and study the most advanced laser systems. In this case, we often reach for our fractional lasers. These may be non-ablative (non-invasive) or ablative (superficially wounding). Typically lip lines do best with the ablative lasers, which require about a week of healing, but the results can be rewarding and dramatic. Future treatments are sometimes necessary but usually only on occasion.
Another great option for lip lines is fillers. Most often we place hyaluronic acid fillers into these lines. We often use JUVÉDERM® for this purpose, but lately we’ve been using more and more of the breakthrough filler BELOTERO BALANCE®. BELOTERO sometimes allows us to inject even more superficially for more blurring of lines. If the fillers are not injected into the lines themselves, then they are placed delicately into the body of the lip for more overall support. Don’t worry! Lip injections should not make you look like a duck, but instead they blend naturally into your appearance. Great filler work makes one look better, not treated.
Finally, we recommend routine skin care that fosters healthy lip skin. We are happy to discuss which antioxidants, retinols, peels, and sunscreens can best protect and restore your lips.
Jonathan Swift once asked, “I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing?” Well, Mr. Swift, given our attention to perfecting lips, we’ll happily take the credit.