Perioral lines, the fine vertical lines that appear above your upper lip, are caused by repeated muscle movement, much like lines around the eyes or on the forehead. While smoking is a key cause, due to the repeated contraction of the muscles around the mouth, ageing, genetics and lifestyle factors also play their part.
Dr Ioannis Liakas, EV Expert and Medical Director at Vie Aesthetics, explains that “the mouth area is one of the first spots on your face that may develop wrinkles. One of the main reasons for this is thinning of the skin due to the loss of collagen, which happens naturally to everyone.”
Besides smoking and natural ageing, several other influences can contribute to the development of perioral lines. “Exposure to UVA and UVB rays, and failing to regularly apply a high-factor broad-spectrum SPF causes collagen to break down faster, while caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body and result in lines around the lip area, as can a poor diet, stress, or lack of sleep,” shares Natural Skincare Expert and Celebrity Facialist Lisa Harris.
However, it’s worth noting that, “women are more susceptible to developing perioral lines than men as male skin is thicker and the exfoliation caused by shaving helps to boost collagen levels. Plus, those with light skin tones are also more prone to developing lip lines as they don’t have natural skin protection from accumulative sun damage,” says EV Expert Dr Osman Bashir Tahir, Founder of Halcyon Aesthetics.
But whether you’re predisposed, a smoker, or simply lacking in collagen in this area, there are several options to help you regain a luscious lip line…
SkincareNina Prisk, Founder of Update Aesthetics, stresses the importance of good at-home skincare for preventing smokers’ lines from occurring and to maximise the results of in-clinic treatments. She says “maintaining a great skincare regime is paramount, starting with an effective cleanser, collagen-boosting vitamin C serum, and barrier protecting moisturiser. Retinol is always advisable because it increases skin cell turnover, boosts collagen and elastin, and consequently reduces the appearance of fine lines.”
Harris agrees, adding that hyaluronic acid and high factor SPF creams are important ingredients in the fight to prevent perioral lines, while Dr Liakas advocates AHA products, saying that they “stimulate new collagen formation under your skin to build up the area to permanently aid in diminishing the wrinkles.”
Injectable fillersOne of the most effective ways to treat perioral lines is with hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. Prisk comments that injectable fillers are her first choice to treat smokers’ lines, saying that “they are the most versatile ‘tweakment’ around and particularly suitable for lines around the lips as it’s an area that has often lost plumpness, so by restoring the lost volume the lip lines instantly decrease.”
Botulinum toxin injectionsAnother widely used treatment for this area is botulinum toxin injections, which Dr Liakas says are “an incredibly effective method of removing perioral lines and improving the appearance of wrinkles.”
They both soften lines around the mouth and reduce the muscle movement and contractions, which helps to prevent future lines.
Radio frequency treatmentsA non-surgical method of tightening the skin, radio frequency (RF) treatments use energy waves to heat the deep layer of your skin, which, research has shown, stimulates collagen production.
“This treatment improves fine lines and wrinkles, boosts skin hydration, increases collagen production and energises skin cells, making it the perfect way to address the lines that many people experience in the perioral area,” shares Harris.
Chemical peelsParticularly effective for use on lip lines, medical chemical peels remove the top layer of skin so that fresh, healthier and younger-looking skin can take its place. According to Dr Liakas, “the new skin that replaces it is usually smoother and less wrinkled in appearance.”
Laser treatmentsThere are two types of laser treatment, ablative and non-ablative, and both are equally effective at combating lip lines. The treatments use laser beams of thermal energy to penetrate deep into the skin.
Harris is a keen advocate of laser resurfacing for treating perioral lines, saying that “they are ideal for use on this area as they encourage new cell generation, collagen and hyaluronic acid production to dramatically improve skin quality and facial contours.”
Thread liftsBecoming increasingly popular, lip thread lifts involve small dissolvable threads being inserted under the skin to smooth out fine lines and increase collagen production.
Dr Liakas is a proponent of treating lip lines with thread lifts, saying “perioral lines can be drastically reduced with the BOCA thread lift for lips. This one-thread treatment involves the insertion of a small thread from one corner of your lip to the other to tighten the skin and create a lifted effect.”
Ioannis Liakas, Medical Director
Dr Ioannis Liakas is a shining gem in the aesthetics world. Prior to becoming an industry leading practitioner, he worked for the NHS for more than 20...Book with Ioannis Liakas
Osman Bashir Tahir, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Aesthetics
Dr Osman Bashir Tahir is a practising consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgeon. He is registered as a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with the...Book with Osman Bashir Tahir