How to Address Smile Lines at Home

Skin Care

Smile lines, often referred to as laugh lines, are caused by repeated facial movements to the same area and can increase the signs of visible aging by, well, a lot. And although choosing not to move parts of your face while they’re still wrinkle-free is an effective approach, there are other alternatives to help you reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines once they’ve already set in. For tips on how to help smooth the appearance of smile lines, we turned to board-certified and Skincare.com consulting dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. 

WHAT CAUSES SMILE LINES TO FORM?

For some, laugh lines are only visible in the act of smiling or squinting. For others, these lines are permanent features of the face — even when it is at rest. This can happen due to excess sun damage, the natural passing of time, and — of course — repeated facial movements. Unfortunately, the more repeated expressions you make with your face, the more apparent those creases will appear over time. “Smile lines around your mouth are caused by repeated folding of the skin from smiling,” Dr. Zeichner says. “This along with losses in volume in the face that occur naturally with age can cause smile lines to form.” Each time you perform a facial movement, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. With time and the natural loss of skin flexibility, these grooves have a hard time springing back into place and can eventually become permanent. 

HOW TO IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SMILE LINES

The good news is you can still improve the appearance of smile lines without forfeiting your smile. Ultimately, it comes down to staying loyal to a skin-care regimen focused on hydration. “At home, consider a mask designed for the lines,” advises Zeichner. “Many contain skin hydrating ingredients both to plump and strengthen the look of skin.” Keep in mind, however, that these products help to temporarily reduce the appearance of smile lines, but not prevent wrinkles from forming altogether. 

DON’T FORGET BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN 

By now you know that the way you live and move day to day can have an effect on how your skin ages overtime. If you aren’t being diligent with your sun protection, you’re increasing your chances of developing premature fine lines and wrinkles. Turning to skin hydrators that boast anti-aging benefits are a great place to start, but nothing is more important than a layer of broad-spectrum SPF each and every day prior to heading outdoors. Cleveland Clinic recommends using both sunscreen and physical blockers (think: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) to protect your skin from the sun. Reach for one with broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of 15 or higher. For the best line of protection, pair your sunscreen use with additional measures such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — when the rays are strongest.

PRODUCTS TO REDUCE SMILE LINES

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 

This potent blend of l-absorbic acid (also known as pure vitamin C), ascorbyl glucoside and hyaluronic acid is formulated to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, while also improving skin’s overall radiance and texture.  

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5

Turning to a concentrated pure retinol cream can help diminish the appearance of multiple signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. For retinol beginners, we recommend Retinol 0.5 at night. Becausee retinol is a powerful ingredient, it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Follow up with a broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher in the morning. And if it’s your first time using retinol, start out by applying the product once a week to build up a tolerance.

L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask

During sleep, your skin undergoes natural self-repair, so take advantage of this time by applying a hydrating leave-on mask. Formulated with Pro-Xylane and infused with the botanical extract centella asiatica, this night treatment helps plump and re-firm the skin, improving the appearance of facial contours.

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