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11.02.20 - Skin Conditions

The Complete Guide to Getting Rid of Smile Lines

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Words by Antoinette Barnardo

A smile is the most beautiful thing you can wear. But the more you wear a smile, the deeper the imprints it'll leave on your face in the form of fine lines and wrinkles.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Smile lines or laugh lines, which are often found around the mouth and eyes, are indicative of a life well-lived with lots of happiness.

If you'd prefer to keep such reminders concealed, however, we'll tell you how to get rid of smile lines through using well-formulated skincare products and practicing good habits.

What Are Smile Lines?

Smile lines around your mouth are known as nasolabial folds in medical circles. "Nasolabial" refers to the area between the bottom of your nose and the corners of your mouth. Most people are born with these folds, and with age, they become deeper and more prominent.

The muscle responsible for angling the mouth upward — creating a smile — is called the zygomaticus major. The zygomaticus minor muscle, meanwhile, raises the upper lip, exposing a toothy smile. The exertion of both of these facial muscles deepens nasolabial folds over time.

The fine lines that show up around the corners of your eye are casually known as "crow's feet." The medical term is "orbicularis oculi contractions," which refers to the muscle that's responsible for closing your eyelids.

The zygomatic group of facial nerves that create an upturned mouth when you're happy or amused can stimulate the orbicularis oculi, resulting in your eyes squinting or shutting completely as you smile.

Why Do Smile Lines Appear?

Making repeated facial expressions is a common reason for the development of fine lines and wrinkles. That's because your skin's collagen production decreases as you get older. A lack of collagen means your skin can't spring back to its once-smooth state as easily as it used to when you were younger. Your genetic predisposition to wrinkles can also play a role in the appearance of smile lines.

Other Types of Wrinkles Around the Mouth and Eyes

Not all fine lines and wrinkles that develop around your mouth and eyes are created the same way. What you think are smile lines could be something else entirely, depending on where those lines are situated on your face.

  • Vertical lines that surround the upper lip are called "smoker's lips." These lines impact the orbicularis oris, the muscle that closes and protrudes the lips — common, repetitive actions for those who smoke or vape.
  • Lines that pull down the corners of the mouth and run through the chin, creating a perpetual pout, are known as "marionette lines." They affect the depressor anguli oris muscle, which angles the mouth downward whenever you're unhappy. Marionette lines typically develop due to a lack of collagen production and skin elasticity over time.
  • Glabellar lines, also known as forehead furrows or frown lines, are small, vertical lines that develop between the eyebrows. These wrinkles are the result of the procerus muscle contracting when you're upset or confused. Repeated furrowing will create deeper, more permanent grooves between the eyebrows.

The Best Ingredients for Getting Rid of Smile Lines

There are several ingredients that are effective in mitigating or reversing the development of smile lines. Products that contain a combination of actives will provide you with an effective, complete treatment.

1. Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is known for holding 1,000 times its weight in water and providing skin with a plumper, more youthful appearance. This hydrating ingredient is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from its surroundings to the skin. Thus, products with hyaluronic acid are best used in humid environments — otherwise, they'll draw water from the skin, leaving it more dry.

Hyaluronic acid is a common dermal filler used for erasing smile lines. You may know it as Restylane, Juvederm, or Perlane, among other names. Unlike Botox, which smooths wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles, dermal fillers plump up thin, hollowed-out skin. The results of dermal fillers are almost immediate and can last up to 18 months, per the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

However, injectable hyaluronic acid treatments can be quite costly, especially if you opt to go to a renowned plastic surgeon with years of experience. And although long-term side effects are extremely rare, hyaluronic acid fillers can trigger inflammation and other allergic reactions, per a 2007 study in Clinical Interventions in Aging.

As an alternative, you can use a daily serum that's infused with hyaluronic acid plus other nourishing ingredients, like the YORA Revitalize Face Serum. This formula contains YORA's own hyaluronic acid blend of PRIMALHYAL 50 and PrimalHyal™ 300 along with Swiss glacial water to provide intense moisturization, eliminating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Retinol

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and a coveted anti-aging ingredient. It's known for its ability to accelerate the turnover of dead skin cells, leading to smoother skin.

Unlike its prescription-only counterparts tretinoin and Retin-A, retinol is a low dose of retinoids. That not only makes retinol easy to purchase without a prescription, it also means it’s better-suited for all skin types, including sensitive skin. The trade-off, however, is time — it'll take longer to see visible results with retinol compared to pure vitamin A.

Slow down the aging process with YORA's Defence Face Concentrate. It contains retinol to reduce the signs of visible fine lines, including smile lines, as well as lipochroman® to protect the skin from cellular damage caused by free radicals.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient that can make skin look more vibrant by fading hyperpigmentation, evening skin tone, stimulating collagen production, and protecting skin from free radicals that can damage cells and accelerate signs of aging. On its own, pure vitamin C can be highly effective but also unstable and prone to oxidation. Fortunately, stable C-compounds are being developed that will not only last longer but also be absorbed by the skin better.

The YORA Conditioning Face Balm is made with vitamin C, Suberlift™, and CoQ10 to prevent wrinkles from forming and soften existing fine lines. Use it as part of the moisturizing step of your skincare routine or as a primer before makeup.

4. Niacinamide

Niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) may be known for its brightening properties, but this versatile ingredient is also suitable for diminishing the appearance of laugh lines and other wrinkles. Per a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, niacinamide "may have the ability to increase dermal collagen and protein production."

Other Ways to Reduce Smile Lines

In addition to incorporating one or several of the above actives into your skincare routine, there are other things you can try to hinder deep wrinkles from forming around your eyes and mouth.

1. Wear Sunscreen

A daily SPF is the best defense against premature aging. Wrinkle-causing UVA rays are present all year round. Sun damage accumulates in the form of fine lines and wrinkles, and may even lead to a skin cancer diagnosis. Apply sunscreen liberally on your face and neck, as well as any other parts of your body that won't be covered by clothing.

Also, be aware that if you incorporate retinol or vitamin C into your skincare routine, wearing sunscreen daily is a must as those ingredients can make your skin more photosensitive.

2. Try Facial Massage and Exercise

A 2017 study featured in PLoS ONE discovered that you can "significantly" reduce sagging and minimize the appearance of wrinkles by regularly using a massage device along with a firming/anti-wrinkle cream. You can also do facial yoga to potentially tighten the skin around your mouth, although more research is needed on the long-term efficacy of those exercises.

3. Exfoliate and Moisturize 

In your 20s, your skin can regenerate itself in roughly 20 days, but by the time you reach your 40s, that turnover rate doubles. Using a physical or chemical exfoliant at least once a week will remove the dead skin cells that contribute to a dull, rough complexion.

Also, apply a well-formulated moisturizer daily, regardless of whether you have dry skin, oily skin, or combination skin. Keeping your skin well-hydrated will leave it looking younger and healthier.

Taking a Wholistic Approach to Aging Skin

Facial wrinkles, including smile lines, are inevitable for everyone. Treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, or other in-office facelifts may effectively turn back the hands of time for many. But those treatments come at a significant cost, and the results are not permanent.

If you're wary of plastic surgery or injectable fillers, there are ways you can help limit the appearance of smile lines on your own. The results may not be as immediate as treatments like Botox, but eventually, the good habits you adopt will begin to manifest in a vibrant complexion.

Taking a wholistic approach to skincare will allow you to age with grace. Be mindful of what you put on your skin and inside of your body to result in a radiant, healthy you.

Words by Antoinette Barnardo

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