Nasolabial Folds Treatment And Prevention Options
Nasolabial folds are the lines that extend from either side of your nose down toward the corners of your mouth. Since they are most prominent when you’re smiling or laughing, nasolabial folds are often called laugh lines or smile lines.
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Although everyone has nasolabial lines, they become more prominent with age as the skin thins and sags. These lines can also be highlighted by wrinkles and the muscular tissue beneath your cheeks.
Nasolabial folds are normal and not harmful to one’s health. Many people find nasolabial wrinkles unattractive, especially when they get more severe and create deep wrinkles. There are ways to minimize the appearance of nasolabial lines.
What Causes Nasolabial Folds
Everyone has nasolabial folds except for newborns and those with facial paralysis. That said, some have them more prominently than others, with the following causes to blame:
- Genetics. How the skin ages is determined by our DNA.
- Aging. Normal aging can cause the loss of collagen, as well as other skin firming proteins, to make your skin thinned, weaker and more prone for wrinkles.
- Sun exposure. The aging process is accelerated by UV light, which can lead to wrinkles and uneven skin texture.
- Smoking. Smoking and other pollutants can accelerate aging and damage collagen.
- Weight gain. Weight gain of significant weight can make the nasolabial folds appear larger by making the cheeks look plumper.
- Weight loss. Losing weight or sagging skin can result in a dramatic increase in nasolabial folds.
Preventing Nasolabial Folds
While genetics plays a key role in nasolabial fold development, our environment and our actions also play a role in our appearance. Any product that stimulates collagen production can reduce the appearance and depth of laugh lines.
Simple ways to keep the skin resistant to nasolabial formation include:
- Using moisturizing skincare products that stimulate collagen, such as hyaluronic acid
- Choosing products that contain antioxidants and Vitamin C, which boost collagen
- Adding retinoids to your skin care regimen – but use wisely: pair with moisturizer
- Avoiding sun exposure and never use an indoor tanning bed
While there’s yet to be proof via scientific study, exercise could logically improve the appearance of nasolabial folds by strengthening the muscles of the lower cheeks, mouth and chin. In the least, it won’t hurt to do the following once or twice daily:
- Seal your lips using your hands and puff up your cheeks
- Hold for 15 seconds while you transfer air from cheek to cheek. Do 2 to 3 sets.
- Pucker your lips in a kiss towards the ceiling
- Hold for 15 seconds. You can do 4-5 sets.
- You can also open your mouth slightly and pull back the corners using clean fingers.
- Keep this position for about 2 to 3 seconds. Repeat 10-20 times.
Nasolabial Folds Treatment Options
There are many non-surgical and surgical options available for nasolabial wrinkles. Common treatments for nasolabial folds include:
Dermal fillers can lessen the appearance of nasolabial folds by plumping the upper cheek or the area just below your smile lines. Restyalne and Juvederm are non-surgical fillers that provide dramatic results in a matter of minutes. There’s also no downtime, patients can return to their normal daily activities immediately following treatment.
Skin Resurfacing (laser treatments or chemical peels)
Laugh lines sometimes leave a permanent wrinkle that’s evident even when you’re not smiling. Skin resurfacing treatments, such as chemical peels, laser resurfacing can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Nasolabial wrinkles will often be less apparent if the skin appears younger.
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The microneedling process involves the creation of microscopic channels through the surface of the skin, which leads to formation of new tissue and releases the skin’s natural growth factors which promotes scar and hyperpigmentation repair and healing. The skin’s natural healing process initiates the production of new collagen and elastin fibers, making the skin thicker, tighter, and more youthful in appearance.
Skin Tightening (Thermage or Ultherapy)
Skin tightening procedures such as Ultherapy or Thermage work in similar ways, by creating microscopic damage underneath the skin’s surface to stimulate the body’s healing process. While this can soften deep smile lines, it is primarily used to improve skin’s appearance and make it look more youthful.
Fat transfer (fat grafting) procedures for nasolabial folds are very similarly to dermal fillers, however instead of a filler the patient’s own fat is used to plump the skin. The fat is removed from the area of concern (typically the stomach, thighs), and processed in a centrifuge. This allows for the removal of impurities.
Subcision surgery (nasolabial fold surgery)
Subcision surgery is ideal for addressing the most severe forms of nasolabial folds. It involves the use of a needle and tiny punctures to the skin. This removes the skin from the underlying tissue and stimulates collagen production. Subcision can reduce deepest smile lines.
Which Treatment Is Best?
There will be a different treatment for each patient. Your facial structure, skin characteristics, severity of nasolabial wrinkles, and desired outcome will all determine which treatment is best for you. Consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist is the best way for you to determine how to proceed with correcting your laugh lines.
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