A great smile is a thing of beauty. But like everything of value, it comes with a cost. In this case, the cost are smile lines, (sometimes called “laugh lines”). The older you get and, ironically, the happier you are—the deeper and more noticeable these smile lines are going to get.
But that doesn’t mean they’re either inevitable or untreatable. A good skincare routine can go a long way toward fending off smile lines. But even so, it may not be enough to prevent them altogether. Below, we’re going to put smile lines under the microscope and provide ways for you to deal with them.
What Causes Smile Lines?
Like most types of fine lines and wrinkles, smile lines have a number of causes, including:
- Years of repetitive muscle contractions - We all know you have to take the bad with the good. And nowhere is that statement truer than when it comes to smile lines. Years of being happy and letting it show on your face are going to cause your skin to crease in certain places.
- Exposure to sunlight - We love the sun, but it doesn't necessarily love our skin. UV rays penetrate the skin and damage collagen in the supporting layers. This causes the outer layer of skin to lose its integrity, dry out, and get wrinkled.
- Dehydration - Are you drinking 6 to 8 cups of water every day? If you're an average size woman and you're not, then your skin is going to suffer as a result. Although most people aren't aware of it, dehydration or underhydration, is one of the major causes of dry, wrinkled skin.
- Age - As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen. As a result, our skin begins to sag, lose its elasticity, and wrinkles. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize age-related damage. And we’ll get into those shortly.
When Do Smile Lines Likely Appear?
Smile lines typically begin to appear when people are in their mid to late 20’s but that’s far from etched in stone. Some people will never develop smile lines while others start to show signs of them as early as their late teens. A lot of it has to do with how much-unprotected sun exposure you get and whether you drink enough water.
How to Get Rid of Smile Lines Quickly?
To get rid of smile lines quickly, you’ll want to take advantage of one of the many effective clinical procedures available today. Let’s look at the top 5 now.
Top 5 Clinical Treatments for Reducing Smile Lines
Cosmetic dermatology has come a long way in the past 30 or so years. Today, there are a number of treatments available for dealing with smile lines, regardless of how numerous or deep they are. Here are 5 of the most popular clinical treatments for smile lines:
- Fillers - There are 2 kinds of dermal fillers being offered today. The first kind is an inert substance that’s simply injected into the derma below a smile line. It literally fills up the space, pushing the skin above it outward. The other type consists of compounds that are injected into the skin and paralyzes the muscles that create the lines (we’ll get into those momentarily) or hyaluronic acid which rejuvenates the ability of your skin to retain water. According to Dr. Jia Zheng, “Smile lines respond beautifully to dermal fillers.”
- Surgical removal - There are procedures that actually remove the smile lines by cutting away the tissue that lines the crease. Once the excess tissue is removed, the sides of the line are sewn together closing it up. Remarkably, the surgery can be done on an outpatient basis. The procedure itself is done under local anesthesia and takes about an hour. The reason this type of surgical solution hasn’t really taken off is likely because results can sometimes look unnatural.
- Facelift - A facelift designed to eliminate smile lines around the mouth pulls the sagging skin back toward the cheek and ears. There, the excess is trimmed off and, in theory, the smile lines should be gone. Facelifts have something of a bad reputation though. But criticisms tend to ignore the fact that they can often produce dramatic and satisfying results. Commentaries tend to focus on the fact that it doesn’t take much of a mistake to produce regrettable results that can’t be undone.
- Laser treatment - The goal of laser treatments are to promote the elimination of smile lines from the inside out. This type of laser treatment is non-invasive and focuses on removing the outer layer of damaged skin while promoting collagen production underneath. As collagen production ramps up, the skin becomes plumper and more supple. It pushes outward against the smile line, smoothing it out. This kind of treatment is also often used for smile lines and crow’s feet around the eyes.
- Botox - Botox is that other kind of filler we touched on above. Botox is actually a brand name derived from the scientific name of the substance that is injected: botulinum toxin. This is a type of neurotoxin. Meaning it slowly paralyzes the muscles it is injected into. By doing so, it causes those muscles to relax. Injecting it into the tissue beneath your smile lines causes them to flatten out. Norman Rowe, M.D reminds patients that they’ll still be able to feel the skin where they’ve had the injection. “Botox only blocks the synapses that cause motion.” He says.
How to Get Rid of Smile Lines Without Surgery?
To get rid of smile lines without surgery, you'll want to use one of the many fine OTC remedies on the market today. They may not produce the type of comprehensive solution you’ll get from a clinical approach, but several of them do an outstanding job on less serious smile lines.
7 Best Products to Help Get Rid of Smile Lines
Clarasome Radiance Restoring Moisturizer by Dermaclara Beauty has proven itself in a series of rigorous clinical tests conducted by industry giant BioScreen. They concluded that it significantly reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles in more than 90% of test subjects.
Clarasome uses hyaluronic acid to exfoliate and glycerin as well as aloe and almond oil to replenish the skin. If you’re looking for a low-impact, high benefit solution to smile lines, here it is.
- Restores the youthful appearance of your skin
- Promotes the emergence of new, healthy layers of skin
- Provides essential nutrients to protect the skin from environmental hazards
- None to speak of
Nerium Age Defying Night Cream, $95
Nerium Age Defying Night Cream contains a wealth of antioxidants that soak into the skin and destroy free radicals. It boosts production of healthy skin cells and promotes collagen and elastin production that helps smooth out the visible layer of skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce dry, red skin.
- Contains oleander extract that replenishes moisture
- Loaded with free radical fighting antioxidants
- Any benefits will be slow to reveal themselves
Beauty and Truth Erase Repair, $98
Beauty and Truth Erase Repair seeks to undo the damage caused to the skin by collagen depletion. It soaks into the skin and stimulates the production of both collagen and elastin, thereby causing the new tissue to push out and smooth out smile lines and other wrinkles.
Like many such products, it uses hyaluronic acid to produce this effect. And, like a good number of such creams, it takes a while to produce results so patience is key.
- Promotes collagen production in sun-damaged skin
- Does a decent job on less severe smile lines
- Beware of the free trial offer
StriVectin Advanced Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer, $105
Retinol is well-known for its ability to revitalize tired, dry skin. By doing so, it helps restore the skin's vitality and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines, including smile lines. StriVectin does a good job over time re-hydrating skin and restoring its suppleness and shine.
You’re going to pay more for this product, but your skin will likely wind up feeling great.
- One of the best when it comes to rehydrating skin
- Gradually smooths out lesser smile lines
- Not terribly effective on deep lines
Bioeffect EGF Serum, $155
If there's a common theme with many anti-wrinkle creams, it's that they tend to be expensive. And Bioeffect EGF Serum is a good example of that. While it does a good job restoring the surface of your skin to a smooth, supple state you have to wonder if there isn’t something out there that will do the same for less than $155. (There is. See the first item on our list.)
- Restores youthful skin tone
- Feels great from the minute you put it on
- Not for the impatient
Neocutis Bio Serum, $235
Did we say Bioeffect was expensive? Well, when compared to Neocutis Bio Serum, it seems like the deal of the day. That aside, Bio Serum is rich in amino acids that are absorbed by the skin and help rejuvenate the tissue underlying smile lines.
This, in turn, promotes collagen and elastin production and causes the skin surface to plump up and smooth out. With bio-processed algae to tighten up your skin and hyaluronic acid to exfoliate.
- Has a rich, luxurious feel to it
- Your skin is going to look healthier and younger
- While it does a decent job for this price, we want more
DNA Renewal DNA Regeneration Serum, $145
Bio-engineered from barley seeds instead of e-coli bacteria like some similar products, this one won’t suffer a loss of potency over time. It’s absorbed by the skin, closing pores, promoting collagen production, and reducing blemishes and age spots.
It’s compatible with all skin types and in most cases will help reduce the appearance of smile lines and light wrinkles.
- Produces a smoother, more even tone
- Doesn’t spoil quickly like some other bio-engineered treatments
- You’ll need to wait about 8 weeks to see results
Where Can I Buy Products to Get Rid of Smile Lines?
Most of the products highlighted above are available from their manufacturer’s websites as well as from major online beauty retailers like Sephora. Most are also available at high-end department stores. Though you probably won't find all of them in any one store.
Our top choice, Silicone Fusion™ Patches for Face by Dermaclara.
Final Tips: How to Prevent Smile Lines
Keep the following tips in mind and you'll be able to prevent or slow the development of smile lines.
- Practice good skin care - Exfoliate regularly. Wash your face every night and moisturize. Don’t leave makeup on overnight.
- Wear sunscreen - It’s the only way to protect your skin from the ravages of ultraviolet light from the sun. Not doing so will lead to damaged skin and lines galore.
- Wear sunglasses - Those smile lines around your eyes are squinting lines as well. If you wear sunglasses when you go out, you'll reduce the appearance of crow’s feet.
- Drink plenty of water - 6 to 8 cups of water per day will do wonders for your skin and for your overall health in general.
- Don’t eat junk food - You are what you eat. So, unless you want your facial skin to resemble that of fried chicken, avoid fast food and its harmful effects on your skin.
- Get enough sleep - Fatigue undermines the integrity of skin and makes it more susceptible to developing lines and wrinkles.
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