Maybe you never heard the term “nasolabial folds” before and if so, you’re not alone. That’s because most people know these as “smile lines” or “laugh lines." They're the creases that develop at the side of your nostrils and extend down toward the corners of the mouth.
These are some of the earliest lines to appear on a face and typically wind up being some of the most difficult to counteract. But "difficult" doesn't have to mean "impossible" and we're here to provide some effective ways for you to fight back against them.
What Causes Nasolabial Folds?
Nasolabial folds share common cause with many other types of lines that appear on the average face including:
- Repetitive muscle movements - It’s sad but true that years of smiling and laughing is the major reason why nasolabial folds are staring back at you in the mirror.
- Aging - Years of smiling and laughing implies something else: the passage of time. There’s no way around it. The passing years isn’t always good to our skin.
- UV light from the sun - UV rays penetrate the outer layer of skin and undermine collagen and elastin. This causes the skin to lose integrity.
- Dehydration - “A variety of structures in the skin that support collagen require water to work effectively” says University of Chicago Professor Dr. Julius Few.
Are Nasolabial Folds Unattractive?
Nasolabial folds are unattractive to some people, while others aren’t bothered by them. If you’re one of those who would like to get rid of them, read on.
Home Exercises to Get Rid of Nasolabial Folds
1: Strengthen muscles around the mouth - This exercise strengthens what’s called the orbicularis oris muscles around your mouth. This, in turn, prevents skin from sagging and folds from forming.
- Place the tip of each index finger into the corners of your mouth
- Now try to pucker your lips while resisting the inward pull with your fingers
- Do 25 times once or twice per day
2: Strengthen the cheek muscles - The goal here is to strengthen the muscles of the cheeks to prevent them from sagging toward the mouth and creating folds.
- Place your index fingers along your smile lines and press inward
- Now make the biggest open mouth smile you can
- Relax and repeat 30 times twice a day
3: Fish face - This exercise strengthens the muscles beside the mouth, helping to prevent sagging and folds.
- Lie on your back and relax your face muscles
- Now pucker your lips and suck in the corners like you’re making a fish face
- Hold 5 seconds and release and repeat 20 times once a day
What are Some Nasolabial Folds Causes?
Some nasolabial fold causes include repetitive facial expressions, dehydration, and aging. See the above section on the causes of nasolabial folds for more info.
5 Best Clinical Treatments for Nasolabial Folds
Here are 5 of the most common clinical treatment options available today for nasolabial folds.
- Dermal fillers - This might surprise some who expected to see Botox at the top of this list. But there’s a good reason Botox is a less than ideal choice for nasolabial folds and we’ll get to them in a moment. For now, back to dermal fillers.
There are two kinds of dermal fillers. The first is hyaluronic acid. It’s injected into the skin and prompts the tissue to produce collagen and elastin which fill in the voids creating the folds. The second type of filler is an inert substance with does the same job filling in voids that create the folds but doesn’t promote collagen production.
- The facelift - Though it’s less popular today due to the rise of dermal fillers and other treatments, the facelift is still arguably the best long term choice. As such, it remains a popular option. This type of facelift involves pulling the skin of the face back toward the ears and clipping off the excess.
The upside is that it does a great job eliminating nasolabial folds. The bad news is it leaves scars and if done by a less talented surgeon, can leave your face with a somewhat unnatural appearance.
- Microneedling - Sometimes referred to as “collagen induction therapy,” this type of treatment works best on fairly shallow nasolabial folds. Microneedling, as the name suggests, entails using a hand-held device that creates scores of microscopic punctures in the surface of the skin.
This gets the attention of your body’s natural defense and recovery mechanisms. As a result, collagen production ramps up and the damaged skin gives way to healthier, plumper skin.
- Lasers - Lasers can be used to produce the same effects as chemical peels. But without the same degree of impact on the upper layers of skin. The idea is that the laser carefully carves away damaged skin and clears the way for the emergence of healthier, smoother skin.
The laser also has the added benefit of promoting the production of collagen and elastin, which then bolsters the integrity of the emergent skin and reduce the appearance of laugh lines even further.
- Botox - Many are surprised that Botox doesn’t lead the list, considering how effective it has proven itself to be in reducing or eliminating fine lines and wrinkles. But that’s the thing, Botox is great for fine lines but not so great for laugh lines which are typically the deepest folds on a person’s face.
As Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Weinzweig says, “If you want the smile lines around your mouth treated it is best to use fillers.”
What are the Best Nasolabial Folds Treatments?
The best nasolabial treatments will depend on the patient's age, overall health, and the severity of the folds themselves. Although fillers are often recommended what’s right for one person may not be right for another.
Top 7 Products to Help with Nasolabial Folds
Clarasome moisturizer by Dermaclara Beauty has proven itself in rigorous 3rd party testing conducted by BioScreen. They concluded that it produced quantifiable results in more than 90% of users.
- Hyaluronic acid promotes collagen production
- Aloe and almond oil restore moisture levels.
- Only available via the official Dermaclara website
Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer, $23
A fairly effective wrinkle fighter at an affordable price Surge Moisturizer provides a healthy dose of retinol to repair damaged skin cells and reduce lines and wrinkles.
- Retinol to repair and restore
- Reduces the appearance of lines and folds
- Not the greatest moisturizer
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $20
Olay Regenerist cream provides beneficial hyaluronic acid, amino peptides, and vitamin B that work together to loosen up wrinkles and folds.
- Hyaluronic acid to prompt collagen production
- Amino peptides to restore tissue integrity
- Not as fast-acting as advertised
Rodial Dragon's Blood Hyaluronic Night Cream, $59
Contains retinol in a time-released formula that works to repair damaged skin that causes folds. It also provides hyaluronic acid to promote collagen and elastin production.
- Contains retinol which encourages cell turnover
- Has hyaluronic acid that promotes collagen production
- The smell takes time to get used to
DHC CoQ10 Quick Gel Brightening Moisture, $60
This is an antioxidant-rich cream that soaks in and sets about repairing weak, damaged tissue that can lead to nasolabial folds.
- Rich in antioxidants
- Restores tone and luster
- Reduces smile lines
- Not for deep nasolabial folds
RoC Retinol Correxion Retinol Night Cream $17
Retinol pops up again on our list because it's one of the best-known compounds for addressing the damaged skin that can cause folds.
- Retinol can be highly effective
- Good for all kinds of eye lines
- Takes weeks before you’ll see progress
Derma-E Anti-Wrinkle Renewal Skin Cream $11
Use this anti-wrinkle cream all day or apply it before going to sleep. It's rich in retinol, vitamin E, and other ingredients that address the causes of nasolabial folds.
- Works overnight
- Benefits tend to fade pretty quickly
Where Can I Buy Products to Get Rid of Nasolabial Folds?
All of the above products save for one are available at online beauty retailers like Sephora. Most are also available at high-end department stores and through their accompanying websites. The one exception is our top choice, Clarasome Radiance. It’s only available from the official Dermaclara Beauty website.
Final tips: How to Prevent Nasolabial Folds
The best treatment for nasolabial folds is preventing their development in the first place. Do that by taking to heart the following tips.
- Quit smoking - Smoking will rob your skin of oxygen and kill it before it kills you. It’s one of the worst things you can do to your skin. So quit.
- Get enough sleep - Skin needs time to regenerate, just like every other part of your body. Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Drink plenty of water - Your body is 70% water. Give it what it wants by drinking 6 to 8 cups of water every day.
- Use sunscreen - UV light is the enemy of healthy skin—always apply sunscreen before going out.
- Practice proper skin care - Nasolabial lines are sometimes the result of poor skincare habits. Turn the tables by taking care of your skin.