Whether you call them vertical lip lines, smoker's lines or feathering, those little lines that appear above the upper lip are unfortunate signs of ageing. They cause lipstick to bleed, diminish the appearance of the lips and simply make us look older than we'd like. There are treatments, both medical and non-medical, that can reduce their appearance.
To remove those lines long-term, consider a medical procedure such as laser resurfacing or a chemical peel. Both procedures remove surface skin, allowing new skin to emerge. Laser resurfacing is performed with one of various types of lasers that deliver heat into the skin, stimulating collagen growth. Chemical peels use a solution such as alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid or trichloracetic acid to remove the surface layers of skin. As the skin heals, younger, smoother skin emerges for a rejuvenated look.
Both chemical peels and laser resurfacing are performed on an outpatient basis. Recovery times vary depending on the depth of the treatments. For light peels and laser treatments, several sessions may be needed for optimal results.
Other medical options include the use of injectable fillers, such as collagen or hyaluronic acid to increase the size of the lips, smoothing upper lip lines. Both treatments are preformed on an outpatient basis. Results last anywhere from two to six months.
Some plastic surgeons and medical spas also use Botox injections to paralyse the lip muscles that cause lip wrinkling. Results appear almost immediately and last three to four months.
If cosmetic procedures aren't for you, there are several non-medical remedies you can try. Prescription topical ointments, such as retinoids, can help rejuvenate the lip area, although they also can cause redness and irritation.
Daily use of lotions containing glycolic acid is another option. Glycolic acid sloughs away dead skin cells, revealing the fresher, smoother skin underneath. Take care, however, to keep glycolic acid off the lips themselves, as it is irritating to lip tissue.
Keeping your skin well moisturised can also go a long way toward reducing the appearance of superficial lip lines. Choose a moisturiser with a sunscreen for added protection from sun damage, which can worsen lip wrinkles. Apply moisturiser to the lips several minutes before applying lipstick and lip liner.
To keep lipstick from feathering and drawing attention to lip wrinkles, apply a lip fixative before applying lip colour. Lip fixatives are available at most drug stores and cosmetic counters and are easy to apply. Using lip liner along with your lipstick will also help prevent feathering.