Ask the Expert: How Can You Smooth Away Smile Lines?
Smile lines are often referred to as laugh lines, but they are no laughing matter. These lines and creases, caused by repeated facial movements to the same area, can add years to the face. In fact, we’re willing to bet that many would go to great lengths to reduce the appearance of creasing around the mouth and eyes altogether. Well, here’s something you can grin about: You don’t have to retire from smiling in order to maintain a youthful-looking appearance. You also don’t have to resort to invasive skin care methods. For tips on how to help smooth the appearance of smile lines, we turned to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Read on for advice on how to address smile lines.
WHAT CAUSES SMILE LINES TO FORM?
For some, laugh lines are only visible in the act of smiling or squinting. For others, these lines are permanent features of the face—even when it is at rest. This can happen due to excess sun damage, the natural passing of time, and—of course—repeated facial movements. Unfortunately, the more repeated expressions you make with your face, the more apparent those creases will appear overtime. “Smile lines around your mouth are caused by repeated folding of the skin from smiling,” Dr. Zeichner says. “This along with losses in volume in the face that occur naturally with age can cause smile lines to form.” Remember: Each time you perform a facial movement, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. With time and the natural loss of skin flexibility, these grooves have a hard time springing back into place and can eventually become permanent.
HOW TO IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF SMILE LINES
The good news is you can still improve the appearance of smile lines without forfeiting your happiness or right to smile. At the end of the day, it all comes down to staying loyal to a skin care regimen that boasts hydrating benefits. “At home, consider a mask designed for the lines,” advises Zeichner. “Many contain skin hydrating ingredients both to plump and strengthen the look of skin.” Keep in mind, however, that these products help to temporarily reduce the appearance of smile lines, but not prevent wrinkles from forming altogether. For tips on how to keep premature wrinkles at bay, read this.
DON’T FORGET BROAD SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN
By now you know that the way you live and move day to day can have an effect on how your skin ages overtime. If you aren’t being diligent with your sun protection, you’re increasing your chances of developing premature fine lines and wrinkles. Turning to skin hydrators that boast anti-aging benefits are a great place to start, but nothing is more important than a layer of broad-spectrum SPF each and every day prior to heading outdoors. Cleveland Clinic recommends using both sunscreen and physical blockers (think: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) to protect your skin from the sun. Reach for one with broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of 15 or higher. For the best line of protection, pair your sunscreen use with additional measures such as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding peak sun hours—between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—when the rays are strongest.
PRODUCTS THAT CAN HELP REDUCE THE APPEARANCE OF SMILE LINES
For help reducing the appearance of smile lines, we’re turning to some of our favorite anti-agers from the L’Oreal portfolio of brands. Scroll down for three wrinkle-fighting products that can help plump the appearance of wrinkles and lines on your complexion.
KIEHL’S DOUBLE STRENGTH VISIBLE WRINKLE FILLER
Like the idea of a fast-absorbing product that’s quick and easy to apply? We’ve got just the anti-aging option for you. Minimize the depth of facial lines over time with Kiehl’s Double Strength Visible Wrinkle Filler. Formulated with sodium hyaluronate filling spheres and fragmented hyaluronic acid, this serum instantly fills lines and wrinkles.
SKINCEUTICALS RETINOL 0.5
Turning to a concentrated pure retinol cream can help diminish the appearance of multiple signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. For retinol beginners, we recommend Retinol 0.5 at night. Since retinol is a powerful ingredient, it can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Follow up with a broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher in the morning. And if it’s your first time using retinol, start out by applying the product once a week to build up a tolerance.
Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5, $64 MSRP
L’OREAL PARIS REVITALIFT TRIPLE POWER INTENSIVE OVERNIGHT MASK
During sleep, your skin undergoes natural self-repair, so take advantage of this time by applying a hydrating leave-on mask. Formulated with Pro-Xylane and infused with botanical extract centella asiatica, this night treatment helps plump and re-firm the skin, improving the appearance of facial contours.