8 Ways to Reduce the Look of Lip Wrinkles

February 22, 2022
Jennifer Hussein
By: Jennifer Hussein | skincare.com by L'Oréal
close up of person's lips

Starting to notice fine lines forming on your lips? Lip wrinkles — also known as lip lines, lipstick lines, or smoker’s lines — are vertical lines and creases that form on the lips. As small as they are, you may not like the way they look, especially if they interfere with your lipstick application.

So, what causes these lip wrinkles to form, and can anything be done about them? To find out, we tapped Dr. William Kwan, a board-certified dermatologist based in San Francisco, California, about everything you need to know about lip wrinkles, including what causes them and how to reduce their appearance.

What Causes Lip Wrinkles?


Smoking can negatively impact your organs, and your skin — your body’s largest organ — is no exception. Dr. Kwan notes that wrinkles, especially those scattered along your lips, are one of the most common skin side effects of smoking. Other side effects include dull skin, decreased circulation and sagging skin.

Sun Damage

If you need another reason to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen every time you leave the house, here’s one: Harmful UV rays can cause premature signs of skin aging to crop up everywhere, including your lips. One way to help protect your lips is to reach for a lip balm that’s formulated with sunscreen, such as the.

Repeated Movements

Dr. Kwan says that the more you move your mouth, the higher your risk of forming lip wrinkles. Of course, this can’t be avoided — talking and smiling is way more fun than having perfectly smooth lips.


One of the biggest causes of lip wrinkles is also unavoidable: natural aging. Our skin can only look young for so long until fine lines and wrinkles start to appear naturally, and your lips are not exempt. “With age, we lose lip volume, which contributes to these wrinkles,” Dr. Kwan says.

How to Address Lip Wrinkles

Hydrate With Hyaluronic Acid

Dr. Kwan recommends keeping your lips and the skin around them hydrated with hyaluronic acid to help keep lip wrinkles at bay. One of our favorites is the Kosas Lipfuel Active Lip Balm, which works to soothe and protect your lips from dryness. It comes in three flattering neutral tints as well as a clear option.

kosas lipfuel active lip balm

Wear Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen

Make sure you’re using a sunscreen with broad spectrum SPF 30 or more to help keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays, and don’t forget to reapply at least every two hours. For the skin around your lips, reach for the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin SPF 60. The oil-free formula protects your skin and leaves a matte finish that won’t clog your pores. For your actual lips, don’t forget your SPF-infused balm.

Exfoliate Your Lips

Exfoliation removes layers of dead skin cells, which in turn helps skin look brighter and more even. Try exfoliating at least twice a week with a gentle lip exfoliator, like the Makeup by Mario Perfecting Lip Scrub, which uses sugar and castor seed oil to create the appearance of smooth, baby-soft lips.

Be Gentle on Your Skin

Your skin can go through a lot of wear and tear, so make sure you’re giving it the TLC it deserves often. When washing your face, make sure you’re not intensely scrubbing or rubbing. Use light circular motions, and don’t forget to use gentle cleansers to avoid stripping your skin of moisture. We recommend the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, which contains ceramides to help replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.

Moisturize After Cleansing

Moisturizing is key to softer, younger-looking skin. To give your skin some anti-aging power, reach for a moisturizer that’s formulated for mature skin, like the L'Oréal Paris Wrinkle Expert 55+ Moisturizer. The lightweight, non-greasy formula includes a blend of calcium and vitamin B5 to strengthen thinning skin and help smooth the appearance of wrinkles.

Get Some Rest

Your sleep patterns can actually have a major impact on your skin. Research shows that poor sleep quality can actually lead to signs of premature aging, so make sure you’re getting at least seven to eight hours per night.

Sleep on Your Back

Not only does the amount of time you sleep affect your skin, but how you sleep is another key aspect in avoiding the creation of fine lines and wrinkles from cropping up prematurely. Sleeping on your side repeatedly can create wrinkles on the side of your face, including the area surrounding your lips. Sleeping on your back can help avoid premature wrinkling, so do your best to adjust your sleeping position.

Seek Professional Options

Not getting the results you’re looking for? Dr. Kwan recommends heading to your skincare provider. They may recommend a prescription wrinkle treatment or an in-office procedure for smoother, line-free lips.

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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