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Smile lines, or nasolabial folds, are creases that stretch from the sides of your nostrils to the corners of your lips.
Your skin contains collagen and hyaluronic acid, which keep it tight and supple. But several factors can lead to the gradual loss of both these elements, resulting in saggy skin that folds and creases easily. These factors include negligent skin care, pollution, unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking, poor diet, sun damage, dehydration, and age.
Plus, frequent and pronounced facial movements such as smiling, laughing, and frowning add to the problem by creating creases and folds in the loose skin that become permanent over time. This is how smile lines are formed.
This article will share various home remedies, exercises, lifestyle tips, and preventive measures to minimize the appearance of smile lines.
Home Therapies for Smile Lines
Note: These home remedies don’t reduce wrinkles or smiles lines once formed. Instead, they help in delaying signs of aging and maintaining the effects of medical treatments done by dermatologists.
1. Jade rollers
A jade roller is a face massaging tool that originated in ancient China and provides many skin benefits. It contains one or two rolling pins made from a natural stone called jade attached to the opposite ends of a metallic stick.
Running a jade roller over your face and neck helps stimulate blood circulation, which brings more nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells. It also promotes lymphatic drainage in the targeted area to make the skin less puffy and dull. Plus, using a jade roller after applying your skin care products can help them penetrate deeper into the skin.
If done correctly and regularly, this kind of gentle face massage can help brighten and tighten your skin to reduce the appearance of spots, wrinkles, and fine lines, including smile lines.
How to use:
Gently roll the stone end horizontally over the nasolabial folds and then perpendicular to the same lines. The cross-fiber action will stimulate maximum collagen synthesis and cellular regeneration.
2. Gua sha
A Gua sha is a uniquely shaped stone whose arches fit the various curves of your face to give it a stimulating massage. It lifts your facial muscles, enhances blood circulation, and promotes lymphatic drainage to make your skin more firm, bright, and young looking.
How to use:
- Apply a moisturizer or facial oil to your face and neck so that the Gua sha can move smoothly without tugging your skin.
- Place the gua sha at a 15° angle to your skin, and slowly glide it across your cheekbones toward your ear several times, applying mild to medium pressure.
3. Kansa wand
A kansa wand is an ancient tool that was first used in Ayurveda for facial massage. It consists of a wooden handle with a dome-shaped tip. This tip is made up of kansa metal, which is a combination of copper, tin, and zinc.
How to use:
- Moisturize your face with a suitable lotion or facial oil.
- Massage the metallic dome of the kansa wand over the forehead, brow bones, temples, and down the jawline in this order, using gentle, circular strokes.
4. Face yoga
Face yoga offers exercises that are specifically designed to lift and tighten the muscles around your mouth, smoothening the overlying skin. This, in turn, helps make your smile lines less visible.
Face yoga also enhances blood circulation in the face and neck, giving your skin a healthy flush.
How to use:
- The Big O – Form an O shape with your mouth, dropping your jaw as low as you can and pressing your upper lip against your teeth. You should feel a pull beneath your eyes. Maintain this pose for 10 seconds, take a short break, and then repeat 2 more times.
- Resistance smiles – Smile as wide as possible with your lips apart. Use your fingers to firmly press on your smile lines while you keep on smiling for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat 30 times.
Face yoga is an active process and you must do the exercises regularly to get satisfactory results. (1)
5. Collagen supplements
Collagen supplements come in the form of oral tablets and drinks that can help you fight premature skin aging. Collagen is the main structural protein found in the skin that gives it volume and elasticity. However, collagen production declines naturally as you grow older, making your skin progressively saggy and prone to wrinkling and smile lines.
It is recommended to consult your doctor about starting a collagen supplement to compensate for the depleted levels of this protein to keep your skin young for longer. (2)
Here are some measures that aid in reducing smile lines:
1. Sun protection
The UV rays of the sun penetrate deep into the skin to destroy the collagen fibers and are the primary triggers for premature aging. Therefore, always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher during the day, even if it’s cloudy.
Note that sun protection is not just important when you are going out. Solar radiation can reach you inside your home through the windows.
Working out allows your heart to pump more fresh blood that travels throughout the body, supplying oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. This increased gush of blood reaches your skin as well to nourish and repair it from within.
Increased blood flow to the skin facilitates faster generation of new skin cells that help tighten your face and thereby smoothen the smile lines.
3. Maintain proper fluid intake
Consume 8–10 glasses of water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated from the inside and to detoxify your body. Both these effects help keep your skin smooth and supple to minimize smile lines.
There are many different types of skin exfoliation techniques, ranging from granular scrubs and mechanical tools to chemical peeling agents. The first two are a bit harsh on the skin, so most skin experts recommend the third option.
Chemical peeling agents, when applied to the skin, help dissolve the bond between the dead cells accumulated on the surface so that they become easier to shed.
Chemical exfoliation accelerates the peeling of the outermost layer so that freshly formed skin can rise to the top. This new skin tends to be smoother, brighter, and tighter, thus reducing the appearance of smile lines.
Exfoliation is an essential part of any skin care regimen, but it should be done carefully and no more than 1–2 times a week.
5. Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that help keep your skin toned and hydrated, which is essential for avoiding smile lines. Some of the best dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel.
Here’s what you can do to prevent and/or delay the appearance of smile lines:
1. Avoid smoking
Smoking releases nicotine and other toxins in the body that break down collagen and inhibit blood flow, reducing skin elasticity. The looser your skin, the more likely it is to crease and form smile lines.
Smoking cessation is therefore one of the most important steps for fading existing smile lines and preventing them from getting deeper.
2. Avoid sleeping on your side
Sleeping on your side makes your cheek skin fold and rub against the pillow, which can contribute to the development and worsening of smile lines. The entire weight of the head shifts onto the pressed cheek, damaging the underlying collagen fibers and facial muscles during the night.
Sleeping on your back, on the other hand, allows gravity to naturally pull your skin back so that it remains firm. You can even prop an extra pillow under your head to make sure that the lower half of your face is not pressed against the pillow.
3. Avoid too much makeup on your face
Heavy base makeup can settle into the nasolabial folds and make your smile lines appear more pronounced, instead of camouflaging them. So, it’s best to apply a primer so that your makeup glides smoothly and only a gentle touch of light foundation to cover the creases.
Most-Asked Questions About Smile Lines
At what age do smile lines appear?
There is no specific age for the onset of smile lines, but you should start looking out for them in your twenties. Once formed, they tend to become more pronounced with age and are visible even when your face is at rest once you cross your 40s.
Is egg white a good remedy for treating smile lines?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that topical use of egg whites can help diminish the appearance of smile lines.
Besides, egg whites as a skin remedy do not suit everyone. They can irritate and redden the sensitive skin of your face and may contain microbes that can trigger skin infections. So, this remedy is best avoided since its risks are far greater than its purported benefits.
Smile lines are a normal aspect of growing older. Few individuals acquire it in their early twenties, and even fewer people acquire it later in life. You can take steps to reduce the appearance of these lines since they become more noticeable as you get older.
If your fine lines do not improve with over-the-counter medications or home remedies, see your dermatologist for the best professional treatment options.