A common complaint are the vertical lines on and around the lips, or “lipstick lines”. There is more than one solution for this problem. I generally recommend a graduated approach. Basic steps that can be taken include avoidance of sun and nicotine products, use of sunscreens, and topical exfoliating creams such as Retin-A. For deeper creases, we generally recommend the following options. For an opinion on your best option, I encourage you to schedule a consultation.
1. Resurfacing procedures – For wrinkles present at rest, your best, longest lasting option is a resurfacing procedure. This will permanently reduce the height and severity of wrinkles. Depending on your skin type and wrinkle severity, these procedures range in their depth of action and downtime. Peels performed range from lighter peels (glycolic, salicylic, VIPeel) to deeper peels (TCA or Phenol). Laser resurfacing is an alternative to chemical peels and is one of the latest advances in the resurfacing market. Lasers act similarly to chemical peels in that they are removing the old, wrinkled skin and allowing new skin to replace it.
2. Botox or Dysport – The cause of the vertical lines is the circular muscle underneath the skin that controls the lips. By weakening this muscle with a very small amount of Botox (usually 2-5 units) the lipstick lines become less prominent. This should be performed by someone experienced in injecting Botox around the lips to avoid unwanted side effects and over-injection. Results last approximately 3 months. See my Botox/Dysport Page for more information.
3. Injectable filler –Juvederm is the most commonly used filler for the lips (see the injectable filler page for more information on Juvederm and other dermal fillers). By injecting under the lipstick lines, the wrinkles become less noticeable. Injections can also be used to plump the upper and lower lips. Adding volume in the lips can improve appearance of these lines. I believe in natural results and avoid overcorrection of the lips with such fillers. Results typically last 8-12 months.