Best Ways to Treat Vertical Lines Around the Mouth?

I am in my 50's and the deepest lines on my face are in the mouth area, vertical lines above the top and bottom lips. I am a non-smoker, light-skinned caucasian female. It has been suggested to use Fraxel over the entire face gradually lightening the intensity as we go up the face and later use a filler if needed for the smile lines. Is there something else at this time more effective and possibly with less down-time than Fraxel? I bruise easily. Do you suggest eating or taking something before a procedure to reduce the bruising?

Doctor Answers (6)

Upper lip wrinkles & lines

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One of the more disconcerting changes with aging often involves the upper lip. As a result of time, sun, heredity factors and sometimes exposure to cigarette smoke, small vertical lines and creases often form from the lip edges. When coupled with shrinkage of lip tissues, this creates an undesirable appearance for many patients. Assuming that smoking has been discontinued and sunblocks are wisely used, then the options include:

(1) "resurfacing" (wounding) the upper lip with lasers, dermabrasion or a chemical peel. All are designed to some degree to create a wound in the epidermis & dermis, and stimulate the skin to produce new skin cells, including collagen and epidermis,  ie, brand new skin which aims to be smoother and healthier than the old skin. Some downtime is required. 

(2) "fillers" which add volume and help soften lines and tissue loss.  Examples include Restylane and Juvederm type products. There is usually no downtime with this but it  has limited effects on fine wrinkles. 

Both (1) and (2) compliment each other. A consultation with a qualified physician to help determine the pros and cons of each individual patient's needs is a good first step!

Louisville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Vertical Lip lines

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There are many effective ways to address your concerns, ranging from office procedures to minor surgical skin procedures.

Fillers help to add volume to the white line, where lip liner is usually placed. This helps to soften the vertical lines, but does not always flatten them completely. Filling this area also provides the illusion of fuller lips without actually increasing lip volume, which many patients like.

Laser resurfacing (Fraxel included) or dermabrasion is often needed with deeper lines to help the wrinkles flatten more completely. This is important for many patients that have problems with lipstick bleeding into these lines.

Staying away from aspirin containing products, over the counter cold medicines, many herbal supplements is critical for avoiding bruising. Some patients receive benefit from taking arnica and bromelaine tablets after procedures to diminish bruising or speed up healing.

Richard W. Westreich, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Fraxel® isn’t your only option

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Depending on how pronounced the lines around your mouth are, Fraxel® might be overkill. If you have other issues you want to address in addition to those smaller wrinkles, like uneven skin tone or age spots, then Fraxel® might be a solution. If your main concern is just those particular lines, there are definitely other options. Microdermabrasion or even chemical peels offer resurfacing solutions that can minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles with far less downtime. And of course, a combination approach is a great solution for getting rid of “smoker’s lines”—BOTOX® Cosmetic injections combined with dermal fillers treats wrinkles in two different ways for a smoother, younger look with zero downtime.

Best way to treat vertical lines around the mouth includes: Fraxel, Botox and Fillers.

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Best way to treat vertical lines around the mouth includes: Botox, Fraxel and Fillers. I first recommend to do Botox (done right above the border of the lip) in order to minimize further movement-induced worsening of the lines. Then, I perform a series of Fraxel laser treatments for fractional resurfacing and wrinkle effacement, which is highly effective. Any remaining lines, I then fill in with a very smooth fine filler such as 'Restylane fine lines'. The final result is typically a very dramatic improvement/resolution of the lines around the mouth. 

A combination approach usually works best.

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Since there are several contributing factors to facial aging—changes in collagen production, sun damage, volume loss, etc.—sometimes it takes a combination of treatments to resolve the lines that appear. For smoker’s lines, Fraxel® can be a great solution. Yes, there is some downtime, but the long-term results are going to be superior compared to a short-term treatment. Injectables are another option, either in addition to or instead of Fraxel®. To minimize bruising, be sure to stop taking all blood thinners about a week ahead of time (aspirin, Vitamin E, and even garlic are all blood thinners) and use cold compresses before and after your injections.

Consider fraxel repair or fillers

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It sounds like you might be the perfect candidate for either fraxel repair or  Fillers.  However if you do bruise, I suggest you stop taking anything that would thinn your blood out like asprin.   I also recommend you take homeopathic arnica montana that has been clinically proven to reduce bruising and swelling after surgery.  Fraxel repair can signifiacntly reduce the lines around your mouth.  Lastly a touch of botox can relax the muscles around the mouth improving lines.

Cameron Rokhsar, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.