It's a fact of life: All those years of belly-laughing at friends' funny jokes, smirking at unbelievable plot twists in movies, and simply grinning from ear to ear will subtly, gradually become permanent parts of our lives, appearing on our faces as smile lines. But before you go all Victoria Beckham, vowing to never crack a smile again, take heart. There are actually very effective ways to reduce evidence of your good times that don't necessarily require plastic surgery or in-office treatments.
What Are Smile Lines?
Smile lines are also known as your nasolabial folds and are creases (ranging from fine lines to deeper wrinkles) that stretch from the side of your nose to the corner of your mouth. They're created by the loss of facial volume and elasticity due to aging.
We spoke with the dermatologist, Ronald Moy, MD about the best ways to combat smile, or laugh, lines—one line at a time.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Ronald Moy is a cosmetic surgeon, lecturer, and author. Dr. Moy is also a fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, and has published more than 200 scholarly articles on cosmetic and dermatologic surgery.
Why We Get Smile Lines
While repeated motions of the face do cause smile lines over time, says Moy, it isn't the only cause: Another contributor to smile lines is gravity, which contributes to a loss of elasticity and cheek fat in the fat pads that sit along our cheekbones.
How To Diminish Smile Lines
Unfortunately, Moy also says that smile lines are some of the toughest to erase and usually, there's just one type of skincare treatment that can seriously diminish them. You may have already guessed it: It's an in-office treatment with injectable fillers. "Smile lines are hard to get rid of because we're repeatedly smiling all the time," he adds, "so the best treatment is usually fillers because they'll really soften deep smile lines."
Smile lines are hard to get rid of because we're repeatedly smiling all the time...so the best treatment is usually fillers because they'll really soften deep smile lines.
Not ready to undergo a $600 procedure? Don't frown: The epidermal growth factor in DNA Renewal, Moy's skincare line, "boosts collagen production, which in turn thickens the skin."
Moy recommends five antiaging skincare products that help diminish smile lines—without expensive injections. Note that the key ingredient in each of these products is epidermal growth factor. But also, by adding "more water and hydrating foods to your diet, your skin will stay hydrated and be more resilient," stresses Moy.
"This is bio-engineered growth factor is derived from barley seeds and is clinically proven to thicken skin while reducing the appearance of pores, fine lines, wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, photo-damage, and texture in as little as eight weeks," says Moy.
"This potent, age-defying serum renews, revives, and restores your skin as it moisturizes," Moy notes. "It also lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and maximizes radiance and tone."
PSP & Amino Acid Serum
"This targets, supports, and protects healthy collagen levels to fight visible signs of premature aging," Moy says. "With PSP growth factors, this serum reinforces the skin's own reparative abilities, while amino acids and stabilized vitamin C promote firmness and elasticity. Bio-processed algae also smooths and tightens facial contours and hyaluronic acid plumps skin by providing lightweight moisture."
"This is an anti-wrinkle gel formula that targets the visible signs of aging," Moy says.
"This uses growth factor to address signs of aging, and boosts collagen with peptides and amino acids," he says. "It also reduces inflammation and redness."
Percec I, Bertucci V, Solish N, Wagner T, Nogueira A, Mashburn J. An Objective, Quantitative, Dynamic Assessment of Hyaluronic Acid Fillers That Adapt to Facial Movement. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020;145(2):295e-305e. doi:10.1097/PRS.0000000000006461
Aldag C, Nogueira teixeira D, Leventhal PS. Skin Rejuvenation Using Cosmetic Products Containing Growth Factors, Cytokines, and Matrikines: A Review of the Literature. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2016;9:411-419. doi:10.2147/CCID.S116158