Your Guide to Preventing and Reducing Lip Wrinkles and Lines

Written by Aaron Dungca — February 16, 2024

Your Guide to Preventing and Reducing Lip Wrinkles and Lines

Originally published December 10, 2018, updated February 16, 2024.

Whether you’re moisturizing your face before bed, applying a smack of lip balm before heading to the beach, or freshening up your makeup between meetings, there comes a day when you spot the first fine lines around your mouth.

These sneaky little creases creep up on you slowly, barely visible until that fateful day. And, while most of us won’t worry about them until our 50s, certain lifestyle habits can result in an early arrival in your mid-twenties.

If the secret to smooth, youthful lips eludes you, don’t despair. While those lines are unavoidable, you can help slow them down and eliminate the more pronounced lines that give your age away.

In this article, the beauty experts at SiO will explain what lip lines are and what causes them. More importantly, we reveal the best ways to eliminate those troublesome lip lines to maintain a more youthful appearance.

Understanding Lip Lines and Their Formation

Your lip anatomy has several parts contributing to their appearance and function, including:


Your lips contain tiny veins called capillaries sitting very close to the surface of the skin. Because lip skin has fewer cellular layers than facial skin, it is translucent, allowing light to pass through it, creating various degrees of reddish or darker-toned skin.

Orbicularis Oris

Your lip muscle is called the orbicularis oris, forming an elliptical shape around your mouth, allowing you to express emotions, kiss, whistle, and form words and sounds. Its lateral fibers are part of your facial muscles, and the lip muscle has two parts:

1) Pars marginalis forming a continuous band between the corners of your mouth and

2) Pars peripheralis which meets at the midline

Cupids Bow & Philtrum

Cupid’s bow is the downward curve at the center of the upper lip. It is flanked by the philtrum, raised areas above the vermillion creating a “valley” above the Cupid’s bow. Sometimes, the cupid’s bow is not very pronounced, creating a fuller upper lip that curves without a dip.

Oral Commissures

These are the corners of the mouth.

What Causes Fine Lip Lines and Wrinkles?

The muscles are major contributors to lip lines and wrinkles, with repetitive lip movements impacting the tone of the skin and muscles over time. Typically, wrinkles progress, starting with lost volume and lengthening of the upper lip, followed by the thinning of the lower lip, which begins to roll inward. This impacts the oral commissures, which begin to “droop.” As aging advances, the philtrum becomes flatter, and the vermillion borders become thinner. As a result, the Cupid’s bow becomes less defined. Lips become drier and less curved and full, defining marionette lines below the corners of the mouth and smile lines above.

What Contributes to Early or More Defined Lip Lines?

Several things contribute to early or more defined lip lines, including:

Do You Have Lip Lines or Smile Lines?

People often mistake lip lines and smile lines as interchangeable terms. However, lip lines, also known as smoker’s lines or lipstick lines, are vertical wrinkles running upward from your lips toward your nose. They can be subtle and feathery or deep and pronounced. Smile lines or “nasolabial folds,” on the other hand, are located on your face, extending from either side of your nose down to the corners of your mouth.

Are Lip Lines Reversible?

The simple answer is yes. You can help reverse the appearance and severity of lip lines while also delaying their appearance using a number of facial products and treatments. However, there isn’t a “permanent” solution to remove or prevent them altogether.

Putting on SiO Beauty's LipLift to help reduce wrinkles around your mouth

Your Toolbox for Prevention and Reduction

Finding the best skin care regime and lifestyle choices can help turn back time and keep those lip wrinkles and lines at bay. The most effective tools in your lip line prevention and reduction toolbox include:

Non-invasive Methods

By making a few lifestyle changes, you can minimize your chances of getting bothersome lip lines. Not only will the following lifestyle changes be beneficial to your skin but also to your overall wellness:

  • Quit Smoking: Constant puckering when inhaling cigarette smoke contributes to deeper lip creases at an earlier age. However, the chemicals in cigarettes also add years to the skin, while reducing the years of your life. And yes, this includes vaping!
  • Sun Exposure: Although sunlight provides a natural source of healthy vitamin D, excess exposure triggers free radical damage, which can lead to premature skin aging. Applying SPF 30 sunscreen every morning, sun, cloud, rain, or cold, blocks 97% of the sun’s rays. You can easily reapply lip protection every two to three hours using SPF 30 lip balm.
  • Hydration: Drinking enough water can be as effective as anti-aging creams while helping to reduce the risk of some skin disorders. However, if you already drink your recommended daily intake of water, drinking more water won’t help. People who tend to be dehydrated are the most likely to see an improvement in skin appearance by increasing water intake.

Topical Treatments

Topical skin creams can help reduce existing lip lines while delaying wrinkle progression. The most effective formulas include:

  • Retinol: Retinol promotes collagen synthesis, increasing fibroblasts that enhance skin health and slows aging. Retinoids can also keep lips soft and plump for a more youthful appearance. Just be sure to choose a formula designed specifically for lips to avoid irritation.
  • Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance occurring in your skin. Among other functions in the body, it contributes to water retention to keep you hydrated and helps skin stay flexible to reduce the appearance of lip lines.
  • Collagen-boosting creams: As mentioned, collagen increases fibroblasts to slow aging and make skin appear more youthful.

Exfoliation and Facial Massage

Exfoliation is one of the cornerstones of a healthy skincare routine, including your lips. By removing dry, dead skin cells, you reveal your younger-looking skin below. You can also apply lip massage using a natural oil such as cinnamon to help reduce fine lines by stimulating collagen production and improving lip texture.

Professional Treatments

The following professional treatments are more invasive but can produce remarkable results:

  • Injectables: These treatments include fillers and products such as Botox. Fillers provide fast results and are generally made from hyaluronic acid, so they are unlikely to cause an adverse reaction. Injectables like Botox are also effective but can cause allergic reactions and adverse effects. Both treatments can be quite expensive as they require reapplication every six months to a year, averaging $500 to $800 a pop.
  • Laser treatments: Laser treatments are best if you have deeply etched lines, as it reaches deeper skin tissue for smoother results. It requires more downtime but fewer treatments. It is also an expensive treatment, averaging about $1400 per session.

Debunking Myths and Misconceptions

It can be difficult to weed through misinformation regarding effective beauty treatments. To help you get to the truth, we’ve debunked some common myths and misconceptions about lip line treatments.

  • Lip filler treatment is permanent: We wish! Unfortunately, this is not true. While you can see long-lasting results, the treatment does wear off, depending on the filler type, amount injected and your metabolism.
  • Lip fillers create “fish” or “duck” lips: The truth is, some people request exaggerated lips, leading to this misconception. In reality, most people choose to use fillers to bring back their youthful lips or enhance their lips’ appearance based on their facial features.
  • Lip filler and injections are painful: Although these treatments can be uncomfortable, discomfort is reduced using a topical numbing treatment. There can be some discomfort following the procedure, but for most, this is minimal.
  • Anti-wrinkle creams are a waste of money: Quality products containing proven ingredients such as retinol, collagen and hyaluronic acid can reduce the appearance of lips lines and wrinkles.

Finding the Right Approach for You

We always recommend consulting with a dermatologist or aesthetic doctor for personalized assessment and treatment recommendations. However, if you choose to go it alone, you should consider the following factors:

  • Budget: Just because a product is expensive doesn’t mean it works best. Read online reviews to find the top-rated products in your price range.
  • Results: Anti-aging skin care products are not miracle creams. Be prepared to see varied results that won’t likely compare to treatments like laser, injectables or surgery. Also, understand how long it takes for the formula to work, as most creams must be used over time before they become effective.
  • Skin type: Choose anti-aging skin care products suited to your skin type and avoid allergic reactions by choosing hypoallergenic creams.

Embracing Lip Lines and Self-Care

It’s important to remember that aging is part of life. We are all beautiful at every age but in different ways. Self-acceptance helps you develop a healthier attitude that keeps you looking younger your entire life by embracing the changes you see in your face. However, there’s nothing wrong with caring about your appearance and wanting to look your best. 

By finding the right overall skincare regime for your needs and learning to focus on healthier habits that contribute to wellness, you can maintain a more radiant appearance. Through self-care, you can feel more confident in your skin, lip lines and all.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the aging process and provided methods to help maintain a youthful appearance, while teaching you the benefits of accepting signs of aging as part of life. Remember, every line on your face is a testament to who you are and should make you feel confident and beautiful at every stage of life.