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Home arrow Beauty arrow Skin arrow Lip Wrinkles: What Causes Aging Around Your Mouth and How to Treat It

Lip Wrinkles: What Causes Aging Around Your Mouth and How to Treat It

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: September 25, 2023
8 min read 653 Views 0 Comments
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Lip wrinkles are a normal part of the natural aging process, but many wonder if you can delay or minimize their appearance to maintain younger-looking skin. Is there a way to handle pesky lip lines?

lip wrinkles

All skin is beautiful regardless of age, but it’s not unusual to miss your younger appearance. Everyday occurrences, such as standing outdoors in the sun or making facial expressions, influence your skin and the formation of wrinkles.

From crow’s feet to frown and smile lines, countless marks can appear on your face as you journey through your life. The skin around the lips is particularly prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Like the skin around the eyes, it’s thinner and more fragile than the rest of your face.

Find out exactly what causes upper lip wrinkles, how to prevent them, and how to stop them from worsening.

What Causes Lip Wrinkles?

Lip wrinkles, also known as lipstick lines, smoker’s lines, or lip lines, are small vertical lines that form on the lips. They usually appear along both lips and on the skin above the upper lip, but some people develop creases all around the mouth.

A combination of biological processes and lifestyle factors contribute to fine vertical lines appearing around the lips. Lip wrinkles occur naturally as your skin ages, but bad habits can encourage their premature arrival while creating wrinkles that are deeper and more visible.

There are 6 main causes of lip wrinkles, from natural processes to lifestyle choices.

#1 Aging

The aging process is inevitable. It’s out of your control, as you will always grow older as time goes by. And as you age, so does your skin.

Youthful skin is soft, smooth, supple, and able to renew itself easily. Older skin tends to lose these features as it becomes less elastic and more delicate. Your skin’s structure weakens as collagen and elastin production slows, leaving it fragile and less protected.

You also lose some fat in the skin’s deeper layers, which may lead to loose and sagging skin where fine lines and wrinkles are more noticeable.

Premature aging, on the other hand, is something you can minimize with preventative action. With some healthy habits and positive lifestyle choices, you can reduce your chance of developing lip wrinkles and maintain healthy skin and a more youthful appearance for longer.

#2 The sun

As much as we all love the sunshine, sun exposure is a huge threat to the skin. Sun damage from chronic exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays causes photoaging – where the sun ages the skin prematurely. The main trait of photoaging is damage to the collagen and elastin fibers.

These fibers lose elasticity when destroyed, and the skin can no longer stretch and bounce back to normal.

#3 Alcohol

Drinking alcohol excessively can contribute to various facial wrinkles. Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to volume-related facial aging, dryness, more upper facial lines, and under-eye puffiness.

The dehydrating effects of alcohol mean your skin loses more fluid than usual, increasing the risk of fine lines and creases.

#4 Smoking

Lip lines on the upper lip are also called smoker’s lines. That’s because these lines appear when the lips pucker, as they do when you take a drag of a cigarette. In the long run, this repetitive movement may cause the smoker’s lines to become permanent on your face.

Moreover, smoking is a known risk factor that contributes to wrinkles on the face. Smoke is toxic to cells and is associated with many symptoms of aging and premature skin aging. It also damages blood vessels, causes oxidative stress, weakens immunity, and causes hair loss.

#5 Chronic dryness

Chronic dryness can result in the appearance of lip lines as it makes the lip area look dehydrated, less plump, and shriveled. It can accentuate flaws on the skin, whereas well-hydrated skin appears more moist and glowy.

Dry skin can stem from sun exposure, overwashing, and cold and hot climates, but it can also be caused by natural aging. As you get older, natural oil production and cell renewal decrease, making it harder to keep the skin moist and easier to get dry and irritated skin.

#6 Sleep deprivation

Beauty sleep can indeed keep us looking younger. When you sleep, blood flow increases, the facial muscles relax, the immune system restores, and collagen rebuilds. These factors contribute to healthier skin and a younger-looking complexion.

Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, negatively affects the appearance of your face. The most prominent cues of poor sleep are noticeable in the eyes, mouth, and skin, as individuals exhibit hanging eyelids, dark circles, more wrinkles and fine lines, and droopiness around the mouth.

Try to get a good night’s rest on a regular basis. You can do this by scheduling sleep and wake-up times, calming anxiety at night, and creating a restful environment to induce sleep.

How to Get Rid of Lip Lines: 5 Home Remedies for You

You can’t get rid of lip wrinkles permanently, but you can add some daily practices to your skincare routine to keep your skin smooth and reduce the appearance of lip lines. Good habits will also support the rest of the skin on your face and help mask other fine lines and wrinkles.

Try these top tips at home today:

#1 Hydrate your lip area

Hydrated skin stays well-nourished and helps protect the skin barrier from damage. When the skin is overly dry, the skin cells can shrivel up and encourage premature lines and wrinkles to appear.

Applying a good moisturizer to your lip area can encourage plump lips and help smooth wrinkles and mask those little creases. Some of the best hydrating ingredients to look out for in your products include collagen, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and shea butter.

#2 Use sunscreen

The immediate way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays is to wear sunscreen. As mentioned earlier, the sun is a direct cause of skin aging, and wearing sunscreen can prevent the early development of lip lines and other wrinkles on the face and body.

At the same time, wearing sunscreen lowers your risk of sunburn and developing skin cancer.

#3 Exfoliate the skin

Exfoliation is a home remedy that removes the top layer of the skin to get rid of dead skin cells, making way for new skin. Buffing your lips regularly can quickly improve skin tone and texture. Remember that dry skin can heighten the appearance of stubborn lip wrinkles.

#4 Use products with retinol

If you’re looking for an anti-wrinkle skincare ingredient, retinol is an excellent choice. It reduces lip and other facial wrinkles by boosting collagen production, exfoliating the skin, and increasing skin cell production. The result is more youthful-looking and plump skin.

You can find retinol in various cosmetic products, including creams and serums. Some people like to use a gentle cleanser containing the ingredient to encourage dewy skin. Retinol makes your skin slightly more sun-sensitive, so remember this when you apply it.

For an extra boost, you can also incorporate more retinol into your diet by eating cheese, eggs, milk, oily fish, and yogurt. 

#5 Apply collagen-based serums

The aging process accelerates once natural collagen production slows. Adding a collagen-based serum to your regimen motivates your skin to make more collagen and increase elasticity. This helps to plump up the skin, smoothing out lip lines and making deep wrinkles less prominent.

Other Lip Wrinkle Treatments to Try

Sometimes, a dedicated skincare regimen, top-quality cosmetics, and a hydration system are not enough to keep lip wrinkles at bay. If stubborn lip lines are getting you down, it might be time to discuss cosmetic procedures with your dermatologist.

Getting professional treatment is a big decision and one that you should not take lightly. You must also consider the cost and whether the results are temporary or permanent. Keep reading to explore the most popular and best treatments for lip wrinkles.

#1 Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are substances injected under the skin on your face. They fill lines and help create a smoother appearance by adding volume to the soft facial tissues. This means they can diminish wrinkles and eradicate lip lines temporarily.

#2 Chemical peels

A chemical peel is a technique that removes the outermost layers of the skin to uncover younger, healthier skin cells underneath. The goal is to create a smoother skin texture that limits the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and mild scarring.

The procedure is effective for correcting upper lip lines and other lines around the mouth.

#3 Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing involves a laser treatment to remove the top layer of your skin to promote new skin growth. It is potentially the most effective upper lip wrinkle treatment that delivers longer-lasting results.

#4 Botox

Botox is good for upper lip lines because it relaxes the muscle above the upper lips. Often, lip wrinkles occur from muscle movement in the face, so temporarily restricting the movement of the muscles helps the lip area appear more voluminous while smoothing vertical lines.

#5 Microneedling

Microneedling involves thin, tiny needles that puncture the skin’s top layer. Your body reacts to the damage by stimulating the skin’s healing process, including increasing collagen production to make your skin more firm and smooth.

How to Prevent Wrinkles Around Your Mouth

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Taking care to prevent lip lines allows you to hold onto your younger skin. You won’t have to worry about stubborn wrinkles influencing the makeup you wear or spend time wondering about the latest treatment.

The following tips will help prevent lip wrinkles:

  • Eat a nutritious diet full of antioxidant-rich foods
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Quit smoking (or don’t start at all)
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Follow good skincare practices
  • Moisturize daily and always wear sunscreen
  • Wear an SPF lip balm
  • Avoid direct sun exposure
  • Get enough hours of restful sleep each night
  • Manage your stress levels with healthy habits


Why are my lips wrinkly at a young age?

Lip lines and wrinkles at an early age usually indicate premature aging. The most common cause of skin aging is harmful exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which is called photoaging. Photoaging causes the skin to age more quickly than it would naturally over time.

Does massaging lip wrinkles help?

Regularly massaging the face may help with lip lines and other wrinkles. Facial massage relaxes the facial muscles, which may help make wrinkles less visible. It also increases blood flow in the body – a benefit that can help stimulate collagen production for healthy skin.

Can you fix wrinkly lips?

You can’t fix wrinkly lips completely, but you can access treatments designed to reduce lip wrinkles. A licensed dermatologist can offer Botox, injectable fillers, chemical peels, micro-needling, and laser treatments to smoothen out upper lip wrinkles.

A Word From a Dermatologist

Perioral wrinkles are wrinkles that form around the mouth. They can affect women and men and usually develop when people enter their forties.

Many things can affect your skin appearance, such as air pollution, diet, losing weight, and sleep quality. But the biggest culprits behind lip wrinkles are aging, the sun, smoking, alcohol, and chronic dryness.

While you can’t stall the natural aging process, you can counteract the other factors with healthy habits – limiting sun exposure, wearing SPF, quitting smoking, moderating your alcohol intake, and implementing good skincare practices.

Your skincare routine contributes to fewer wrinkles, especially when you use targeted cosmetic products with anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol, and vitamin C.

It’s important to visit your dermatologist if you are concerned about lip wrinkles.


Lip lines eventually form during a lifetime. They simply show your skin adapting as you venture through life. Protecting the delicate skin of your lips and upper lip area with sunscreen, lip balms, and other beauty products will help delay the onset and keep your skin looking young.

Talk to your dermatologist if you’re past the preventative stage and wrinkles around the lips are causing you distress. They can advise on the best wrinkle treatment for your lips.

Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, is a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, the head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist in several medical institutions with years of experience in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology.
The article was fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
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Written by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: September 25, 2023
8 min read 653 Views 0 Comments

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