Upper Lip Wrinkles Causes and the Best Treatments

Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)

Dr. Gavin Chan

Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics

Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
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Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed vertical lines above your upper lip? The dreaded upper lip wrinkles (also called ‘smoker’s lines’) can be a sign of premature skin ageing and are a common concern for men and women. While vertical upper lip lines and wrinkles can show up in your 40’s, if you’re a smoker, purse your lips a lot or have had a lot of sun exposure, they can appear earlier.

Since 2005, Dr Gavin Chan (MBBS, Cosmetic Physician, Cosmetic Surgeon) and his highly trained, experienced team have successfully treated upper lip wrinkles. According to Dr Gavin Chan upper lip wrinkles affect a lot of people, especially people that have fair skin. This happens because if you have fair skin, you naturally have less melanin (the skin pigment that can protect against UV radiation). Upper lip wrinkles are not generally seen in people with darker skin types.

Dr Gavin Chan also notes that females tend to have more upper lip wrinkles because they have up to 25% less dermal thickness than men. This makes their skin more prone to wrinkling, which increases after menopause.

What causes upper lip wrinkles?

The natural ageing process affects facial bone structure, including the upper jawbones that support your lips. This process leads to a loss of volume and support of your jawbones, resulting in the upper lip appearing thinner and flatter. Over time this volume loss affects the upper lip and the red part of the lips (vermillion border) resulting in smaller lips.

Daily movement of your mouth is also a cause of upper lip wrinkle lines. From pursing the lips, talking, and contracting the muscles around the mouth. The muscle around the mouth (orbicularis oris) muscle works like a purse string. Habitual patterns result in fine lines and wrinkles appearing on the upper lip area.

Orbicularis Oris Muscle Around the Mouth

Smoking can also be a cause of upper lip wrinkles and will accelerate the formation of upper lip lines. It’s important to note that these so-called ‘smokers’ lines’ around the lips can appear even if you have never smoked. Smoking reduces the amount of antioxidants your in the body, which results in your skin becoming more prone to sun damage and ageing.

From our experience sun exposure is one of the main causes of upper lip wrinkles forming. Because of the way your lips are positioned on your face, they can receive more sun exposure than other areas. If you’ve had exposure to the sun without sunscreen or have had years of prolonged sun exposure you may be more prone to upper lip wrinkles.

Since 2005, we have been successfully treating upper lip lines and wrinkles by looking at the underlying cause and addressing those causes by using dermal fillers, anti-wrinkle injections or Erbium laser treatment.

Upper lip wrinkle treatment using dermal fillers

Upper lip wrinkles can be reduced and smoothed out with dermal fillers 

We can use fine dermal fillers in the upper lip wrinkles to plump out each individual line. This results in a moderate improvement of the upper lip wrinkles.

Another technique we use is to revolumise the whole upper lip area with a ‘sheet’ of dermal filler beneath the skin. It’s important to note that while dermal fillers have the advantage of minimal downtime, the results are not as effective long term as laser treatments. However, with minimal bruising, swelling and downtime required, this upper lip wrinkle treatment is very popular.

We can also use dermal fillers in the vermillion border of your lips to enhance and define your lip. The effect of this not only softens and smooths out the upper lip lines, it can look similar to wearing a lip liner. It is important to note that while dermal filler treatment in the lip area can add volume and definition, it cannot change the shape of your lips entirely.

Upper lip wrinkle treatment using anti-wrinkle injections

To treat upper link wrinkles we can also use anti-wrinkle injections. This upper lip wrinkle treatment will help the muscles that surrounds the lips (orbicularis oris) to relax. When this muscle relaxes, the upper lip wrinkles will soften and smooth. It’s important to note that the dosage of anti-wrinkle injection used the upper lip area must be carefully chosen. An excessive amount of anti-wrinkle injection treatment in the upper lip area can make it hard to talk, eat, kiss, purse lips or even spit out water after you’ve cleaned your teeth.

Our highly trained and experienced Cosmetic Doctors and Cosmetic Nurses will assess your upper lip wrinkle area to determine the right amount of anti-wrinkle injection to use. While anti-wrinkle injections in the upper lip area can be effective for some patients, it is important to note that in some cases the results may only last a few months only before more anti-wrinkle treatment is needed.

Upper lip wrinkle treatment using Erbium laser

According to Dr Gavin Chan the gold standard for upper lip line removal is Erbium Laser resurfacing. The Erbium laser can be used to resurface upper lip wrinkles by stimulating new collagen and skin regeneration. It is important to note that this upper lip wrinkle treatment is not suitable for everyone as the recovery time usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. Watch Dr Gavin Chan demonstrate how Erbium Laser works.

While the fractional Carbon Dioxide laser can be used on the upper lip area, it tends to cause shrinkage of this area. Shrinkage and tightening of skin in the upper lip area can make everyday activities like drinking through a straw challenging. This is why we don’t normally use this type of laser treatment to treat upper lip wrinkles.

Erbium Laser Treatment Machine

The best skincare to use after your upper lip wrinkle

After your upper lip wrinkles have been treated, we suggest you keep them nourished and hydrated with the following skincare. Biopelle Retriderm Vitamin A Serum is a clinically proven, fast-acting, protein rich Vitamin A serum designed to repair the effects of ageing while maintaining healthy skin. With 0.5% retinol, this natural skin rejuvenation serum improves luminosity and reduces wrinkles as it firms and tightens the skin.

PRESCRIBEDsolutions Urbane Renewal Triple Action Antioxidant Serum is a light anti-oxidant serum that helps protect the skin from environmental pollution and free radicals. The powerful ingredients combine to repair and nourish the skin to keep it glowing and radiant.

Dermaceutic Derma Lift is a powerful peptide, anti-ageing serum formulated to treat and reduce wrinkles and expression lines. With powerful Ceramides and Panthenol, skin becomes firmer, smoother and more youthful.

Unsure which skincare product to use? You can book a skin consultation with our highly trained and experienced Skin Therapists who can advise which skincare will suit your skin type. Call us on 1300 863 824.

The best place to remove upper lip wrinkles in Melbourne

Since 2005, Dr Gavin Chan and his highly trained and experienced team of Cosmetic Doctors, Cosmetic Nurses and Skin Therapists have helped thousands of patients remove upper lip wrinkles We pride ourselves on providing upper lip wrinkle treatments that reduce lip wrinkles, restore volume and redefine the natural lip line.

Fed up with your upper lip wrinkles making you look and feel older than you are? Book an upper lip wrinkle consultation in by calling us on 1300 863 824.

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Dr. Gavin Chan
Dr. Gavin Chan

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