They often say that wrinkles are a sign of a well-lived life, and we think that’s particularly true in the case of laugh lines, or nasolabial folds. These parentheses-esque, curving lines — which extend from our noses to our mouths — form after years of good times spent smiling and laughing with friends and family. However, as much fun as it is to make nasolabial folds, the deep wrinkles themselves aren’t always enjoyable.
Thankfully, if nasolabial folds haven’t etched into your skin already, there are ways to help prevent them from forming. Should you not be so lucky, that’s OK, too; there are options that can help improve the appearance of these annoying lines. Here, dermatologists share all on nasolabial folds, from prevention to treatment.
What Are Nasolabial Folds?
Take a look in the mirror and give yourself a big grin. You should see that the skin creates two folds — from the left side of your nose to the left corner of your mouth, and the right side of your nose to your mouth’s right corner. “Nasolabial folds are a natural facial feature, and it’s normal to see them when we’re smiling,” explains Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Modern Dermatology® of Connecticut. “However, as they deepen with age, they can become noticeable and present even when our face is at rest.”
This is partly due to repeated facial movements, sun damage, a reduction in bone density, and the depletion of collagen and elastin that occurs over time. Furthermore, the natural shifting of your buccal fat pads (areas of fat responsible for your cheeks’ fullness) can affect the appearance of your nasolabial folds. “The fat pads also drop due to weakened ligaments and the skin losing collagen and elasticity,” says Marnie Nussbaum, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. “All of these changes lead to deepening of the nasolabial folds, as the cheeks are falling while the mandible is retracting.”
How Can I Treat My Nasolabial Folds?
A consistent skincare routine and daily use of SPF can help delay the development of nasolabial folds (and wrinkles in general). When it comes to reducing the appearance of already existing nasolabial folds, though, things do become a bit trickier. Certain medical aesthetics treatments, including microcurrent, lasers, and deep peels can offer some improvement.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.
For moderate to severe nasolabial folds, however, consider injectable fillers. Fillers, which are typically made of water-loving hyaluronic acid, are a medical aesthetic treatment that help temporarily restore volume. Chances are that you’ve heard of filler being used to create fuller-looking lips or plumper cheeks. When used to treat nasolabial folds, the volume added by the filler reduces their depth, effectively minimizing their appearance.
Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you.
After your consultation and treatment with a licensed provider, the results are almost immediate, though there may be some bruising or swelling for the first several days. Usually, it can take a few weeks for the filler to completely settle. You can expect to pay between $600 and $1,000 to treat nasolabial folds with filler, depending on how much you need.
Am I a Candidate to Try Nasolabial Fold Filler?
The only person that can truly assess whether you are a candidate is your licensed provider. However, there are three major signs that you may be one for injectable fillers. The first is that your nasolabial folds or wrinkles are static, which means that they’re visible even when your face is at rest. The second is that you’ve seen your nasolabial folds noticeably deepen over time. And the last sign is more personal: “When the appearance bothers you, it is good to discuss treatment options, including dermal filler,” says Dr. Robinson.
For an accurate assessment, we recommend setting up a consultation with one or more licensed providers in your area. This person will help guide you through treatment options to determine which approach will best help you reach your aesthetic goals. Not sure where to get started? Chat with our team of trained aesthetic specialists — they can answer your questions about the treatment and help connect you with providers near you.
Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson is a paid Allergan® consultant.