Do you notice lines or deeper wrinkles around your mouth and nose? If so, you have nasolabial folds. Commonly known as smile or laugh lines, nasolabial folds refer to the lines that run from the bottom/edge of your nose down to the outer corners of your mouth. These folds are a sign of sagging skin and are associated with volume loss.
Everyone has nasolabial folds, but their prominence or severity can vary. These are usually accompanied by wrinkles around the eyes and can become more visible when you smile or laugh. Nasolabial folds also tend to deepen or become more noticeable with age. Deep or prominent folds can make you look sad and tired.
What causes nasolabial folds?
A number of factors play a part in the formation and deepening of nasolabial folds. These include:
- Aging – This causes a decline in the production of collagen and elastin, the two proteins that provide strength and support to your skin. When this happens, your skin may start to sag, contributing to lines, creases, and wrinkles.
- Sun exposure – Prolonged and unprotected sun exposure damages the skin and accelerates skin aging. Ultraviolet or UV rays break down the collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in wrinkles or deepening of the nasolabial folds.
- Smoking – This habit also damages both your collagen and elastin, and speeds up aging. Smoking, furthermore, makes you more prone to lines and wrinkles, as it causes you to pucker your mouth repeatedly.
- Repetitive facial expressions – Repetitive smiling or laughing can cause the nasolabial folds to deepen. You may also notice a pattern of nasolabial folds or wrinkles around the eyes when you get older, especially if you laugh or smile frequently.
- Gravity – Its effects can show up on your skin later in life, usually in the form of folds and sagging skin. Years of gravity pulling your skin down, along with decreased collagen and elastin, can lead to loose skin and nasolabial folds.
- Too much stress – With excess stress, your body releases more cortisol or stress hormones. This is known to cause skin inflammation and accelerate aging by breaking down collagen and elastin. Also, frequently being stressed can cause you to frown or make other repetitive facial expressions.
- Dramatic weight gain or loss – Weight gain can make your cheeks plumper, which may emphasize nasolabial folds. Fat or weight loss, on the other hand, can result in loose or saggy skin.
Sometimes, when nasolabial folds deepen, marionette lines may also develop. These refer to the lines that run from the corners of the mouth down to the chin. The combination of nasolabial folds and marionette lines can give your face a sad and an older appearance.
How can we help?
If you’re bothered by your nasolabial folds and wish to improve their appearance, we at Cutis Laser Clinics can help. We provide a number of medical aesthetic treatments that can minimize the appearance of nasolabial folds and other wrinkles. All our procedures are nonsurgical and can promote a rejuvenated and a more youthful look.
Your individualized treatment plan, depending on various factors such as your acceptable social downtime, your expected time frame and budget, will be explained in detail during your consultation with our Harvard trained Medical Director, Dr. Sylvia Ramirez.