Nasolabial Folds – Causes, Treatments And Prevention

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    A smile can light up your whole face. It is the single most beautiful feature of any living being. But smiling can also cause nasolabial lines. Lines and wrinkles are best treated quickly before they become deeper and permanent. Read further to understand more about nasolabial folds.

    What Are Nasolabial Folds?

    The lines that appear on the sides of the mouth, starting from the edge of your nostrils right down to the edge of lips are called nasolabial folds. They are more noticeable when your smile or laugh.

    Almost everyone has nasolabial folds, besides new-borns. The lines become prominent with age as the folds that are made of dense bundles of muscles and fibrous tissues start to loosen and become weak. The sagging of skin makes a nasolabial fold deeper and more visible.

    Also Read: Clinical Procedures To Remove The Nasolabial Folds

    What Causes Nasolabial Folds?

    • Excessive Exposure To Sun – Exposing your delicate skin to the sun for prolonged hours can dehydrate the skin. This causes the wrinkles and fine lines to form. Instead, wearing sun protection/sunscreen before stepping out can help block the harmful rays of the sun and prevent premature signs of aging like laugh lines.
    • Smoking – Nicotine present in the cigarettes damages the skin and hinders blood circulation to it as well. Another drawback of smoking is that the constant mouth movement decreases the elasticity of the skin and creates wrinkles around the mouth.
    • Aging – Unfortunately we cannot prevent this, but we can delay aging. By maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep, we can slow down the natural aging process.
    • Irregular Weight – Losing weight might be your goal, but the weight gain and loss cycle will result in nasolabial folds. The constant stretching and deflating of skin will cause the elastin and collagen to become weaker, thereby creating fine lines and wrinkles quickly.
    • Improper Sleeping Habits – Yes sleep is very important. The question is how many hours of sleep do you need? An adult can perform his/her best after sleeping continuously for 7-8 hours. Continuous sleep is vital as it helps recover and heal the damage the skin experiences all at once, instead of doing the same routine with shorter sleep hours.
    • Dehydration – Hydration is quintessentially the most important substance for a healthy, wrinkle-free, and glowing skin. Drinking 2-3 litres of water will provide sufficient moisture and hydration to your skin. But, if you want an extra dose of hydration, eat fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, apples, etc.

    Also Read: How To Remove Fine Lines On Face & Under Eyes?

    • Lack Of Proper Nutrition – Binging on oily, sugary, and junk food will not only affect your health but also your skin. Unhealthy food has been linked to acne, pimples, constipation, poor blood formation and blood circulation, etc. eventually leading to wrinkles and lines.
    • Weak Facial Muscles – Keeping your body muscles strong is important but don’t forget to exercise your face! That’s right; facial muscles require working out as well. Engaging in facial exercises will strengthen your muscles and prevent them from sagging and wrinkling prematurely.
    • Environmental Pollutants – Air and water pollution is making life difficult for everyone, especially for your skin. Covering your face with a scarf and rinsing your skin with clean, mineral water will show drastic improvement in the health of your skin.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Nasolabial Folds

    Before the appearance of nasolabial folds, there are few symptoms that start to reveal how the nasolabial folds will become more prominent. This crease is made up of three muscles – the levator labii superioris, zygomaticus minor, and the zygomaticus major that draw the upper lip in a diagonal direction and have insertions on the upper lip region. The nasolabial fold deepens depending on the constant activity performed by these muscles to form a facial expression.

    The presence of nasolabial folds starts to appear when you enter your 20s. This is mainly due to age-related factors. Babies and young children do not have visible nasolabial folds. Repetitive expressions made by the muscles increases skin laxity and the atrophy of dermal collagen.

    Also Read: What Causes Saggy Skin & How To Tighten It?

    How Are Nasolabial Folds Treated?

    There are many to remove nasolabial folds. Before starting on any treatment, please consult with a dermatologist as he/she can guide you on a proper treatment course.

    It’s best to start with a less invasive treatment gradually proceeding to other treatments such as surgery. Let’s discuss each treatment in detail that have shown positive results in the removal of nasolabial folds.

    1. Fillers – This is the first step taken towards counteracting nasolabial folds. These fillers are injections that come in various forms and are used on the patient depending on the severity of the fold. The filler is injected into the skin around the upper lip and cheek.

    Fillers add plumpness and volume to the indented wrinkle thereby lifting the skin and reducing the appearance of the nasolabial fold. This procedure has no downtime, and the patient can continue with the rest of his/her day. The effects of these fillers can last between six months to two years.

    Also Read: How Does Dermal Fillers Work & Benefits Of It?

    • Bovine Collagen Fillers – These fillers are made from the skin of a cow. They are the least expensive fillers in the market and are widely used for wrinkles. They need to be injected 4-5 times in a year to be effective. Allergy test must be done before using bovine collagen fillers.
    • Human Collagen Fillers – They are made from cultures of human cells. They cause less allergy compared to bovine collagen fillers. Human collagen fillers need to be injected every 3-6 months since the effects don’t last very long. They are also more expensive than bovine fillers.
    • Hyaluronic Acid Fillers – Since hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin, this filler suits anyone easily and causes little to none allergic reaction. The fillers break down more slowly giving a long-lasting effect of nine months or longer.

    2. Skin Tightening – This is a brilliant solution for those with sagging nasolabial folds. If the skin becomes loose, then the dermatologist will perform a skin tightening treatment. This treatment is performed with the help of fractional radiofrequency device or ultrasound.

    nasolabial folds treatment


    3. Laser Treatment – Considered the most popular method to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging, this treatment uses a short-pulsed laser light that penetrates deep into the skin. The laser smoothens and reverses the skin’s quality by removing the upper damaged layers of the skin. New collagen is formed to give a youthful appearance to your face. Most commonly used lasers for nasolabial fold removal are Fraxel Laser and Fractional CO2.

    4. Surgery – If you decide to opt for surgery order to remove your laugh lines, then a simple a full facelift or cheek lift can diminish the appearance of nasolabial folds along with other lines and wrinkles. But this method may come with few disadvantages –

    • The cosmetic surgery to remove nasolabial fold has a long recovery time with several side effects.
    • There is no permanent solution; repetitive treatments are required to maintain the new smooth skin.
    • The natural look of your face will change, and it may appear artificial if you perform multiple facelifts.

    5. Exercises – Facial exercises for nasolabial folds can be practiced every day to prevent and diminish these lines. Here are three exercises –

    • Exercise 1 – Sit straight on a chair and tilt your head back till your eyes and the ceiling are aligned together. Pout your lips together and extend them in such way as if you are kissing the ceiling. Hold the “kiss” for 15 seconds. Repeat this 10 to 15 times twice a day.
    • Exercise 2 – Place your middle and index fingers on the laugh line (both sides of the mouth). Pull your fingers back to stretch the skin towards your ears. Once you’re in this position, pout your lips and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 10 times every day.
    • Exercise 3 – For the last exercise, curve your index fingers and place them inside your mouth. Pull the corners and stretch your mouth horizontally. Keep this position for 10 seconds and repeat it 15 times every day.

    Before And After The Treatment Results

    The nasolabial lines which were making you feel too conscious while talking and smiling will diminish with the skin around the nose and mouth appearing smoother. Depending on the type of treatment you opt for, the results can be visible after the first session or after 2-3 sessions.

    Can Nasolabial Folds Be Prevented?

    With proper maintenance and taking daily preventive measures, you can diminish the appearance of nasolabial folds. This will help immensely in the later stages of your life. Include the following in your skin care regime –

    • Always wear sunscreen! Sun protection will help you in the long run and prevent any wrinkles and lines from forming prematurely. Use it under your makeup or as the last step in your skin care regime.
    • Exfoliating can slough off the dead skin cells that prevent the healthier new cells from being visible. Skin exfoliation also helps with the absorption of your skin care products. You only need to use an exfoliator twice/thrice a week to increase the glow and vibrancy of your skin.

    Also Read: Best Anti-Ageing Tips That You Must Know

    • Exercising is very important if you want to prevent your skin from sagging and wrinkling. Performing exercise will improve the blood circulation and increase the oxygen supply to your face. Remember to exercise your face and neck as well.
    • Eating the right food encourages the skin to remain youthful and bright. Eating your greens and omega-3 fatty acids will help the skin fight against wrinkles. Avoid processed and artificial food as they ruin the charm of your skin and increase chances of developing wrinkles.

    Laughing makes the world light, so don’t stop laughing on account of developing nasolabial folds. Try these simple tips to keep the smile lines at bay without worrying about any consequences of an actual smile. A dermatologist can be consulted anytime for an effective solution for nasolabial folds too!

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    About The Author

    Kushneet Kukreja

    Kushneet Kukreja

    A postgraduate in Biotechnology from Kingston University and an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition, Kushneet Kukreja is a passionate writer who works in close association with the dermatologists at our head office to generate valuable and scientifically accurate content for our blog.

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