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Garbo’s Gripe: Dealing with Wrinkles Around the Mouth

Woman smiling at mirror

Smile lines, marionette lines, vertical lip lines: all examples of wrinkles around the mouth, also called perioral lines. Even Greta Garbo wasn’t exempt. A nineteen eighty nine photograph of the star shows her shielding her mouth from the paparazzi so they could not see what she referred to as the “purse strings” above her upper lip. Luckily, advancements in skincare have given us access to solutions to the problem that Garbo herself probably would have approved of. Here are a few of those:

Retinols or retinoid creams can thicken the deeper layers of skin while thinning the top layers. This can help to relax marionette lines, which are the vertical wrinkles at the corners of the mouth. Over the counter lotions with alpha hydroxy can also help with softening the appearance of wrinkles.

Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels
These work by removing the upper layer of skin to reveal a newer, younger looking one. They work well with perioral wrinkles. However, the results are often short term and lighter peels will often not yield significant results. Look at all grades of peels to find the one that will be most effective.

Fillers are very effective at targeting wrinkles around the lip area. Results will appear immediately, but will not last for more than a few months. If you are looking for longer lasting results, Juvaderm Volume will last up to two years, but its thicker needle is not recommended for the faint of heart.

Lasers are another way to reduce wrinkles around the mouth. Laser devices such as Thermage, Titan, Refirm, and Ultherapy are designed to boost collagen production naturally and are normally safer than conventional lasers and little downtime is involved. While ablative procedures leave a smoother appearance they cause the skin to become dangerously thin and should be avoided.

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