sad woman age 40 having skin problem with nasolabial fold, smile lines or laugh lines on her face aging

Updated July 2023

Have you looked in the mirror and noticed your smile lines are more pronounced? As we age, we all experience fine lines and wrinkles. But smile lines, also called nasolabial folds, are especially noticeable and can age your face drastically.

Wrinkles and lines form in different ways, which also affect how they should be treated. We categorise the two types of wrinkles on the face as dynamic and static. Dynamic wrinkles are the ones you see when you move your face and are temporary. You’ll notice them considerably more when you’ve been crying or at the end of the day, when you feel stressed. But they vanish following a restful night of sleep. However, static wrinkles such as your smile lines or the lines around your eyes will remain on your face no matter how much sleep you have.

Pay special attention to what happens at night to discover what type of wrinkles you are dealing with. If they remain the next morning, even after a full night’s sleep, they are static wrinkles. These include laugh or smile lines, crow’s feet and the elevens in between the eyes. While these face lines are commonplace, their prominence varies, and they become more evident as you age.

If you want smooth and youthful-looking skin, you may be wondering how to eliminate laugh lines or prevent them from forming in the first place. Read on to learn more about laugh lines, what causes them and several treatment options, including smile line filler, that can help keep them at bay.

What Are Smile Lines?

Laugh lines or smile lines are wrinkles that develop between the bottom of the nose and the corners of the mouth. Although they’re a natural part of ageing and aren’t harmful, some people’s nasolabial folds are deeper, and it can be frustrating when these facial creases appear.

Despite the name, laugh lines aren’t caused by laughing or smiling. These creases commonly appear over time due to a natural loss of volume that occurs with age, but they can also be a genetic characteristic you possess from youth.

Deeper creases tend to form as you get older, with the primary causes being:

Decrease in production of collagen

Dehydrated skin

Sun damage



Weight gain

Sudden weight loss

Dental problems

Over time, smile lines can also become more prominent due to cheek fat descending, which occurs naturally as we age.

How Can I Prevent and Get Rid of Smile Lines?

Preventing dynamic smile lines altogether is pretty impossible. Of course, you could opt for smile line filler as soon as you notice static smile lines appearing, which will help prevent them from getting worse as the years pass. But there are ways to delay how deep static smile lines become and reduce their appearance by elevating your skincare routine. We recommend using clinically proven products that help improve texture and make skin plump to smooth out wrinkles.

If you already have prominent laugh lines, you won’t be able to reverse them without a cosmetic treatment. However, an effective skincare regime may improve the appearance of existing lines and give you more confidence in your overall appearance.

Here are the top seven products containing effective ingredients if you are worried about smile or laugh lines:

Sunscreen — UV protection is critical to protecting your skin and staving off wrinkles and fine lines. For the best protection, opt for an SPF 50 or over and apply daily to your face, neck and back of the hands. Don’t be fooled by cloudy, rainy or dull days; UV rays can still reach your skin and cause damage. Daily usage of sunscreen shields skin, providing anti-ageing and overall benefits unrivalled by any comparable product.

Retinol — This holy-grail ingredient is said to break down the free radicals that lead to wrinkles and boost the production of skin cells to keep you looking radiant. Retinol also promotes collagen production, increases cell turnover and reverses UV damage. You’ll need help deciding which products to use because different skin types accept retinol at varying strengths.

Vitamin C — Topical vitamin C is proven to improve the appearance of wrinkles and may also help protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays when used alongside sunscreen. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts collagen production and improves the skin’s overall appearance.

If you are concerned about smile lines, a healthy diet high in vitamin C may be advantageous, with some studies indicating that participants who consumed more vitamin C had less noticeable wrinkles. Additionally, a few clinical studies show that using vitamin C topically for at least 12 weeks can decrease the visual signs of lines and wrinkles.

Peptides — Peptides comprise amino acids that can stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Peptides can smooth, firm and hydrate the skin for an anti-ageing effect, giving you a bright, healthy and youthful look. In one clinical study on peptide complex topical treatment conducted on female subjects over age 40, after just two weeks, significant improvements in the depth of wrinkles were measured by skin topography assessments.

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) — These are fruit acids that act as excellent exfoliators and boost cellular renewal. In addition to removing dead skin cells, AHAs have extraordinary effects on the dermis (the deeper layer of skin). They can help to fill and plump your skin by increasing collagen formation. AHAs are some of the most popular and extensively researched anti-ageing skincare ingredients.

Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of these compounds in reversing the effects of photoaging, reducing wrinkles and increasing skin elasticity, tone and hydration. Utilised in treating dermatological conditions for around forty years, numerous skin problems, including acne, scarring, pigmentation, dry skin and wrinkles, can be addressed with AHA.

Hyaluronic acid — Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a powerful antioxidant and humectant capable of retaining more than 1,000 times its volume in water. Used topically, numerous clinical studies have shown that it can help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and add plumpness to the skin.

Furthermore, HA is the primary ingredient in the most widely used dermal fillers. This is because there is little chance that an adverse reaction will occur because the ingredient is a biocompatible substance already present in the human body.

What Is Smile Line Filler?

“How do I get rid of smile lines?” is one of the most commonly asked questions at Harley Street MD. Smile line filler is undoubtedly an effective and fast way to smooth laugh lines and reverse the signs of sun damage and ageing. Our aesthetic clinic in London uses hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal fillers, which are incredibly safe and perhaps the easiest way to eliminate smile lines without cosmetic surgery.

By carefully and precisely injecting HA filler into the nasolabial crease between your mouth and nose, we effectively “fill” wrinkles that have formed there to restore volume to the face. When you have a laugh-line filler treatment, the effects are immediate and typically last between six and eighteen months, with most patients requiring a top-up treatment annually to maintain results.

Regardless of the type of dermal filler you opt for, its safety and the results it produces will depend greatly on the way it is administered. Before proceeding, always ask what qualifications your practitioner holds and check if they are a registered medical professional.

Alternative Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Smile Lines


Botox is an “anti-wrinkle” injection but works differently from dermal fillers. Botox is made from botulinum toxins that restrict movement in targeted areas, temporarily paralysing the muscles that cause specific wrinkles to form. Although it can be used to improve the appearance of existing laugh lines, it tends to be more utilised as a preventative treatment.

Results from a botox treatment will typically last up to three to five months before a top-up treatment is required. However, some patients experience longer-lasting effects.

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment is a skin procedure used to remove the top layer of skin cells in targeted areas. Laser treatments improve skin texture and appearance, tightening the skin while encouraging collagen production and cell regeneration. These treatments can smooth out moderate facial lines and reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles for a rejuvenated complexion.

Chemical Peels

Like laser treatments, chemical peels remove the top layer of skin to reveal a brighter, healthier visage. A chemical solution is applied to the face to remove dead skin cells, replacing ageing or sun-damaged skin with a rejuvenated, collagen-rich layer. Chemical peels are often used to treat acne scarring and dilated pores, but they can also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including laugh lines.


Microneedling is a cosmetic treatment that stimulates collagen and elastin synthesis for smoother, younger-looking skin. In this procedure, a roller with fine needles is moved over the skin to create micro-injuries in the skin. This triggers the production of skin-boosting proteins through the body’s natural wound-healing response, and you may see a reduction in wrinkle depth as a result.

Cosmetic Surgery for Smile Lines

A longer-lasting way to get rid of laugh lines is with cosmetic surgery. A surgical facelift can combat deep-set wrinkles and provide transformative results but does come with significantly more risks than non-surgical treatments. In the UK, any type of surgeon can perform cosmetic surgery, and we recommend checking if your cosmetic surgeon is a fully qualified plastic surgeon listed on the GMC specialist register.

If you decide to get a surgical facelift, be sure to research and never choose based solely on patient before and after photos or star ratings on websites, which may be misleading.

Other Ways to Prevent Smile Lines

If you don’t have laugh lines yet but want to take preventative measures to maintain a youthful look, there are some things you can try at home. Keep the following tips in mind to look after your skin.

Face Yoga — Face yoga can naturally smooth the area between your nose and mouth and reduce the appearance of laugh lines. This technique uses massage and facial exercises to lift and firm muscles, which can smooth lines and wrinkles.

Don’t Sleep on Your Side — Sleeping on your side puts pressure on your face, making laugh lines more likely to appear. Try sleeping on your back for smoother, younger-looking skin.

Stay Hydrated — Drinking plenty of water is essential to keep skin healthy and hydrated, contributing to plump skin.

Don’t Smoke — Smoking contributes to a loss of collagen and skin elasticity, which is bad news if you don’t want to develop nasolabial folds. This lack of volume in the skin will cause laugh lines and other wrinkles to form as you age, and your skin will thank you if you quit.

If you’d like to get rid of laugh lines or rejuvenate your skin get in touch for a no-obligation consultation at Harley Street MD, London’s premier aesthetic clinic. We’ll help you find the right treatment for your specific concerns and long-term goals.

Founder at Harley St M.D.
Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
Dr. Chia Tan
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