For many people, nasolabial folds – the lines that run from the nose to the mouth – are a common ageing concern. Of course, these lines are a wholly normal part of ageing, but should nasolabial folds bother you, you’ll be pleased to hear that it is possible to prevent and reduce them.

Understanding nasolabial folds

Nasolabial lines, also known as smile lines or laugh lines, are the wrinkles or folds that form on the sides of the nose, extending downward towards the corners of the mouth. These lines become more pronounced with age due to the gradual loss of collagen and elastin in the skin together with structural changes in the face. Additionally, repetitive facial expressions, sun exposure, genetics, and lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of these lines.

Let’s look at the causes in more depth…

  • Natural Ageing: As we age, our skin loses elasticity, resulting in the formation of wrinkles and lines. The loss of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for maintaining skin firmness and flexibility, contributes to the deepening of nasolabial folds. Additionally, the loss of bony volume in the face and changes in distribution of facial fat can mean that these folds become heavier.
  • Repetitive Facial Expressions: Frequent smiling, laughing, and talking can cause the muscles around the mouth and nose to contract, leading to the development of permanent lines over time.
  • Sun Exposure: Prolonged sun exposure accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres, making the skin more susceptible to wrinkling and sagging.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing deeper nasolabial lines due to factors like skin type, facial structure, and family history.

As you can see from the reasons stated above, it’s not possible to prevent nasolabial folds from forming, but there are things you can do to support your skin throughout the ageing process – such as using great skincare, protecting your skin from UV damage, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Sleeping on your back is something you might not have considered but can be very helpful. Sleeping on your side increases the pressure on the delicate skin on your face, causing the lines and wrinkles to deepen. If you struggle to do so (as many natural side-sleepers do), consider investing in a silk pillow, which, unlike cotton, glides across your skin instead of pulling at it, which prevents lines and wrinkles.

How to tackle nasolabial folds non-surgically

If the above measures are not enough, then skin-tightening treatments like the Profound RF are very effective for lines and skin sagging. It works by creating a collagen renewal process in the skin which strengthens the skin, lifts and tightens it, making it look healthier. And not only will Profound RF smooth the nose-to-mouth lines, but it will also tighten sagging jowls and lax skin, and soften wrinkles on the face and neck.

I also love treating concerns like these with, Sofwave, an ultrasound device which is FDA-cleared and clinically proven to remodel collagen. It uses Parallel Beam Technology to heat the tissue in the mid-dermis (the lower layers of skin), which triggers the body’s healing response and stimulates new collagen production with zero downtime. It’s an excellent solution for treating mild to moderate fine lines and wrinkles, sagging neck skin, and mild jowling around the jawline with little or no downtime.

Finally, facial fillers can also be injected into the nasolabial lines to soften them directly. This involves a series of tiny injections into the skin to support, lift and improve the nasolabial line. Alternatively – or in addition – we can also inject dermal fillers in the cheek area and in front of the ear to correct for the global volume loss that tends to exacerbate the nasolabial line.

It’s important to remember that treating nasolabial folds shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, instead work with a professional that will create a unique treatment plan for you dependent on your unique anatomy.