Nasolabial Fold: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

The nasolabial fold is commonly referred to as “smile lines” or “laugh lines”.

Nasolabial Fold Prevention

Smiling or laughing brings so much positive vibe to a person. It does not only lit up a gloomy room or space, but it radiates so much beauty to a person’s face.

However, what if smiling causes extra dents on your face? What if the very expression that elicits so much joy and positive reaction can hasten one of the signs of aging to one’s face? This, unfortunately, is one life’s paradox, the very act of showing joy causes the dreaded laugh lines, or also known as nasolabial fold.

What Happens When You Have Nasolabial Fold

The nasolabial fold is not technically a wrinkle as even young ones have them.  However, the folds become more pronounced as the person ages, or due to other external factors.

The nasolabial fold is the two lines that appear on the lower side of the nose down to the mouth. Smile or laugh lines as what others call them, no one is spared from having them. The only difference is the intensity of the appearance – some have them more prominently, others not as deep.  Although as the human body starts to age, the nasolabial becomes more obvious even when the person is not smiling or laughing. That, unfortunately, is the law of nature.

So what are the folds made of? The folds are actually made up of muscles and tissues that are tightly packed together.

Reasons Why We Have Nasolabial Folds

Apart from the fact that it is a manifestation of the body’s gradual physiological and physical maturity, the appearance of these folds should not be cause for concern. Of course, if you’re conscious of your age or texture of your facial skin – then it is something that might keep you awake at night.

Collagen Decrease

The nasolabial fold is not a genetic error or a symptom that cardiovascular health is weak.  One reason as mentioned previously is aging. Collagen, which the body naturally produces, helps in keeping the strength and elasticity of the skin. However, as we add years to our age, collagen production starts to slow down. This then affects the tightness and firmness of the skin. Thus folds, creases and lines appear.

The cheeks also start to thin and flatten as we start to age. Gravity plays a big part too, as it pulls the weight of the facial skin, as part of the aging process.

Smoking

Aside from the natural biological process that we all go through, other factors come into play – such as smoking. Smoking not only adds years to our face but also makes the nasolabial folds more prominent.  This is due to the act of puffing the cigarette, which puts pressure on the muscle tissue surrounding the mouth, and the damaging effects of the smoke. Cigarettes contain nicotine which affects the flow of oxygen in the body as smoking can further narrow down the blood vessels.

Sun Exposure

Too much sun without any protection can also make the appearance of Nasolabial fold more obvious.   That is why putting sunscreen is highly important as it protects the skin from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. UV rays affect the collagen and elasticity of the skin and, decrease Vitamin A.

Our sleeping position could also exacerbate the deepness of the creases as sleeping on one side (either left or right) puts too much pressure on the face.

Reduction of fat on the face due to loss of weight also deepens the appearance of the Nasolabial folds.

And of course, while smiling and laughing brings so much beauty and joy to the body’s total well being, it can further the appearance of the folds.

Lastly, genetics have a contributing factor too. Pronounced creases are just the norm for some family members.

How to Lessen the Appearance of Nasolabial Folds

Although totally eliminating nasolabial folds is not possible as we cannot reverse aging, there are ways to reduce the appearance or at least keep the extreme manifestations at bay.  These may either be natural or non-invasive, or surgical. It all depends on the person’s willingness to pay or sacrifice all in the name of beauty.

Use of moisturizers and serums

Applying moisturizers and serums helps in keeping the face hydrated. Dry and dull skin accentuates the wrinkles so helping restore the moisture at least makes the skin look more supple and healthy. It also helps that many serums and night creams have collagen, vitamin c, and retinol which are essential for firming and tightening the skin.

Facial yoga and exercises

Although the effectivity of facial exercises is not yet totally tested, some swear that it helps in firming the skin – much like body workout that keeps our body fit and strong. There are a plethora of apps and videos that show how to properly exercise the face to lessen the appearance of laugh lines or nasolabial folds.

Getting enough quality sleep

Getting an eight-hour sleep is truly effective in keeping our physical, mental and emotional state stable.  It helps in repairing and renewing our tired bodies. Lack of sleep reduces the amount of collagen. Likewise, insufficient quality sleeps shows on our face – the skin looks tired and blotchy.

Cut down on smoking

Smoking is not only bad for lung and cardiovascular health but can also add years to our face. So for vanity’s sake, do your face favor by stopping smoking to maintain your face’s supple and crease-less look.

Apply sunscreen

Dermatologists really are right in insisting on the importance of putting sunscreen before heading out as it helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays that can damage the skin’s collagen.

Laser resurfacing

While this type of treatment may not necessarily remove the nasolabial folds, it can help reduce the appearance as laser resurfacing or intense exfoliation sheds dead and dry skin cells and limit the appearance of spots associated with aging. Laser resurfacing can also make the skin look cleaner and youthful-looking.

Injectable filler

Fillers contain certain types of acids (e.g. hyaluronic acid) that make the skin around the cheeks look plump and young. It also reduces the appearance of nasolabial folds. These fillers are injected around the cheek area, lasting for several months.

Facelift

This involves full cosmetic surgery to lift sagging face and smoothen the nasolabial folds. It works but recovery takes a long time. It is the most pricey among all treatments and while it truly reduces the folds, after a few years the fold’s will again be pronounced as everyone gets physically old.

Nasolabial folds are again common and natural manifestation of aging. However, there is nothing wrong to find and try different methods to make the folds’ less pronounced.  It is nonetheless important to check with a medical professional first to know the appropriate method for one’s face type (and allergy tolerance), especially if it involves surgery or injecting chemicals to the face. Going to a well-established dermatological center too is highly recommended.

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