Nose-to-mouth Lines

Written by: Alice Hart-Davis

Last Updated: 22 September 2023

Nose to mouth lines, also known as nasolabial folds or smile lines, are the creases that run from the corner of your nose to the top corner of your mouth. They are a normal anatomical feature – even children have them – but as we age they can appear more prominent with deeper folds developing that can make the face appear downtrodden or sad. Scroll down for answers to all the FAQs about nose-to-mouth lines.

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FAQ ABOUT Nose-to-mouth Lines

What are the lines around my mouth?

Nose to mouth lines, also known as nasolabial folds or smile lines, are the creases that run from the corner of your nose to the top corner of your mouth. They are a normal anatomical feature – even children have them – but as we age they can appear more prominent with deeper folds developing that can make the face appear downtrodden or sad.

What causes nose to mouth lines?

As we age we lose collagen and elastin in our skin and the supporting structures in our face, such as fat pads in the cheeks, begin to descend. This causes the lines from our nose to mouth to become deeper and more noticeable. As with all signs of ageing, nasolabial folds can be made worse by lifestyle factors such as smoking, rapid weight loss and sun exposure/damage too which cause wrinkling and changes in skin texture and further degrade levels of hyaluronic acid and collagen in our skin, which are responsible for its plumpness and fullness. Facial expressions can also contribute to deepening of lines and folds, known as dynamic wrinkles, hence the other name for nasolabial folds – smile lines.

How to get rid of nasolabial folds while sleeping?

You may notice that you have deeper nasolabial folds on one side of the face, particularly if that is the side you sleep on. This is because the facial tissue on that side of the face is being squashed repeatedly while you sleep. Anecdotally there are claims that things like face yoga or special pillows can help to improve the appearance of nasolabial folds while you sleep. 

How to reduce smile lines

The main treatment used to address smile lines is dermal fillers. In the past these were injected directly into the fold to smooth it out but this often resulted in an unnatural appearance, sometimes compared to the look of characters in Planet of the Apes. In recent years techniques have evolved and a more common method now is to lift out the nasolabial folds by replacing the lost structure in the mid face – in general the cheek area. In replacing lost volume here the sagging skin that has made the fold look deeper is lifted back into place thereby minimising the appearance of the fold. In general it does not look natural to have nasolabial folds completely obliterated as they are a natural anatomical feature that even children have.

Regenerative treatments which stimulate the body to rebuild its own collagen and replenish hyaluronic acid levels are also gaining popularity. One notable one is Profhilo, an injectable hyaluronic acid treatment that is not a filler, rather a  “bio-remodelling product”. PRP (platelet rich plasma) can also stimulate facial regeneration.

Collagen stimulating treatments can also rejuvenate the appearance of nose to mouth lines by regenerating lost collagen at a deeper level. These include a number of options from microneedling to high-intensity focused ultrasound — like Ultherapy. Laser resurfacing can also be effective in improving the surface layers of the skin where creases and wrinkles have formed and the texture of the skin is poor.

Can skincare cure nose to mouth lines?

Skincare can improve the appearance of the skin texture and in some cases work at deeper levels to boost hyaluronic acid and collagen levels in the skin. This in turn can make the skin plumper and less wrinkled, which would then impact the appearance of nasolabial folds. But there is no magic cream that can get rid of deep folds and wrinkles. These are caused by a loss of the underlying structure and so the most effective treatment is to replace that lost volume. Looking after your skin and protecting it in the sun is a first line defence and a good skincare regime incorporating active products can soften the appearance of facial wrinkles. If you don’t want to have fillers then less invasive skin treatments in clinics such  chemical peels can also help the skin to regenerate at a deeper level as well as improving its texture and appearance.

How can I prevent nose to mouth lines?

Your number one line of defence against premature ageing of any kind is always sun protection. Sun damage is the leading cause of skin ageing so using an SPF year round, rain or shine, can protect your skin from damage. Smoking is also a contributing factor to prominent folds and wrinkles on the face as well as a sallow complexion. Some people claim that facial exercises, such as face yoga, and massage can help reduce lines around the nose and mouth.

Is nose to mouth lines caused by ageing?

Nose to mouth lines are made worse by ageing but we all have them, even from a very young age. Except for new born babies, all humans have nasolabial folds. They tend to become deeper and more prominent with age as the face sags and the skin quality and underlying support structures degrade.

How can I treat nose to mouth lines?

By far the most popular treatment for nose to mouth lines is dermal fillers. These can replace the lost volume in the face that causes the folds to become more deep set and visible. Most dermal fillers used in the UK today are made from hyaluronic acid and are non-permanent.  Depending on the product and how quickly your body breaks down hyaluronic acid they can yield results from six to up to 24 months.

Are nasolabial folds unattractive?

Many people are bothered by nasolabial folds as they age because they can make the face look tired or sad. We all have them so they are a natural part of our appearance. However if yours have become something that bothers you, there are treatments available to improve their appearance and soften them.


Alice answers your question. Want to ask Alice a question? Pop it in here and check back in a few days for the answer.

Hi there, which do you recommend for an over-55 year old – Tixel, microneedling or HIFU for nasolabial folds? Don't mind a bit of downtime or pain. Don't want to use fillers. Thanks!

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Of those three, Tixel – in its most intensive mode, which is the ablative mode – would be most likely to have a good crack at softening nasolabial folds if you want to avoid filler. There's quite a bit of downtime though, and (as with anything) you'd need a full-face treatment to contract the skin upwards away from gravity's pull. Find a great practitioner who can advise you on what will be best for your particular face....

I’m 38 and still get acne on my cheeks but skin also dry and sensitive skin, and I can see the ageing… I use ZO end to end but not sure it’s the answer, plus it’s very £££. I looked at your Acne Fixers Bundle but how do I also tackle...

Dry and sensitive skin suggests that your skin barrier isn't in great shape. Work on this by focussing on gentle, hydrating products – a hyaluronic acid serum, sealed in with a moisturiser and, in the morning, topped with sunscreen. Once your skin is feeling stronger and more comfortable, start using a product with retinol or another retinoid (start slowly, with tiny amounts and twice a week at first) to help with acne management. Taking lots of omega-3 supplements can really help with skin hydration and skin quality, too. These are my current favourites....

Hi Alice, can dermal fillers yield as good a result as threading or would I best to bite the bullet and go with the latter? I am unhappy with my sagging face and the pronounced nose-to-mouth lines as well as loss of volume in my cheeks and jawline....

You need to get your face in front of a great practitioner who can offer both fillers and threads and ask their opinion – they will probably suggest that you have threads and see how much difference that makes, and then perhaps use filler to add in any extra volume that would benefit your face after that.

Hi Alice, I wanted to ask you about marine collagen VS bovine collagen. I take Skinade and I think it helps me, however I saw your post and you mentioned something about bovine collagen being closer to human collagen? Will it help things like very...

Hello, yes, bovine collagen is derived from cows. I like the brand that I've brought into the TTG shop, Totally Derma and yes, that is bovine collagen. Either marine or bovine collagen should help your skin and hair and nails, as well as your joints. Will it help your smile lines? Hard to say, because smile lines show up more as a result of your particular facial physiology and the kinds of expressions you make (nothing wrong with smiling, we could all do with more smiling in our lives). Smile lines often become more noticeable as we age because our faces lose volume, so the skin sags forwards and down, hence the smile lines....

Hello, I am 48 and really starting to look old, especially when I look at photos. What do you recommend as the most effective way to look fresher and better without toxin or filler? Is it HIFU or profound or another treatment? Or would I really need...

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. Dr Strawford will be best placed to answer all these questions for you once he's assessed your face and talked to you about your exact concerns. He is an expert practitioner with a great deal of experience. The tweakments you mention – HIFU, Profound (RF microneedling), toxin, and filler – all do different things that work towards making you look fresher and younger, but not in the same ways. Toxin for example won’t do anything about sagging skin but HIFU will, Profound will stimulate collagen production to tighten and plump the skin, but won’t replace lost volume in the ways filler will. So it all...

Can you recommend the best home device for wrinkles and texture for smoothing the skin on the face, please?

Hiya, TTG editor Georgia here. There aren't really any devices as such for treating texture at home. Aside from DIY microneedling with a roller – which Alice and I rarely advise – your best bet will be a home peel and active skincare, something with smoothing AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) to regulate textural issues. This will also help address wrinkles at the same time, as will a retinol product – which you should absolutely be using in your daily routine. If you did want to invest in a device for your wrinkles alone, you could try the NuFace Line Fix Smoothing Device, which is particularly good around the eyes and mouth, but it's not...

Hi Alice, I've just watched your video on Secret RF. I'm having the treatment in a few weeks. Did you think it's worth the money for the results seen? Thank you.

I only had one round of Secret RF when filming it (at my age, I'd need about three sessions to see proper results) so I only saw a bit of skin-smoothing. But I know from practitioners who have the device that they absolutely love it for the results it gives, so yes, I'd recommend it.

Monthly Hydrafacial or monthly Caci? I’m 43 with skin in reasonably good condition but starting to notice some signs of ageing, so planning to treat myself to a monthly facial.

Hiya, editor Georgia here. In an ideal world, budget permitting, you'd do both! HydraFacials are more geared towards extractions and hydrating the skin, improving surface issues like breakouts or dry skin. You do get some collagen stimulation from the LED light element but if your main concern is signs of ageing then I’d go for monthly CACI treatments instead. CACI is specifically for combatting signs of ageing by stimulating the facial muscles using electrical microcurrent. If you're new to CACI, you'll be advised to book a course of treatment and to have the first few treatments a fortnight apart. Find out more here....

Lift my chin and lines from nose to chin

In a word: filler Take a look at this page about nose-to-mouth lines and scroll down to see the FAQs And click here to get to the practitioner finder, to locate someone great near you who can help.


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