Lip Lines

Lip lines are vertical wrinkles that develop along and above your upper lip. Lip lines are part of the natural aging process. But habits such as smoking and sun exposure can create deeper lip wrinkles. Cosmetic treatments, including fillers, can reduce lip lines and help you look younger.


What are lip lines?

Lip lines are vertical wrinkles that can appear on your lips and extend from your upper lip to the tip of your nose. Lip wrinkles may range from fine, subtle lines to deep creases.


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What are other names for lip lines?

Lip lines are also called smoker’s lines and lipstick lines. Healthcare providers may use the terms “perioral rhytides” or “perioral wrinkles.” (“Peri” means “around,” and “oral” means “mouth.”)

Are lip lines the same as smile lines?

No, lip lines and smile lines are on different locations on your face. Smile lines (nasolabial folds) are wrinkles that extend from the sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth. Marionette lines are another type of wrinkle that travel from the corners of your mouth to your chin.


Why am I getting lip lines?

You may develop lip lines for a range of reasons, including the natural aging process and certain lifestyle habits. The underlying cause is activity of the muscle around the mouth, which becomes more active with time.

At what age do lip lines typically develop?

Lip lines usually develop around your 40s. But you might see lip wrinkles earlier if you smoke or have sun-damaged skin.


Symptoms and Causes

What do lip lines look like?

Lip lines are vertical creases on both lips and on the skin above your lips. If you wear lipstick, these wrinkles can look more pronounced.

What causes lip lines?

Over time, everyone develops lip lines. As you age, you naturally lose collagen and elastin, proteins that create supple, smooth and hydrated skin.

Other causes of lip wrinkles include:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Genetics, if your parents or grandparents have pronounced lip lines.
  • Not enough sleep.
  • Repetitive movements like pursing your lips or sipping through a straw.
  • Smoking.
  • Sun damage.

Diagnosis and Tests

How do healthcare providers diagnose lip lines?

A plastic surgeon may use a rating scale to diagnose the severity of lip lines. For example, lip wrinkles may be:

  • Mild with shallow lines.
  • Moderate with deeper lines.
  • Severe with thick creases.

Management and Treatment

What is the best treatment for lip lines?

The best treatment for lip lines varies by person. Your plastic surgeon may recommend treatments based on:

  • The severity of the lip lines.
  • Whether you want additional cosmetic changes.
  • Your current health.
  • Your goals.

How do I get rid of the lines on my lips?

You can’t permanently get rid of lip lines. But some treatments can reduce or temporarily improve lip wrinkles.

These cosmetic procedures don’t require any incisions:

Can surgery get rid of lip lines?

Several cosmetic surgeries may improve or get rid of lip wrinkles, such as:

These procedures may help with on-the-lip wrinkles. But treatments may be less effective in reducing lines above your lips.


How can I prevent lip lines?

You can’t prevent lip wrinkles from developing. But these tips can help lessen their severity, reduce signs of aging and improve the health of your skin and lips:

Diet tips

  • Consume less caffeine.
  • Eat foods with nutrients, such as avocado, berries, broccoli and spinach.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Stay hydrated.

Lifestyle tips

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have lip lines?

Without treatment and sun protection, lip lines may worsen and become more pronounced over time.

How long do lip lines last?

Lip lines last forever. If you opt for cosmetic procedures, you may reduce lip wrinkles or temporarily get rid of them. Botox may last up to six months, while lip fillers can last up to 12 months.

Lip implants and fat transfer injections are more long-lasting options, but they may not get rid of all lip wrinkles. Talk to a plastic surgeon about what results you can expect with nonsurgical and surgical lip procedures.

Living With

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider about lip lines?

If you have lip lines, consider asking a plastic surgeon:

  • How severe are my lip lines?
  • What are the best treatments for my lip lines?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each treatment?
  • How often will I need these treatments?
  • What skin creams can improve my lip wrinkles?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Lip lines are subtle or deep-set vertical lines on or above your lips. Lip wrinkles tend to worsen with age. Healthy habits and cosmetic treatments can reduce lip wrinkles and create a more youthful appearance. Talk to a plastic surgeon about the best treatment for your goals and wrinkle severity.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 10/25/2022.

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