Lines that run from the outer nostrils to the corners of the mouth are referred to as nose to mouth lines. They are also called smile lines or nasolabial folds. They can appear from a very young age in some people depending on the structure of the face, so are not always associated with ageing. However, they do tend to get deeper and more noticeable as we lose collagen and elastin through the ageing process. When they cause concern patients will seek a solution, and thankfully there are natural looking enhancements available from our skilled clinicians.
The reason these lines form is because the skin is anchored by the nose and as the rest of the face loses elasticity and volume (fat, muscle and bone), gravity takes its toll and skin from the cheeks begins to drop. Activity of the mouth when we talk, eat and drink also breaks down collagen. You can slow the process by the careful selection of your parents (i.e. fortunate genetics!), a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and avoiding excessive sun exposure, alcohol and nicotine. Ironically, very fit athletes who achieve a low body fat percentage (e.g. <15%) can also develop nasolabial folds since the fats on the face are also reduce (think Willem Dafoe).
Inexperienced injectors will ‘chase the lines’ and just inject dermal filler into the fold leaving unnatural looking ‘sausages’ in their place. The nasolabial folders are the symptom, but the cause is mid-face volume loss. That’s why experienced and skilled injectors will assess the face holistically and start with volume replacement in the cheeks, tear trough, temples, etc. This will restore a youthful and natural appearance. Once the mid-face is optimised, then any residual nose to mouth lines can be address with small amounts of filler and potentially skin rejuvenating treatments such as medical needling.