I have a question about nasolabial folds: Are there any products that can help in making them less pronounced? Or are there any ingredients that we should look for in creams/serums etc. that can maybe help in "lifting" these folds? Thank you so much!
Nasolabial folds, also know as "smile lines" are the lines that run from the side of the nose to the sides of the mouth, separating the cheeks and upper lip. As you can see in the top photo, the left side is before treatment, and the nasolabial fold or smile line is very pronounced; the right side is after treatment, and the nasolabial fold or smile line is shallower and smoother. These lines are caused by the same factors that cause the rest of your skin to age, but there are ways to lessen their appearance.
There are three "tiers" of treatment in dermatology for nasolabial folds, from top to bottom according to price and availability. They are:
Not surprisingly, the most long-lasting and effective treatment for nasolabial folds is plastic surgery. The three procedures done most often to correct nasolabial folds are the mid-facelift, cheek implants, and nasolabial fold excision:
Mid-Facelift: If your cheeks are sagging, a mid-facelift (results pictured above) will likely be recommended, as this procedure lifts nose-to-mouth nasolabial folds as well as drooping cheeks.
Cheek Implants: If you would like more facial contouring, a small cheek implant often softens the upper part of the nasolabial folds, while giving more definition to the face.
Nasolabial Fold Excision: If you have severe nasolabial folds, a nasolabial fold excision may be your best bet. The nasolabial folds are literally removed from your face and the area is sutured afterwards.
By far, the most common treatment for nasolabial folds is a hyaluronic acid filler. There are three main classes:
Temporary Hyaluronic Acid Fillers: Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane, Juvéderm (results pictured above), and Perlane, are typically injected into the mid-to-deep layers of the skin to plump up nasolabial folds. Results typically last for 9 to 12 months. While price varies by region, expect to pay upwards of $900 for this option (typically about $450 per syringe, with two usually needed).
Collagen Stimulators: Collagen stimulators, such as Radiesse and Sculptra Aesthetic, are for patients with less severe nasolabial folds. Think of Radiesse and Sculptra as best for gently rounding out an aging face that has been gradually losing volume for years. Results typically last for 6 to 12 months. Expect to pay a bit more, upwards of $1000, for this option.
Permanent fillers, such as Artefill, have the advantage of being, well, permanent. In addition, Artefill in particular has been FDA approved for use in the nasolabial folds. So why am I mentioning it last? The truth of the matter is, it is hard to correct potential complications as a result of using Artefill, so be careful in selecting your doctor or aesthetician. Make sure s/he has done the procedure before, particularly in the nasolabial folds, a region in which it is difficult to get the right symmetry. Ask to see photos of befores and afters. Another caveat: Artefill costs over twice as much as the other options, about $2100 and over for the average.
Even if you can't afford more than $100, don't fret: Scientifically-backed solutions are available in skin care products to treat nasolabial folds. Granted, these products will not typically produce the same results as the surgical procedures, but they also come with a far lower price tag — and far less risk.
Retinoids: Consider retinol creams like FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5. According to research by Fisher et. al, retinoids are effective in preventing and treating the collagen loss caused by years of cumulative sun damage. Fisher et. al also demonstrated that application of tretinoin (a form of retinoid found in prescription Retin-A) stops matrix metalloproteinase genes from starting their collagen-degrading activities. So, I highly recommend prescription Retin-A or an over the-counter retinol like FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5.
Glycolic Acid: You may also want to consider glycolic acid treatments, such as Glytone Boost Mini Peel ($54, amazon.com), in the area. According to a 1998 study in Dermatological Surgery, glycolic acid treatments increase skin cells' production of collagen better than other alpha hydroxy acids, including lactic acid or malic acid. However, if you’re deciding between prescription-strength retinoids and over-the-counter glycolic acid peels, you may want to choose the prescription retinoid: According to a randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind study, it was found that 0.05% all-trans-retinoic acid was more effective than 10% glycolic acid (a concentration found in at-home treatments) in treating signs of aging.
Silicones: Finally, no matter what, look for skin care products that contain silicones for use in the nasolabial area. These products temporary "fill" the area, making it look more cosmetically appealing. I like Too Faced Cosmetic Wrinkle Injection ($28). Though its ingredients aren't going to make you start producing collagen like the injectables Radiesse or Sculptra Aesthetic, the product's high concentration of silicones will still temporarily "fill in" your wrinkles, and also provide a more firm, solid canvas on which to apply your concealer and foundation — always a plus!
The "right" treatment for your nasolabial folds, or smile lines, comes down to your penchant for spending money and risk-taking. Those high in both categories are likely to get surgery, whereas those on the opposite end of the spectrum should use Retin-A, get regular glycolic acid peels, and use a cosmetic product designed to be a filler with silicones as well. That said, most people choose the hyaluronic acid fillers right now, as these procedures have a high degree of satisfaction with a relatively low risk if you choose an experienced physician or aesthetician.
What are your thoughts on nasolabial fold treatments and wrinkle treatments in general? Let us know in Comments!
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