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Upper lip lines

Due to the high UV index in Brisbane, removing Upper lip lines wrinkles is in the top 5 most frequently requested treatments that I get asked. Treatments will always depend on the severity of wrinkling- in severe cases, laser resurfacing is needed for the best results, in mild cases muscle relaxants combined with filler can diminish wrinkling. Finding the ideal solution for you will also depend on your downtime, but also the texture and tone of your surrounding skin.

Upper Lip Lines at a Glance
  • Best Results 1-2 treatments

  • Treatment Recovery 1-12 days

  • Procedure Time 30-60 minutes

  • Skin Specialist

  • Duration of Results Years +

  • Anaesthetic Numbing, Sedation

  • Back to Work 1-7 days

  • Cost $$-$$$

Upper lip lines
The Facts to Know
  • Premature upper lip wrinkles & lines are due to a combination of genetics, UV exposure & smoking

  • Laser resurfacing is the best treatment for moderate to severe wrinkles

  • Laser has added advantages of removing sun damage & precancerous lesions

  • Combining erbium & CO2 laser, I am able to achieve up to 20 years rejuvenation

  • Collagen stimulating fillers can improve smoker’s lines with no downtime

  • Structural support of the ageing lip gives the most natural results

  • Volume replacement of the lips must be age appropriate

What results can be achieved with treatment?

Upper lip lines

No matter how severe upper lip lines and wrinkles are, I will have a solution to improve them. The results can be tailored according to your downtime, budget & expectations.

If you have static upper lip lines (wrinkles at rest), dermal filler & or laser resurfacing will give you amarked improvement of between 50-80% reduction.

If you have dynamic wrinkles (with movement), the results will not be as dramatic as muscle movement contributes to wrinkles & lines.

Dynamic wrinkle occur with movement. Over time they become static wrinkles.

What treatment options do I have for upper lip lines and wrinkles?

There are a few options that reliably erase upper lip lines and wrinkles.

My favoured treatment for moderate to severe lines and wrinkles is that of laser resurfacing. Laser works be ‘erasing’ the lines and stimulating new collagen. Results are instant, but recovery times vary.

Lasers provide reproducible & reliable outcomes for treating static upper lip lines & wrinkles.

Medium to deep chemical peels can be effective, in particular Jessner TCA or phenol croton oil peels.

Another method to treat mild to moderate lines and wrinkles is a combination of Botox and filler. This method is temporary, and needs to be repeated every 3-8 months. The upside is that downtime is zero.

Lasers tighten, whilst soft tissue fillers provide needed support to the lip. Only a small amount of filler is required to rehydrate the lip.
Structural support of the lip is required in mature patients.

Fillers can result in instant improvement with no downtime.

Why is laser treatment better than fillers for moderate to severe upper lip lines?

In my opinion laser resurfacing is better than fillers for moderate to severe wrinkles due to the following reasons-

  • Treatment is long lasting and does not need to be repeated every 6-12 months-unlike filler. This does not mean you will never get wrinkles again, but with laser resurfacing I can ‘take your skin back 15-20 years.’

  • Laser resurfacing gives a much better ‘blend.’ By blending I mean it can treat other areas apart from the lip. Most patients with lip wrinkles and lines will also have wrinkles on the cheeks, lower lip and around the eyes- laser can address all these areas.

  • Fillers ‘fill and hydrate the skin’ with a natural substance called HA or Hyaluronic Acid. These fillers do not stimulate enough collagen. In some cases I use collagen stimulating fillers such as poly-l-lactic acid & calcium hydroxyl apatite. Lasers on the other hand can also address sun damage and pre cancer cells, as well as stimulating HA and collagen by your immune system.

  • Fat transfer is another option. Fat is best for volume, whilst dermal fillers give finesse.

  • PDO threads are another option. I don’t use them much due to their short life, often only 4-6 months.

What type of laser do I use for treating wrinkles?

I use many different lasers & energy devices methods to treat wrinkling. The most important reason is that there are different stages of upper lip wrinkles. Low downtime, low cost procedure are effective for mild wrinkles.

CO2 lasers provide the best skin tightening & wrinkle reduction.

Here are some of the lasers I employ for lip lines-

  • CO2 lasers including Mixto, CORE, eCO2 & Ultrapulse

  • Erbium laser, Fractional HALO mix & fully ablative

  • Fractional laser/ Fraxel 1440/1550/1927

  • RF or eMatrix Radiofrequency treatments

  • Picofacial fractional devices

  • RFM or radio frequency Microneedling

  • LaseMD high density 1927

  • Ultherapy HIFU

  • RF Pelleve/Tempsure

  • Tixel resurfacing

What is my go to treatment that works best?

The combination of both CO2 laser and Erbium laser, in the one session is the best treatment. This gives excellent results, but the downside is that it takes up to 10 days before skin recovers.

Fraxel laser, gives modest improvements of wrinkles and lines. Up to 5 treatments are needed. The upside is that this is a safe treatment with little downtime- ideal for anxious patients. The combination of eCO2 & 1927 LaseMD provides excellent outcomes with a downtime of 5-7 days. With this combination, only one session is required.

Fractional lasers can give good results, with less downtime compared to CO2 fully ablative lasers.

Pico lasers are good for extremely mild wrinkles, especially in ethnic or darker skin patients.

Tixel is a no downtime procedure that can resurface skin- ideal for mild & early wrinkles

What are the side effects of laser treatment?

Side effects from laser treatment are extremely uncommon, and in my hands occur in less than 1% of cases. I ensure that areas are blended in and infection is prevented and / or treated early.

Some of the side effects that I discuss with you during the consultation include-

  • Darkening or whitening of the skin, including grids and lines. I blend the areas in to ensure that this does not happen.

  • Infection- this is rare, however you will be followed up by my nursing team till the areas are completely healed. I also prescribe prophylactic antibiotics and antivirals.

  • Scarring. I have only had one case in my experience. This was secondary to an infection and scab that did not heal. Scars can be revised with surgery and injections, however they are extremely rare in my hands.

Is laser treatment painful?

No. We use a numbing cream followed by local anaesthetic blocks to the area. This ensures that you are comfortable during and after the procedure.

Are fillers and muscle relaxants painful?

No. I always use fillers that contain a local numbing solution. My favourite filler is either Restylane or Juvaderm Volbella or Ultra XC. Botox to the area feels like tiny ant bites. I use a numbing cream on the upper lip before injections to make the procedure comfortable.

How long will I be out of action after laser treatment for my wrinkles?

This depends on the depth and severity of your wrinkles and lines, as well as your overall health.

As a guide-

  • Deep resurfacing for extreme sun damage and smokers lines- 10 days to heal.

  • Moderate resurfacing – 6-7 days to heal

  • Fractional resurfacing – 3-5 days to heal

During the healing time you are allowed to wear a special make up called Lycogel. This speeds up the healing process, is safe to use, and hides the redness associated with laser resurfacing.

Why do filler treatments suit some people better than laser resurfacing?

Filler are ideal for fine lines and moderate wrinkles but most importantly in patients who cannot have the downtime associated with laser resurfacing.

If downtime is an issue, HA fillers delivered via a cannula can reduce upper lip lines.

Fillers are literally a walk in walk out procedure, whilst laser treatments are conducted in theatre and will be associated with a healing time of 4-10 days; depending on the severity of wrinkles and lines.

New collagen stimulating fillers can improve skin quality & improve the appearance of the upper lip.

Fillers are useful to provide volume & support to the lip area.
Lip rejuvenation has to be age appropriate.

Why do I sometimes use muscle relaxants to treat upper lip lines?

The term is called micro Tox and it refers to placement of tiny blebs of muscle relaxants in areas of your upper lip. This softens the muscles, and reduces dynamic wrinkles (wrinkles that move), and helps prevent static wrinkles (wrinkles at rest).

MicroTox can reduce dynamic movement, in turn preventing dynamic lines transforming to static lines & wrinkles.

Everyone will have a different movement pattern of the upper lip. If you are extremely expressive and ‘recruit’ the superficial muscles of the lip, I often combine Botox and fillers to address both dynamic and static wrinkles. The same principle applies to treating forehead lines and smile lines.

Can Microneedling improve upper lip lines?

Yes, to a certain extent. Lasers & energy based microneedling provide better outcomes. I do not routinely offer PRP with microneedling as the results are not great.

Microneedling is an entry level treatment. 3-6 sessions for modest results. PRP? Save your money.

If you are inclined towards microneedling, with or without PRP, you can make an appointment with my clinical team at Cutis Dermatology.

RF microneedling is better than microneedling, however lasers provide better rejuvenation with less overall downtime.

What are the side effects of filler?

Side effects of filler are more common than laser, and include temporary lumps and bumps. This settles with massage. Infection is very rare following filler injections. Swelling & bruising are other side effects I discuss during the consultation.

The most common side effect is temporary weakness of your upper lip following anti-wrinkle injections- in fact this is not a side effect, and occurs in everyone. The aim of mico-Botox is to lessen the superficial muscles in your upper lip giving rise to wrinkles.

Fillers are great for hydrating the lip and preventing lip stick lines from running and bleeding. Mild wrinkles do well with both filler or laser.

How long do the results last?

Laser results last a lot longer than fillers/ Botox. How long it will last depends on many factors including genetics, your current and previous sun exposure, smoking history and health. As a rough guide-

  • Laser resurfacing – I can make your upper lip wrinkles ‘ look 15 years younger.’

  • Fillers – may need to be repeated every 6-18 months, depending on the brand

  • Anti-wrinkle injections – used for treating fine lines and wrinkles due to muscle movement, needs to be repeated every 3-4 months.

  • Fat transfer can last many years once past the ‘resorption period’ of 6 months. Fat can last beyond 7-10 years, however it does not provide structure like what HA fillers can.

It is important to treat the supporting structures of the lips for best results. Fillers, and lasers can help.

Small, no downtime procedures can prolong the results following laser resurfacing.

When is surgery indicated?

Surgical revision of the perioral area restores proportion to the upper lip. Over time this area elongates, resulting in a very tall upper lip. Lip lifting reduces this distance, provides eversion of the upper lip, & creates a subtle ‘teeth show.’

Subtle treatments restore proportion to the lips.

Surgery can also be performed to pre-jowls & jowls. These structures tie in with the upper & lower lip.

Do PDO threads reduce lip lines & wrinkles?

You will get better results with fine grit sandpaper.

PDO threads do not work on their own. They need to be combined with other treatment modalities.

PDO threads are great in combination with lasers, RFM, & collagen stimulating dermal fillers. By themselves, PDOs are a waste of time, effort & money.

The amount of collagen generated by mono PDOs is marginal at best.

Why do women get upper lip lines & men do not?

The most plausible reason is that terminal hairs provide structure & support of the upper lip. Other factors include thicker dermal layer in men.

Provides protection from UV & shaving stimulates collagen production via a process called derma planing.

How do I look after my skin after treatment to prevent future wrinkles?

Three Golden rules apply-

  1. Use an SPF 50+ at least twice a day

  2. Don’t smoke

  3. Incorporate active skin care in your daily regime- this means either a high strength vitamin A cream, or Specialist grade creams that contain anti-oxidants, and collagen stimulating peptides.

Of course your genetics will determine how quickly you age, and when the next procedure will need to be repeated. The good news is that wrinkles, no matter how old or severe can ALWAYS be improved.

Quitting smoking will give you the very best future.

Davin’s Viewpoint on treating upper lip lines and wrinkles

This is one of my most requested treatments. Why? Because the lifestyle of people are exposed to high amounts of UV rays. In some patients this is compounded by smoking.

What about dermal fillers? I love them! The upside of dermal fillers is that results are instant with no downtime. Yes, you can continue to smoke after fillers (but be warned that wrinkles will come back faster).

Filler results are not as good as full laser resurfacing – two treatments will give you between 50-90% improvement, depending on how deep the wrinkles are.

Support & hydration is more important than volume & definition when it comes to treating mature lips.

Do I perform anti-wrinkle injections? Yes, but I am not a big fan of this treatment because it doesn’t work as well as laser, and only last 3-4 months. Additionally some people get temporary weakness of their upper lips.

Results from resurfacing are predictable. The downside? Recovery of 10+ days.

For mild & early wrinkles treatments such as Tixel, chemical peels & simple fractional lasers can give great results with little downtime.

Having a bespoke treatment plan will give the best & most natural results.
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