Laughter is great for lifting your mood, but that’s about the only thing it lifts. The effects of laughter, sun damage and just plain ol’ age has the tendency to make your facial skin sag, bag, crinkle and wrinkle.
But don’t stray from a funny practical joke on April Fool’s Day in fear of deeper laugh lines. We have the tricks that will put a wrinkle in Father Time’s plans.
What Are Laugh Lines?
Before we learn how to treat or prevent them, we must first learn what laugh lines really are and what causes them. Laugh lines generally refer to the wrinkles that form when we laugh or smile. Specifically, these would include the parenthesis-like creases that form, much like brackets, around the mouth and for some, it would also include the crinkles or “crows feet” around the eyes. According to esthetician Paula Provenzano, the evolution of a crease or deep wrinkle always starts with a fine line. “Many companies are starting to create products that make a distinction between fine lines and deep wrinkles and are loading their products with ingredients whose targeted action is optimal for each of the specific manifestations,” she explains.
Provenzano says the best way to visualize the difference is to think of your skin like a bed. “Much like the layered structure of your skin, your bed has a box springs, a mattress and then several layers of padding and linens,” she says. “Fine lines would be the equivalent of wrinkles in the linens, whereas deep wrinkles and creases, would be more similar to the cleft that occurs when two twins are pushed together to make a king.”
Fine lines that appear as tiny lines in the epidermis, are superficial and do not represent a disruption in the dermis or deeper layer of the skin, whereas deep wrinkles and ceases do. This is where a slightly different strategy comes into play. “Most decent moisturizers are fine for plumping up the surface layers of the skin enough to smooth the appearance of fine lines and the really good ones add some sort of preventative measure to slow the development of a deeper wrinkle,” says Provenzano. “But if the wrinkle has carved its way deep into the dermis plumping the superficial tissue alone will not be enough.”
To see any improvement in the dermal tissue takes time. So, according to Provenzano, what “deep wrinkle” creams attempt to offer is both an immediate fix and a long term solution. “The quick fix comes in the form of some of the newest skin-plumpers that do an amazing job of temporarily ‘ironing out’ the appearance of a wrinkle on the surface. The long-term improvement comes from any combination of peptides, vitamins and retinols that go to work over time in the deeper layers of the skin.”
We all know that there are many ways to tackle the laugh line enemy, so we’ll start with the options which Provenzano calls the “gentler and more cost-conscious approach.” These are her suggestions:
The Action Sublime Collection from [ comfort zone ] is the perfect example of a non-prescription anti-wrinkle system that combines the replumping action from biotechnological spheres of hyaluronic acid for visible smoothing of existing wrinkles, with the synergy of encapsulated retinol, milk proteins, soy protein and betaglucan, for profound regeneration, and effective preventive action against the formation of new signs of aging. This fabulous Italian skincare line that is just starting to pop up in spas in the South and Midwest. For now, the best way to buy is through one of their affiliates’ Web sites, such as: www.bellasante.com.
If you don’t mind buying online, but you want a bit more guidance in creating your anti-aging regime, check out Skin Authority. This medical-grade line offers the Life Partner Program which provides support and follow-up with all of its products. Their Transformation Face products are designed to stimulate the skin’s natural regeneration cycle through regular resurfacing and exfoliation using unbuffered exfoliators derived from sugar cane. These products help nourish and hydrate the delicate skin on the face with deep penetrating vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K, advanced peptide complexes, and natural humectants such as hyaluronic acid and Natural Moisture Factor.
Finally, if you want professional treatment as well as great home-care the Town and Country Salon and Spa in Mainville, OH and Divine Salon and Spa in Highland Heights, KY, both carry the Omaré line from France. Omaré’s Lifting Serum and Sunset Rejuvenating Cream both combine wheat extracts which create a mild superficial tightening of the skin with Vitamin A which work more as a long-term strategy against deepening furrows. The Cream also adds sodium PCA which acts as a skin-plumper and algae extracts for cellular nutrition. Omaré products can also be viewed on the Web site: www.omare-usa.com.
Our makeup expert, Trina Paul, says there are lots of great makeup tips for making those laugh lines disappear.
She says her best trick is to use a white pencil and draw over the line you’re trying to hide. If you have a darker skin tone, blend your foundation thinly over the white. If you have a fair complexion, put the white over your foundation and then blend the line in.
“This gives the illusion of bringing the line forward and out as light brings forth and up just like a dark line will look pushed back,” she says. “It’s a reverse contour on the face.”
Many women want to take it a step further than skincare and makeup. Enter, dermal fillers. “Laugh lines can be treated with dermal fillers, such as FDA approved fillers Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane and Radiesse,” says Stephanie Butler, patient education and marketing coordinator for The Plastic Surgery Group, Surgery as an Art.
That FDA approval part is very important, especially with everyone trying to capitalize on what is becoming a billion dollar market. Dr. Williams, a surgeon at The Plastic Surgery Group, Surgery as an Art, says, “There are always ongoing advances with new skincare products, laser treatments and dermal fillers. We wait for products that are FDA approved and proven before offering or recommending them to our patients.”
But what do the fillers do and what differentiates them? According to Butler, dermal fillers can be used to improve the parenthesis lines that run from the nose to the corner of your mouth. They can also be used in conjunction with Botox in the “11 lines” between your eyebrows. “The Botox will be used to weaken the corrugator muscles between the eyebrows and the filler used to fill in those 11 lines or indentations those years of facial animation have caused,” she explains. “Botox can also be used to diminish the crow’s feet as well as forehead wrinkles.”
Williams says a common misconception about what he calls “facial rejuvenation” is that fine lines do not diminish entirely with fillers, and most will need some form of facial cosmetic surgery for permanent results. “Facial cosmetic surgery does not have a diminished role in the treatment of a patient,”he says. “So, if patients are led to believe that fillers will replace obvious needs for facial surgery they have truly been misled.”
According to Williams’ Web site, drwilliams-tpsg.com, the Face Lift procedure generally requires an incision to be made around the temple area in front of the ear and continues around the ear lobe to the scalp. The skin is raised as the surgeon lifts and tightens the underlying muscle and connective tissue. The skin is then gently pulled, placed back into position, and the incision sutured or clipped.
But these procedures – especially the face lift – aren’t recommended for everyone, his site warns: “Many factors contribute to the success of a face lift procedure. Only a skilled plastic surgeon can determine the right combination of procedures and techniques that best match your skin type, ethnic background, skin elasticity and bone structure.”
From skincare to surgery, for any of the above options, it’s important to know the credentials of your professional. Do research on the Web, look at their before and after photos and get a personal recommendation if you can. With the injections and surgery especially, make sure the physician performing the procedure is board certified through a nationally accredited organization, such as the American Board of Surgery. Also, make sure they have years of experience performing the procedure in which you’re interested. If you take these precautions, you’re likely to have more reasons to smile for years to come!