What Are Smile Lines? 26 Ways to Prevent and Treat it

The facial expressions we make throughout our lives can have an impact on our appearance over time. Many people know that frowning too often can create small wrinkles that they may want to get rid of.

However, what some people don’t realize is that positive expressions, like smiling or laughing, can also result in these types of lines.

To some degree, this is simply a natural part of the aging process. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do about it. There are plenty of steps you can take to reduce the appearance of these lines.

Trying to conceal them with makeup or similar cosmetic products doesn’t need to be your only strategy. Nor does cosmetic surgery.

In this article, you’ll find valuable information that will help you boost your appearance and do away with these unwanted lines, restoring your face’s natural youthful features.

First, however, it’s important to learn a little more about why these lines develop in the first place, and how different types of expressions can result in them. The better you understand the problem, the easier it will be to address.

Why Do I Have Smile, Frown, & Laugh Lines?

Whenever you make any sort of facial expression, whether it’s a smile, frown, or anything in between, muscles in your face contract or relax accordingly.

Every time this happens, your skin develops minor grooves that run perpendicular to the muscle’s movement.

For example, people often develop horizontal lines on their foreheads as they age. Those develop perpendicular to the movement of the muscle in that area of the face, which typically moves up and down according to whatever facial expression you happen to be making.

Certain types of lines are more likely to develop than others.


Did you know?

It’s very common among aging people to develop pronounced lines that run from the sides of the nose down to each corner of the mouth. These lines tend to develop to at least some degree in most people because the muscle movement that produces them occurs every single time you smile or laugh. Thus, over the course of a lifetime, those grooves have had many opportunities to form.

It’s worth noting that the facial expression itself isn’t the precise cause of these lines. While the facial expression generates the movement that creates the grooves which cause smile, frown, and laugh lines, it’s obvious that younger people typically don’t have many noticeable wrinkles or lines on their faces.

After all, most average babies spend plenty of time smiling, laughing, and yes, crying, but it’s very uncommon to see a baby with the kind of facial lines that are often found in older people.

That’s because the main cause of the problem has more to do with the aging process than the actual facial expression.

When a person is younger, their skin is supple enough to return to its original appearance after they make an expression. However, as we get older, factors like muscle atrophy and other natural aspects of the aging process deprive the skin of this elastic quality.

That’s why so many people tend to believe that developing these lines and wrinkles is simply unavoidable. Although every person is different, to a degree, every person will also experience a breakdown of connective tissue in their skin and facial muscles over time.

While some will experience it more significantly than others, it’s nearly impossible for older people to avoid it completely.

This is true, but again, it doesn’t mean you simply have to give up and accept that you will develop pronounced and noticeable lines across your face later in life. 

8 Tips to Avoid Getting Smile Lines

There are plenty of steps you can take to preserve your youthful looks for a long period of time. The following tips will help you better understand how you can do so.

1. Avoid Exposure to UV Rays

There’s a reason why people say that spending too much time in the sun can make you look older. This isn’t just a health myth. It’s actually based in genuine scientific principles.

Remember, while the grooves that form when you make a facial expression technically form no matter what age you are, they only begin to impact your appearance on a more permanent basis when the connective tissues in your face start to break down.

Unfortunately, the sun’s UV rays can speed up this process. That’s why it’s important to wear strong sunscreen anytime you plan on being outdoors for a long period of time. It’s also a good idea to stay in the shade whenever possible.

If you’re going to be spending the day in an outdoor spot, like a beach or park, prepare ahead of time by identifying shady spots where you can take a break from the sun.

Keep in Mind

You should still apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not protected from the sun’s UV rays in these conditions. They’re strong enough to penetrate cloud cover.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water on a daily basis offers a wide range of health benefits. It can also help you preserve your youthful appearance.

Hydration plays a major role in maintaining the connective tissue you need to keep smile lines and wrinkles at bay. It’s also a good idea to limit your consumption of diuretics, like caffeine and alcohol.

Even if you’re drinking eight glasses of water a day, if you consume too much coffee or alcoholic beverages, you’ll deprive your skin of the full hydrating benefits that water offers.

3. Moisturize

If you want to take even more steps to keep your skin healthy and hydrated, apply moisturizer on a daily basis. Look for one that doesn’t contain too many harsh chemicals.

While drinking enough water can certainly provide your skin with hydration, applying moisturizer helps to lock that hydration in.

Just as you avoid consuming too much alcohol, it’s also a good idea to avoid using cosmetic products that contain alcohol. These can actually dry out your skin.

The cosmetic benefits they offer in the short term aren’t worth the long term effects they can have on your appearance.

4. Don’t Smoke

It’s no secret that smoking isn’t good for your health. It’s also not good for your appearance. If you’re trying to prevent smiles lines, make an effort to quit.

Smoking can boost your odds of developing unwanted lines and wrinkles on your face because it involves constantly inhaling and exhaling smoke.

This action, although you may not realize it, forms more grooves in the face that can eventually develop into lines and wrinkles.

Additionally, tobacco smoke can prevent your skin from effectively fighting off free radicals. When this happens, your skin is much more likely to look old and wrinkled early in life.

5. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Now that you know about the negative impacts that free radicals can have on your appearance, you may have a better idea of what you can do to prevent them.

Sticking to a healthy diet is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid lines and wrinkles.

Consume foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and other types of fish. You should also try to eat foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants. These may include strawberries, blueberries, spinach, kale, and tomatoes, among many others.

The nutrients found in these ingredients will protect you from free radicals. As a result, they’ll help keep your skin in good shape for many years to come.

6. Get Enough Sleep

In the modern world, where we’re constantly bombarded with emails, text messages, and a million other distractions, it can be a challenge to get enough sleep. Still, most people understand that it’s important to try to. Sleep deprivation can have many negative impacts on your health.

As you may have guessed, it can also increase your chances of developing fold lines relatively early in life. That’s because when you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels tend to rise.

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone,” but too much cortisol can also contribute to the breakdown of connective tissue in the face.

Your busy schedule could make it difficult to get as much sleep as you need, but your body will thank you in the long run if you make an effort to catch eight hours of rest every night. The fact that your skin will look better is an added bonus.

7. Sleep On Your Back

Getting enough sleep is key to avoiding lines and wrinkles on your face. However, it’s also important to realize that your sleeping position can play a role in how likely you are to develop these types of lines.

Although everyone has their own personal preference, if you’re trying to prevent lines and wrinkles, make an effort to sleep on your back. When you sleep on your side, parts of your face will come in contact with the pillow.

The fact of the matter is, even though a pillow is typically soft, the pressure it exerts on your face when you sleep on your side can generate wrinkles over time.

Getting used to sleeping on your back instead is a key way to keep your face looking young. If you’re unable to comfortably sleep in this position, at least switch to a very soft pillow.

Keep in Mind

Your pillow isn’t the only object that can put pressure on your face. Are you the type of person who rests your face on your hands throughout the day? Try to break this habit if so. This is another way you could accidentally exert too much pressure, which will have a negative impact on your appearance over time.

8. Try Not to Stress

Have you ever looked at a before and after photo of a world leader? The type that shows what they looked like before they took office, and what they looked like years later, after handling the kinds of stressful tasks associated with that type of work?

If so, you already know they tend to look like they’ve aged much more than the average person would over that amount of time.

Again, this is due to chemicals in the body like cortisol. When we are stressed, cortisol levels go up. This can contribute to problems like excess fat storage and even osteoporosis. As you know, it can also impact your appearance.

This is one more reason why it’s very important to look for ways to reduce stress in your life. Exercising, addressing lingering personal and/or professional issues, and taking up a practice like yoga or meditation can certainly help. While decreasing stress is a process, the long-term benefits are worth the effort.

You should also keep in mind that when many people are stressed out, they have an unconscious tendency to tense up their facial muscles.

Again, this can result in the kinds of grooves that are more likely to turn into smile lines and wrinkles later in life. When you relax, your facial muscles relax too, helping you maintain your looks for a much longer period of time.

Now that we've learnt how to prevent smile lines from forming in the first place. Let us see what remedies we can take to treat these fold lines.

18 Simple But Effective Tips to Get Rid of Smile Lines

Of course, while these tips can definitely help you avoid smile, frown, and laugh lines, you may want to know what you can do if they’ve already developed. The idea of shelling out a lot of money for a cosmetic procedure isn’t appealing to many people.

Luckily, you don’t need to. Don’t worry if you’ve already developed lines and wrinkles that are having a negative impact on your appearance. There are plenty of steps you can take to make them much less noticeable.

The following tips will help you do so.

1. Apply Makeup Conservatively

Too many people make the mistake of assuming they can conceal their lines and wrinkles beneath several layers of makeup.

Not only will this strategy not help, it will also have the opposite effect. Quite simply, when you apply liberal amounts of makeup to your face, the makeup actually tends to highlight and exaggerate your smile and frown lines. Instead of hiding them, makeup puts them front and center.

That’s why it’s a better idea to be conservative when applying makeup. Using minimal amounts will help you keep your lines and wrinkles as hidden as possible.

2. Use Primer

Using makeup conservatively isn’t the same thing as not using makeup at all. You don’t need to give up on your favorite cosmetic products simply because using too much of them can increase the appearance of smile lines and wrinkles.

If you enjoy experimenting with makeup to improve your appearance, you can still do so on a regular basis.

That said, if you want to strike the perfect balance between continuing to use makeup and reducing the appearance of smile lines, use your finger to apply a little bit of primer or blurring cream to the affected areas before applying the rest of your makeup. Doing so is a simple way to conceal lines and wrinkles on your face.

3. Simple Exercises for Lines Around Your Mouth

Depending on the types of expressions you’ve repeatedly made over the course of your life, you may have lines that are more pronounced in one area of your face than in others.

That’s why it helps to familiarize yourself with different facial exercises you can use to tighten up the skin in the affected areas.

If you notice that your smile lines seem to be most noticeable around your face, try this simple exercise:


Use your index fingers to essentially “hook” the corners of your mouth, pulling them down about a quarter inch. 


As you’re doing this, use the muscles around your mouth to try and pull back from the resistance. The muscles should feel tight as you pull one way with your fingers and another way with your mouth muscles.


Hold this for about 10 seconds, and repeat the process about 10 to 25 times.

Another simple exercise involves separating your lips slightly and using your facial muscles to try and pull the corners of your mouth back towards your face.

Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat at least 10 times for the best results.

4. Boost Your Collagen

Collagen is a protein that helps to keep your skin supple. That’s why so many cosmetic products, like retinoid creams, advertise themselves as “collagen-boosting.”

Using these types of products as part of your everyday cosmetic routine can certainly help reduce the impact of wrinkles on your appearance. 

It’s also a good idea to discuss this topic with your doctor or a dermatologist first. While these products are typically safe, you’ll get better peace of mind when you know that you’re using items that won’t have a negative impact on your health.

5. Apply Olive Oil

While using products that boost your collagen absolutely can help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on your face, you don’t need to rely solely on specialized items to address this issue. Sometimes all you need are simple household ingredients.

For example, olive oil has many natural properties that make it particularly effective as a means of treating smile lines. Olive oil helps lock moisture in your skin, and studies indicate that the kinds of monounsaturated fats naturally found in olive oil have a beneficial impact on your skin’s health.

That’s why it’s a smart idea to incorporate olive oil into your diet more often. Additionally, you can reap the full benefits of this natural ingredient by applying it directly to your face.

For this remedy, all you have to do is massage some olive oil into your face so it works its way into the layers of skin. Depending on how comfortable you are with leaving olive oil on your face, you may want to wash it before going out.

For the best results, repeat this process twice every day.

6. Exfoliate with Kiwi

When you exfoliate, you remove the first layer of dead skin cells that typically covers the face. This helps to reveal the more youthful and attractive layer beneath.

You can make your own natural exfoliating scrub with some basic everyday ingredients.


Just mix together a tablespoon of mashed kiwi, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of sugar. Kiwi is beneficial because it contains relatively high amounts of vitamin C, which is particularly good for your skin’s health.


Once the ingredients are mixed together thoroughly, apply the mixture throughout your face. Using your fingers, gently scrub away the dead skin cells with a circular motion.

Although you want to exfoliate as much of your face as possible, you’ll obviously want to pay particular attention to the areas where lines and wrinkles are most pronounced.


Rinse the mixture off with lukewarm water once you’re done. Apply a moisturizer to enhance the effects of this treatment. It’s best to repeat this process at least once a week.

7. Exfoliate with Brown Sugar & Coconut Oil

The remedy listed above isn’t the only way to make a natural exfoliating product with simple household ingredients.

If you don’t have immediate access to any kiwis right now, you can also exfoliate using coconut oil and brown sugar.

Just mix together two tablespoons of each ingredient and gently rub them into your face, focusing on the affected areas. As with the remedy listed above, doing so should remove the dead skin cells that hide the more youthful skin beneath.

Rinse your face off with warm water after a few minutes to remove the mixture.

8. Apply Fruit Juice

Remember how you were advised earlier to consume antioxidant rich foods in order to help guard against free radicals and reduce your chances of developing lines and wrinkles early in life?

As it turns out, there’s also good reason to believe that applying the juices from some of these foods directly to your face can also offer benefits that include reducing the appearance of smile lines (as well as potentially preventing them from developing in the future).

Luckily, you don’t need to pour an entire cup of juice over your face to get the effects. Simply dabbing a few drops of lemon juice on your lines and wrinkles can help.

The antioxidants will guard against free radicals by seeping into your skin. Additionally, the acidic quality of lemon juice can tighten up the skin on your face.

Consider making this part of your daily routine. Again, you don’t need a lot of lemon juice to reap the benefits of this particular remedy, so adding a few drops to your wrinkles every day is not a difficult task.

You may want to set aside some fresh lemon juice every few days in the refrigerator so it’s constantly available whenever you need it.

When it comes to defeating smile lines, it’s a lot simpler than buying a bunch of cosmetic products and hoping you find one that works.

9. Try Egg Whites

While this remedy may sound a little strange to some people, it’s definitely worth trying. Egg whites are packed with healthy protein. That’s why many already use them as part of their hair care routines.

However, there’s also a good chance egg whites can offer similar health benefits to your skin.

For this remedy, simply apply some egg whites to the areas of your face where you want to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Do this when you know you’ll have time to stay still and rest for at least 30 minutes. You want to give the egg whites enough time to dry. Once they have, just rinse them off with warm water.

As is often the case with many natural remedies, you shouldn’t expect your smile lines to disappear the moment you try this one. It’s much more likely that you’ll need to try it several times before you start noticing the full effects. 

That’s why you should make a point of applying egg whites to your lines and wrinkles multiple times a week at first. After you spend some time experimenting, you’ll have a better idea of just how often you need to apply this remedy to most effectively meet your goals.

10. Apply Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a powerful natural ingredient that offers a wide range of benefits involving the protection of your skin. That’s why many people recommend having it on hand whenever you’re going to be spending time in the sun.

Although, as you already know, it’s important to wear sunscreen, there is a chance you’ll develop a sunburn at some point if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Applying aloe vera to the sunburn immediately after it develops can help reduce your discomfort.

Luckily, that’s not the only benefit this amazing natural ingredient offers. There’s also good reason to believe that it can nourish your skin and help to substantially reduce the appearance of smile lines.

Simply get some natural aloevera gel and apply it throughout your face. Wait at least five minutes (preferably longer) so you can be sure the nutrients have worked their way into the skin layers that need them the most.

When you’re ready, again, all you have to do is rinse it off with warm water. This is yet another amazingly simple, easy way to guard against lines and wrinkles.

11. Have Some Green Tea

Green tea is more than just a healthier alternative to coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Because it’s rich in antioxidants, consuming it on a regular basis can be very good for your overall wellness.

It can also protect your skin from the kinds of free radicals that make you more likely to develop noticeable smile lines.

Thus, it’s a good idea to consume green tea regularly each day. As you may have guessed by this point, however, you can further reap the benefits of green tea by applying it directly to your face.

Do this the same way you would with lemon juice. Simply dab a few drops on the affected areas each day and watch your smile lines fade over time.

Of course, you want to make sure the tea isn’t very hot before you do this! It’s a good idea to brew some ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator so you can quickly apply it to your face whenever you need to.

If you brew a new batch and wait for it to cool down every single time you want to try this particular remedy, odds are good you’ll quickly reach a point where you no longer feel the motivation to stick with the routine.

12. Use Natural Spices

Spices can do a lot more than simply make a meal taste more flavorful. They may also help you get rid of unwanted lines and wrinkles on your face.


For this remedy, mix one tablespoon of powdered cinnamon or turmeric with three tablespoons of honey.

Mix the ingredients together thoroughly to create a mixture that you can easily apply as a face mask.


Apply the mixture to all affected areas and wait at least 20 minutes. That said, you’ll likely get even better effects if you leave the mask on overnight, though you’ll have to take steps to prevent the honey from getting on your pillow or bedding.


When you’re ready to remove it, thoroughly rinse your face with warm water. Take the time to make sure you’ve removed all honey.

This may not come off as easily as egg whites, and there’s a good chance you don’t like the idea of walking around with sticky honey still coating parts of your face.

Again, try this remedy several times a week in order to see the results you want. It probably won’t make your lines and wrinkles disappear overnight. However, over time, it can yield remarkable results.

13. Apply Some Papaya

Papaya is rich in key nutrients that can support your skin’s health and make lines and wrinkles on your face much less noticeable. The fact that it’s delicious is practically an added bonus.

For this remedy, all you have to do is cut up a papaya into several pieces, then mash them to make a pulp. Apply it to your wrinkles, wait about 15 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Simple as that.

14. Surgical Options

These options likely won’t be necessary if you take steps to prevent the development of future smile lines and use the remedies listed here to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles that may have already formed.

That said, no article about ways you can get rid of unwanted smile lines would be complete without a mention of surgical treatments.

For people who have tried a wide range of other treatments and remedies with little or no success, it may be worthwhile to consult with a cosmetic surgeon. They can offer several potential options for addressing the problem, including botox injections and facelifts.

Again, you probably don’t need to consider going this route immediately. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to get rid of your lines effectively without opting for surgery, which can be expensive.

You should also ask the cosmetic surgeon about any potential dangers associated with a procedure before deciding you’re comfortable going through with one.

However, in order to provide readers with a full understanding of their options for reducing the appearance of smile lines, it is necessary to at least touch on this subject. Still, it’s better to think of surgical treatment as a last resort when you’re extremely dissatisfied with the appearance of your face and haven’t been able to fix the problem via any other method.

15. Get Some Exercise

You probably already know that exercising on a regular basis can yield a wide range of health benefits.

When you work out regularly, you’re more likely to lose weight, reduce stress (which, remember, is part of preventing smile lines!), and get better sleep (another factor that helps to keep your face free of unwanted lines and wrinkles).

However, what you might not realize is that regular exercise can also have a very direct impact on the appearance of smile lines.

Exercise helps because it stimulates blood flow throughout the body. That includes stimulating blood flow to the facial skin. As a result, your skin will receive more of the nutrients it needs to remain healthy.

This simple step can result in the growth of new healthy skin cells to restore your youthful appearance. Increased blood flow can also lead to an increase in the production of natural oils that keep your skin moist and healthy.

If you needed another reason to start using that gym membership of yours, now you have it.

16. Make an Avocado Mask

Avocado is a delicious ingredient that also happens to be rich in key nutrients that support your overall wellness.

Thus, while eating it can certainly produce amazing results for your health, applying it directly to the face can also be a simple way of reducing the appearance of smile lines.

For this remedy, 


Mash a ripe avocado and mix it with the white from one or two eggs, as well as a little bit of honey. The honey allows you to create a mask that will more effectively stick to your face, so experiment with different amounts to find out how much you need. It’s best to start small and work your way up.


Once the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed together, apply the mask to your face, focusing specifically on the areas where smile lines are most noticeable.


Wait about 20 minutes or longer, then rinse it off thoroughly with warm water. Try this remedy several times throughout the week to start reaping the full benefits. 

Once you have a better idea of how often you need to repeat the process to see results, you should buy the ingredients you’ll need ahead of time so you can ensure it remains part of your overall face care routine.

17. Use Vitamin E

One of the reasons avocado is so beneficial for your face is because it’s rich in vitamin E. This particular vitamin is extremely effective at boosting your skin’s health.

Thus, it can help to apply it directly to your face. Simply purchase some vitamin E in oil form, or buy vitamin E capsules and break them open to retrieve the oil inside.

Apply it to your wrinkles the same way you would apply lemon juice or green tea in the remedies listed above.

For the best results, wait at least 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water.

18. Try Bananas

It can sometimes be difficult to find ripe avocado for a face mask. That’s why it helps to know of other types of fruit you can use to combat unwanted lines and wrinkles. Banana is one of them.

It also contains plenty of nutrients that can support your skin health and improve your appearance. Best of all, you don’t need to do much work to take advantage of its healing properties.

All you have to do is mash up a ripe banana until you form a paste that you can easily apply to your face. Apply it to the areas most affected by lines and wrinkles, then leave the paste there for 15 minutes or longer.

As with other remedies like this one, you can simply rinse it off with warm water when you’re done. You may also want to consider applying moisturizer after for even better results.

Final Words

Again, it’s no secret that most people don’t enjoy seeing laugh and smile lines develop on their face over time. The fact that it occurs as a result of natural aging processes can lead some to believe that this is simply an inevitable part of getting older.

That doesn’t need to be the case. There are many simple steps you can take to prevent lines from developing in the first place. Even if they do form, getting rid of them may be as easy as taking advantage of basic natural ingredients.

Try the remedies here, and there’s a great chance your smile lines won’t be a major problem much longer.

Further Reading

We did our best to include as much information as possible to help you prevent and treat smile lines. However, if you are curious to know more, you can visit the following resources.

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