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Nasolabial folds are defined as the natural creases that run from the wing, or ala, of the nose to the corner of the mouth on the same side. Located on both sides of the nose, the folds are made of bundles of tissue and muscle and tend to become more prominent with age. Except for newborns and people with facial paralysis, most people have nasolabial folds. Nasolabial folds are commonly known as smile lines, as they are most noticeable when a person smiles. As skin ages, it thins and sags, and nasolabial folds tend to become more pronounced.
Although nasolabial folds are a normal part of human anatomy, several factors can contribute to the folds becoming deeper and more visible. Changes to the structure of the cheeks and skin over time modify the look of the face. Sun exposure, which damages the skin and causes wrinkles, plays a part in damaging the skin’s ability to produce collagen and in reducing skin elasticity. Loss of fat in the cheeks and nearby regions makes the area appear saggy. Repetitive facial expressions, such as smiling, also make the folds deeper. Other factors that contribute to skin sagging include smoking, exposure to air pollutants, and rapid weight loss or weight fluctuation.
Because nasolabial folds are a normal feature of the face that become more obvious with age, they can be difficult to reduce and return to their youthful state. Dermal fillers have become a popular treatment for patients looking to reduce the prominence of their smile lines because they replace lost fat in the cheek pads, smooth wrinkles, and restore fullness to the face. Soft tissue fillers are injected into the dermis and used to plump, smooth, and give the cheek and mouth areas a lift. Cosmetic injectables make nasolabial folds less visible by lifting the parts of the face that sag over the muscles. Dermal fillers cannot make the folds disappear permanently, but they can help the nearby skin look fuller and younger, helping the folds to be less noticeable temporarily.
The most popular dermal fillers are derived naturally and are hyaluronic acid-based or collagen-based.
Once injected, the lifespan of dermal fillers varies depending on the overall health and structure of the patient’s skin and the type of dermal filler that is used for the procedure. Hyaluronic acid, which combines with water and swells to create a smoothing effect, typically takes 6 to 12 months to be fully broken down by the body. In some products, hyaluronic acid has been chemically altered to last longer and extend the visible effects of the treatment. Collagen-based dermal fillers derived from human sources last 3 to 4 months. Longer-lasting dermal fillers that include poly-L-lactic acid, a synthetic material that causes the body to produce its own collagen, can last from 18 to 24 months.4 Duration, side effects, and physical outcomes should be discussed with patients to help manage expectations, to reduce any risk involved with the procedure, and to help patients understand how their face works naturally.
Disclaimer: These articles, and any views and opinions expressed, are not endorsed by Raskel Medical. The articles are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered medical advice. Raskel Medical does not check or edit the content of these articles for medical accuracy. Contact your medical practitioner for any medical advice needed.