There are many benefits to laughter – the release of endorphins, the lowering of blood pressure, the reduction of levels of stress hormones and a general sense of well-being. However, every silver lining has its cloud. Repetitive facial movements like laughing or smiling can cause wrinkles or creases around the mouth or eyes. If you’ve noticed these lines on your face, don’t stop laughing yet! There are multiple ways to diminish the appearance of laugh lines, both naturally and, in extreme cases, with medical assistance.
As with the rest of the body, the best way to alter the appearance is through exercises. There are 43 muscles in the face, and not all of them get used equally. As a result, some are more developed than others. By doing certain exercises you can help build up the less-used muscles in the face which will help smooth out those pesky laugh lines.
One exercise involves hooking your index fingers into the corners of your mouth (after washing your hands, of course!), pulling the corners out about a quarter of an inch from their natural position, and, while providing resistance with your fingers, trying to use the mouth muscles to pull the corners of your lips together like you would when you’re saying “ooh!” Hold the position for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat.
There is also an exercise for the muscles around the eyes that may help prevent laugh lines. Lightly press your thumbs near the outer corners of your eyes. With your fingers on the top of your head, close your eyes and squeeze them tight. Pull the outer corners of the eyes back toward the top of your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds, relax, and repeat. (Bonus: gently massaging the area with your thumbs between each exercise helps lower stress!)
Every person (and every face) is different, so what works great for one person may not work as well for another. There may need to be quite a bit of trial and error before discovering a natural remedy that will be effective for you. The good news is that there are plenty of different natural remedies to try! These include natural moisturizers (don’t forget an overnight moisturizer!), retinol creams, rubbing a natural oil (such as coconut oil) on the lines, eating a balanced diet with lots of protein and drinking plenty of water. It is also said that rubbing lemon juice directly into your laugh lines may help, but obviously you might not want to do that for the lines around the eyes. (Or maybe you do. Who am I to judge?) There are also plenty of vitamins and supplements that can help get the appropriate nutrients into your diet such as Biotin and Collagen.
YouTube tutorials are an incredible resource for tutorials that can show you how to apply makeup in such a way that hides the laugh lines.
Many people have also turned to Botox or other injectables. The toxins in the injectables paralyze the facial muscles, leaving a person unable to make the facial expressions that would show the laugh lines.
Unless you’re comfortable with needles in your face (yikes!), it might be best (not to mention cheaper!) to consider the natural remedies and exercises before resorting to medical assistance.