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The Cause and Treatment of Marionette Lines

Marionette lines are not something most people want to see when they look in the mirror. Find out what they are and what can be done about them.

Everyone shows the signs of aging in different ways depending upon their genetics and how well they’ve taken care of their skin. Some people are prone to developing tiny lines around the eyes called crow’s feet – while others develop frown lines. One of the most frustrating types of wrinkle to deal with are wrinkles along the side of the mouth known as marionette lines. What are marionette lines and what can you do about them?

What are Marionette Lines?

Marionette lines are long, vertical lines that start at the corners of the mouth and extend downwards the chin. Have you ever seen the exaggerated smile on a ventriloquist’s puppet? If you look at the corner of their mouth, you can easily see where marionette lines get their name. No one wants wrinkles, but people who have marionette lines find them to be particularly dissatisfying since they’re so obvious.

The Causes of Marionette Lines

When and even whether a person gets marionette lines is highly variable. Some people are genetically predisposed to them. Look at your mother and father and see if they have them. If so, you’re likely to develop them – and at a younger age compared to someone without them in their family. Marionette lines form because of loss of the collagen that supports the skin and gives it integrity. Combine this with sun exposure and smoking and you have the ideal set of conditions for the appearance of marionette lines.

Treatment of Marionette Lines: Do Facial Creams Work?

Unfortunately, once marionette lines have formed, lotions and creams won’t correct them. Topical retinoic acids such as prescription strength Retin-A may cause slight improvement in the appearance of these lines by stimulating collagen production, but only if the marionette lines are superficial. On the other hand, regular use of Retin-A helps to prevent them from forming if started early. Facial exercises don’t work for treating marionette lines and can even make them worse.

What Does Work for Marionette Lines?

There are really only two effective treatments for marionette lines. The best way to treat them is to have the filler Restylane injected into them by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. This has to be repeated at six to twelve month intervals. They can also be diminished with Botox, but this is an advanced Botox technique that should be done only by a qualified plastic surgeon. Some plastic surgeons combine the two techniques. Face lifts are usually not very effective for treating marionette lines.

Treatment of Marionette Lines: The Bottom Line?

Treating marionette lines successfully usually requires some type of injection, either Restylane or Botox, in a plastic surgeon’s office. An even better option is to prevent these lines from forming by wearing a sunscreen daily and not smoking.

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